Primary ticket: Name that Republican

Ever since I was a kid, I have always been fond of making “mixed tapes” and finding the perfect match of mood and music. And sometimes I get inspiration from the most random or seemingly droll places — like the Republican primary ballot, for instance.

But the more I’ve been thinking about it, the more it makes sense. After all, politicians use music all the time to evoke certain feelings and convey messages — from Bill Clinton’s use of Fleetwood Mac’s Don’t Stop as an anthem during the 1992 presidential campaign to Michele Bachmann’s (illegal — turns out “free market” doesn’t mean everything is free) use of Tom Petty’s American Girl. These songs are touchstones to deep wells of emotions in the voting public. They tap into the kind of image candidates want to project. They usually have a good beat. And most of the time, there is something about them that makes you feel validated and good about backing that candidate. You know, I don’t want to stop believing in tomorrow, Bill Clinton! And, hey, I’m an American — why wouldn’t I want to vote for an American Girl?

But you know, sometimes anthems are picked by the people, not the candidate. Kind of like nicknames, eh Mr. Ass Juice Santorum? To that end, I’ve selected my own soundtrack for the (current) top contenders for the Republican nomination. And if they should be playing these songs as the candidates roll through town in the run-up to the Feb. 4 Republican caucus here in Nevada… well you’re welcome. (And I hope you get permission first.)

  1. Newt Gingrich — Womanizer, Britney Spears: I know. I know. You’re thinking this is the obvious choice, given Newt’s track record with wives, but hear me out. Newt is not just trying to play all these women. (By the way, how much does he wish that South Carolina governor had waited just a little while longer to go on his trip to Argentina.) He’s also trying to play voters. He’s trying to make us all forget just enough, or rather, remember just enough about the old Contract with America days and buy into his shiny new branding: The conservative statesmen. And while I would never call him progressive, it’s pretty obvious that he only signs on the dotted line of the hard-core conservative doctrines when his back is against the wall and pandering is his only card left to play. Let’s face it, Newt must have something going for him, cause it ain’t his rugged ham-faced looks and it ain’t money. Look at you, gettin’ more than just a re-up/Baby, you got all the puppets with their strings up/Fakin’ like a good one but I call it like I see ’em/I know what you are, what you are, baby… And PS: No need to fear that Britney might cringe at this pairing. She has raised money for the GOP… Plus, tell me you don’t think of Newt with these lyrics: You say I’m crazy/ I got your crazy.
  2. Mr. Ass Juice Santorum — Stranglehold, Ted Nugent: If you didn’t already want to burn me at the stake for pairing Britney and Newt, I’m pretty sure you are sending someone out for the pitchforks right about now. How could I give Santorum such a, well, juicy rock song? It’s true, Stranglehold may be one of The Nuge’s best-known songs besides Cat Scratch Fever and possibly one of the greatest guitar lines in American rock. (For my readers who are not about to rock, Stranglehold is the guitar line in the latest Volkswagen commercial in which a boy grows into a man always on the search for a faster ride.) But like The Nuge, Santorum brings misogyny, homophobia and hatred for everything that is unlike him wherever he goes — including the lyics of the iconic song, which are quite literally about domestic violence against a woman who ran away from him. You ran that night you left me/You put me in my place/Got you in a stranglehold now baby/Then I crushed your face. Seriously. It’s disturbed. And not unlike our friend, Mr. Ass Juice, who would have condemned his own wife to die rather than have an abortion. So, you know, you can take your personhood pledge and shove it because Mr. Ass Juice is HARDCORE when it comes to hating women! But also, I pick this song for Santorum because I think it would be hilarious to see a pinhead white guy in a sweatervest try to “rock” to The Nuge (who is a raging Republican, in case you didn’t know).
  3. Mitt Romney — Stayin’ Alive, The Bee Gees: I admit, I was a little stumped with Mittsy. I mean, what can you say about him that is categorically that different from the other two. He’s a rich white guy who hates women and gays. He’s Mormon, which for some conservative Christian circles is pretty revolutionary. So there’s that. But really, the attack on Mittsy has pretty much been, “But Gosh darn it he is just soooo rich!” I mean, when I see soundbites of Newt declaring himself the “people’s grassroots candidate,” which I saw on the nightly news tonight — well, I had to double-check we weren’t in the Bizarro Universe. Mittsy does have the best head of hair of the leading Republican contenders — especially now that The Hairdo is gone (remember him?). He’s got a lock on the actual family values set with his glossy campaign ads where he charmingly “forgets” he’s been married 25, oops, 42 years. Aw. Cue: Footage of happy couple walking in a field while the voice over says he’d defend God and/or country if president. Because I guess it’s important to distinguish that if it came down to a choice between America and God, Mitt has already made up his mind. I mean, the ad is pretty amazing. In one fell swoop he knocks out Newt for infidelity and takes a swipe at Santorum’s Christian bona fides. (I mean, he says he loves Jesus, but does he really love Jesus?) But when it came down to it, Mittsy is just too pretty. Come on, wouldn’t you like to see him dazzling a gold medallion in a swath of chest hair? And, let’s face it, the violent mood swings of this Republican primary/caucus season could see a dazzling Romney clawing his way back just to stay alive.
  4. Ron Paul — My Prerogative, Bobby Brown: Like the Ross Perot of this election cycle (they crop up like weeds every few presidential cycles) Ron Paul is the scary candidate that we all can’t believe is still actually in this thing. I mean, even I had Bachmann out-pacing Ron Paul. But like Perot, Ron Paul is just out there with his crazy. They say I’m crazy I really don’t care/That’s my prerogative… need I really say more?

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