Why Rick Perry Should Stop Using "Born in the USA"

I have been watching volleyball in Vegas all day.  Came back to our hotel and saw that Real Clear Politics was running my piece on Rick Perry and Bruce Springsteen.  Here is a taste:

If the last several GOP presidential primaries are any indication, nearly every candidate for the Republican Party’s nomination in 2016 will claim to be a follower of Ronald Reagan.
Rick Perry, should he decide to run, will be one of those candidates. The former Texas governor has even decided to use one of Reagan’s old campaign theme songs.
Last Thursday, at an event in Washington D.C., Perry walked onto the stage to Bruce Springsteen’s iconic 1984 single, “Born in the U.S.A.” About thirty years ago this song peaked at #9 on the Billboard charts and it continues to be a quintessential American anthem and a crowd favorite at Springsteen concerts.
Like Reagan in 1984, Rick Perry and his staff seem to have no clue about the song’s meaning. Anyone who listens carefully to the lyrics of “Born in the U.S.A.” will quickly realize that there is little about the song that reflects conservative values.

Read the rest here.

2 thoughts on “Why Rick Perry Should Stop Using "Born in the USA"

  1. I was in the Army when “Born in the USA” came out. There were a lot of discussions over the meaning of the song and we had the lyrics in front of us. They were pretty clear and easy to make out. What was interesting for us was the video used in connection with the song. You have to recall that MTV was still relatively new. This of course was back in the old days when MTV was still playing music videos.

    We used to get eight hour tapes and watch them repeatedly, copy them, trade them, etc. We would even watch the commercials and comment about those. But the Springsteen song was interesting in that it meant different things to pretty much everyone. Our interpretations varied across a wide spectrum.

    Springsteen himself is interesting in that his music really is about people with many themes reflecting the social condition of the nation. As you mentioned one time before, John, you could use Springsteen's music as inspiration in an American History class. Some music stands out from the rest of the pack for many reasons. In the case of Bruce Springsteen, his stands out well in front of the pack after four decades. There is depth and nuance to his music that is lacking in most of the other songs that come and go.


  2. You may enjoy the story of Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, which has a similar contour.


    And how much polemical weight a piece of art can even successfuly convey is a legit question, and in this case, Springsteen's “bellowing” performance leaves only the killer chorus decipherable. So The Great Unwashed hear

    Bl-bl-bl-bl-blah, bl-blahblahblahblahblah


    Blahblah, etc.

    Hey, I like that song!

    Well, as it turns out, “Blowin' in the Wind” wasn't a specifically anti-Vietnam war song–Dylan never spoke out against the war–but every piece takes on a life of its own: The artist can't send his babies out into the world with an instruction book.

    Here, the ironist got ironed. The dreaded double whammy.


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