|In hindsight, Scott Walker should have done a bit|
of research on these guys, the Dropkick Murphys before
using one of their songs at a political rally.
If you're a politician who wants to use a popular song at campaign rallies, it's probably worth it to check if the band who made the song popular in the first place is at least sort of on the same page as you.
But, politicians often don't do that. The latest case among many involve the Irish-American punk band the Dropkick Murphys and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker.
According to Salon and numerous other media outlets, Walker played the Dropkick Murphys song "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," which is a cover of a Woodie Guthrie song, as he took the stage at last weekend's Iowa Freedom Summit.
Members of the Dropkick Murphys were not amused. They Tweeted at Walker's official and personal accounts this message: "Please stop using our music in any way... we literally hate you!!! Love, Dropkick Murphys."
Walker and the Dropkick Murphys make a poor match anyway, something that someone on Walker's staff should have looked into.
The band has been very and publicly supportive of workers and union rights. Walker pretty much trashed collective bargaining for Wisconsin public workers back in 2012, so he's not exactly a friend of labor unions.
So I can see why the Dropkick Murphys aren't all that happy.
I'm completely mystified as to why Walker would use the song anyway. It seems a little rough for a conservative political rally, and the lyrics don't seem to advance anyone's political agenda. Here's a good chunk of the song's lyrics.
I'm a sailor peg
And I've lost my leg
Climbing up the top sails
I lost my leg.
I'm shipping up to Boston....
....to find my wooden leg"
Yeah, I don't get it either.
Politicians often hijack songs, and it often ends badly. The Hollywood Reporter not long ago listed some of the offenders.
John McCain is really on the Top 40 Hit List, as it were. In 2008, McCain used a number of John Mellencamp songs, even though a very quick Google search would reveal Mellencamp's politics is a total mismatch of McCain's
Walker has used Mellencamp songs, and continued to use them even though the singer told him to stop.
Sarah Palin had a knickname in high school, "Barracuda." When she was introduced as McCain's running mate in 2008, they played the song "Barracuda" by Heart. Seemed appropriate on the surface, but the Wilson sisters, who make up the core of Heart, were very unhappy.
The song "Barracuda" is about ruthless record label executives. Maybe Palin wants to be a ruthless record label executive? Nah, she'd probably quit after a month.
Singer/songwriter Jackson Browne is a well known liberal, as practically everyone knows, so it's puzzling as to why the Ohio Republican Party used part of Browne's song "Running On Empty" in a TV commercial for McCain.
Of course, as we know now, it was McCain's campaign that was running on empty.
Democrats get into these spats with singers and songwriters, too. Sam Moore asked Barack Obama to stop using "Hold On, I'm Coming" and Cyndi Lauper asked Obama to stop using "True Colors" during his re-election campaign against Mitt Romney.
"Mr Romney can discredit himself without the use of my work," Lauper said, according to Daily Kos.
Obama ended up complying with both requests. Moore and Lauper remained supporters of Obama's candidacy, so I guess it ended well enough there.
One of the more intriguing music spats involved Wisconsin Rep. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan versus Twisted Sister and Rage Against the Machine, the Daily Kos said.
Maybe Ryan was trying to appear accessible to younger Republicans or something, but jeez.
Rage guitarist Tom Morello slammed Ryan in an editorial:
"Paul Ryan's love of Rage Against the Machine is amusing, because he is the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades. Charles Manson loved the Beatles but didn't understand them. Governor Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen, but doesn't understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine."
".....his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage."
Well, that's an even more impressive takedown than the Dropkick Murphys vs. Scott Walker.
Politicians are awash in campaign donation money, so I've got a suggestion. Why don't they pay their minions to write songs for them instead of just relying on the American Top 40 Countdown?
Because a politician just picking songs off the radio always seems to end badly.