I have about zero interest in popular music. The last concert I attended was sometime in the 1980s, and now the prospect of seeing large numbers of middle-aged people grooving to some awesome tunage fills me with dread.
I’ll concede mine is a minority view, which no doubt explains why the Obama campaign is rolling out The Boss, Bruce Springsteen, for a penultimate get out the vote-apolloza Monday in Madison. (And Katy Perry will appear with Obama on Saturday in Milwaukee.) You’d be hard-pressed to find a performer who more perfectly captures the liberal zeitgeist of Madison than the “poet of a generation.” People who pay attention to this sort of thing (i.e. political reporters) will recall Springsteen revving up a Madison crowd just prior to Election Day 2004. That was the same event where candidate John Kerry mentioned heading over to “Main Street (sic) Brats.” Kerry did win Wisconsin, but I never heard any voters say it was Springstreen’s stop here that cinched the deal for them.
If you really think about it, these sorts of celebrity-fueled campaign events are every bit as condescending as the embarrassing television ads we’ve all been subjected to over the past several weeks. What’s the message here? “Vote for me because I’m hanging out with this performer, and we all know how cool he is, right?”
(I’m not sure who would fill the bill here for Mitt Romney. Kid Rock? Meat Loaf?)
Once the ritualized, media-driven show of presidential politics is over for this cycle, we’ll all breathe a sigh of relief. And everyone who wants to see Bruce Springsteen will just have to buy a ticket.
A correction and an addendum: WHBY‘s Rick Schuh, who was a reporter in Madison at the time, notes that John Kerry’s Main Street Brats gaffe (it’s State Street Brats) was actually made at the Dane County Coliseum, not at the Springsteen rally. And, that rally also featured Foo Fighters. Duly noted.