Sen. Ted Cruz said this week he liked rock ’n’ roll until the Sept. 11 attacks, then switched his allegiance to country music.
“I didn’t like how rock music responded,” he said. “And country music … it resonated with me.”
The statement seems slightly off-key. A bunch of elderly rockers threw a concert for New York after the attacks: the Who, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi. Paul McCartney wrote a mediocre tune called “Freedom.” Eric Clapton played the solo.
But there were no country guys or gals in sight, except for Kid Rock, who doesn’t count because he uses “rock” in his name.
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Maybe Cruz was making a cultural point — a signal to his conservative constituents that he shares their distaste for long-haired hippies.
Have you seen any country music stars recently? If my hair had been that long in high school, they’d have sent me home.
And don’t get me started on country music lyrics: booze, divorce, cheatin’ hearts, the stuff that drives Iowa evangelicals crazy. Here’s the only difference between country and rock music: Country singers think dysfunction is sad. Rockers think it’s funny.
You might think Cruz’s country comment was the first gaffe of what will be a long, long, long presidential campaign. Not so. He was merely illustrating another iron law of politics: Music isn’t your friend.
Artists have sued campaigns for using their music at campaign rallies. Same for unauthorized music in campaign commercials. And nothing is sillier than watching, say, Newt Gingrich work a stage while The Heavy’s immortal “How You Like Me Now” thunders from the loudspeakers.
Why? Do voters think Newt is hip because his walk-off music rocks? Seems like a tough sell.
Mike Huckabee played bass with Ted Nugent on “Cat Scratch Fever.” Not a good strategy. Sarah Palin went with “Barracuda.” Didn’t help.
It isn’t just Republicans. Walter Mondale’s 1984 walk-off song was “Gonna Fly Now” from the Rocky movies. We now know why Ronald Reagan carried 49 states that year.
In 2004, multimillionaire John Kerry played “Fortunate Son” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. You know, the song about folks born with silver spoons in their hands. Yikes.
So let’s not criticize Cruz’s taste in music, just his judgment in discussing it. The only thing funnier would be for Cruz to use an Obamacare insurance exchange to buy health coverage after repeatedly trying to repeal Obamacare.
How you like me now?