Choosing a GOP Rally Song

Tom Petty Might Have Something to Say About This

We’re getting into election season and we can count on the anti-progressive GOP hijacking the good work of progressive artists to give their campaigns some much-needed excitement and energy.   In fact riling aging rockers is the most consistent thing most Republican campaigns do in America today.

Already this year Romney had to stop using K’naan’s “Wavin’ Flag” at his rallies and Gingrich was asked to stop playing Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger.”  Republicans running into flack from musicians unhappy with them playing their music at rallies is almost a joke, and a yawner at that.  Perhaps it is time the Republicans stop choosing songs from progressive rockers (What’s wrong with Nugent’s “Wang Dang Sweet Poontang”?) and choose from a body of music more fitting to their political message.  I would suggest fantasy.

And seeing that Republicans are all about family, why not choose a family fantasy, one with exciting, colorful images that – on the surface – appear simple.  That is, after all, what the GOP is all about today.  Shallow fantasy that’s easy to swallow.

So my choice for fitting GOP fantasy songs come from the classic film “The Wizard of Oz.”

They’re all great, we only need to choose which would be best.  When you start looking into it, that isn’t the simplest choice to make.  Really, any song from that classic will work, but let’s look for the best.

The red "GOP" logo used by the party...

Let’s start with “We’re off to See the Wizard.”  It kind of sets the theme of the film after all.  It is a brief synopsis and quick overview of the story, kind of like reading Cliff’s Notes.  GOPers will be familiar with this approach of inquiry and fact.

“We’re Off to See the Wizard” ideally fits the GOP message, just because, because, because, because…just because.  You see “We’re Off to See the Wizard” really doesn’t say anything.  There isn’t any reason to believe that the Wizard is either wonderful or even a whiz of a wiz.  He just is one because of the wonderful things he does.  And what does the Wizard of Oz do?  I don’t know.  He just is a whiz of a wiz.  Just because.  And that is precisely the GOP message.  No ideas, just follow us just because…because, because, because.  You get it.  Call it the Whiz of the Wiz trope.  It fits.

I would stop right now and say you can do no better than nominate “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” unless…of course, you consider “If I Were King of the Forest”.

Cropped screenshot of Judy Garland from the tr...

I hate to say it, but Dorothy looks a little Republican in this shot.

Showing that even a cowardly lion may aspire to kingly influence is right in line with GOP individualism, is it not?  All you need to do is puff up your chest, swish your tail and soon both mountains and chipmunks will bow and genuflect.  You don’t really need any plan for greatness, it happens on a wish.  You don’t need a sound economic strategy for a stronger future, for example, you just declare yourself an expert and that’s it, regardless of how wrong you are.  The key is making oneself king.  Pish posh about anything else.

You can see that the choice will not be simple.  Let’s make the decision even more difficult and consider another.  (Any Oz song will do.  We’re looking for the best.)

Don’t overlook the Tin Man’s tender tear jerker “If I Only Had a Heart.”  Of course that classic absolutely must be in the running…but only for its irony.  The Tin Man, after all, wants a heart so he can be “kinda human.”  Whoa!  That hits it.  If today’s Republicans were kind of human, well, we wouldn’t be racing toward ruin under conservative obstructionism and hostage taking.

But it is the irony angle that I like.  It is on par with Sarah Palin trying to co-opt Heart’s “Barracuda”.  Nice try, Fish Lips, but the only thing Palin has in common with a real barracuda is a vacant stare.

Which brings me to my conclusion.  To have a heart, understand irony, be courageous, and NOT be seemingly confused when Tom Petty asks you to stop using “American Girl” without his permission also means you have intelligence.  (At least a little.)  And thus I stop at my choice, my clear winner:  The Scarecrow’s “If I Only Had a Brain.”   This is the most obvious choice for many reasons and in the song I would like see take the lead over all others.

There isn’t a word in the Scarecrow’s song that doesn’t fit the essence of today’s Republican Party, not a word.  It exists as if it were tailor made for the modern conservative campaign.  It is direct and honest – which, of course, poses some problems for any legitimate tea drinking conservative – but perhaps it is time that conservatives come out of the closet, so to speak, and embrace their shortcomings.  They might come out as more sympathetic characters.

scanned from 1900 Wizard of Oz book

scanned from 1900 Wizard of Oz book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clearly the song works.  Think about it.  Whenever I hear even the first cackle of Michele Bachmann’s voice, for example, the Scarecrow theme begins to jingle in my thoughts.  It is a pleasant song so this offers a bit of a musical refuge from the loony nonsense stuffin’ head Bachmann inevitably speaks.  Everyone wins.

And if conservatives won’t embrace the song, why shouldn’t the rest of us?  I imagine choruses of better Americans standing in unison, supporting the conservative delegation with a little musical cheer, kind of like caroling, but different.  It isn’t difficult.  “If I Only Had a Brain” is easily hummed or whistled.  In fact, I have developed multiple variations of the theme for my own entertainment.  You can, too!  Hell, lead a “If I Only Had a Brain” group in your community.  Hum a song and save your country.

Below are the words to “If I Only Had a Brain”.  Check them out and tell me if I am wrong in my choice.

I could while away the hours, conferrin’ with the flowers
Consultin’ with the rain.
And my head I’d be scratchin’ while
My thoughts were busy hatchin’
If I only had a brain.
I’d unravel every riddle for any individ’le,
In trouble or in pain.
With the thoughts you’ll be thinkin’
You could be another Lincoln
If you only had a brain.
Oh, I could tell you why The ocean’s near the shore.
I could think of things I never thunk before.
And then I’d sit, and think some more.
I would not be just a nothin’ my head all full of stuffin’
My heart all full of pain.
I would dance and be merry, life would be a ding-a-derry,
If I only had a brain.More lyrics:

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