2008.02.13 Mellencamp and McCain

Written by David Green.

Musician to senator: no conservative listeners wanted


By RICH FOLEY

It’s early in the year and there is a lot of time left in the presidential race, but I’ve got a contender for the strangest news of the campaign. Did you see the headlines last week concerning John McCain’s use of John Mellencamp’s music during political gatherings?

It seems that Mellencamp and his management are upset about Senator McCain’s campaign using his music since they feel Mellencamp’s beliefs are far different than McCain’s. I didn’t realize that you couldn’t play music by an artist that differs with your political views, but that is apparently the gospel according to Mellencamp. At least, I think that’s what Mellencamp means, even though his publicist’s statement on the matter is a bit confusing.

A recent Associated Press story said that Mellencamp learned that his music was being used at McCain events, prompting a   letter to the Arizona senator’s campaign from Bob Merlis, Mellencamp’s publicist, asking, “Are you sure you want to use his music to promote Senator McCain’s efforts?...Logic says that the facts might prove to be an embarrassment, were they to be circulated widely.”

I’m not quite sure what Merlis is trying to say here. Are the embarrassing facts about Mellencamp’s music or McCain’s campaign? And is he offering to be the one to circulate them widely?

It turns out that Mellencamp was a supporter of former candidate John Edwards and told Merlis that he was “uncomfortable” and “couldn’t imagine McCain would want to be associated with him” when he heard some of his music was being used by the McCain campaign.

Merlis later told the AP, “You know, here’s a guy running around saying, ‘I’m a true conservative.’...Well, if you’re such a true conservative, why are you playing songs that have a very populist pro-labor message written by a guy who would find no argument if you characterized him as left of center?”

What is McCain supposed to do? Check out the political leanings of every recording artist possible and listen to and play music only by those who agree with him? Should any politician have to go through that hassle?

And even if Mellencamp can’t imagine that McCain would want to be associated with him, is it possible that McCain just might be more open-minded than Mellencamp? Is that the embarrassing fact that Merlis didn’t want circulated?

Besides, was it really common knowledge that Mellencamp was such a “left of center” artist with a “very populist pro-labor message?” It wasn’t a big shock to me, but that might come as a surprise to the folks at Chevrolet who paid him big bucks to use his music in commercials. Would a true populist write a song for the commercial use of a giant corporation, then include it on a album and make us common people pay him a second time?

I could be wrong, but I suspect that McCain might not be a fan of Mellencamp’s music in the first place. Someone in his campaign probably chose the music as I’d guess the senator has more important things to do with his time. At least I hope so.

I’d hate to have to go through the Mellencamp test with my own CD collection. There’s quite a few that I’d probably have to get rid of if I could only keep the ones by artists whose politics match mine. I wonder if Merlis would like to buy back a few million or more albums, cassettes and CDs from people who didn’t realize only liberals were allowed to listen?

It’s too bad for McCain that he can’t play the saxophone like Bill Clinton or guitar like Mike Huckabee. Then he could provide his own entertainment at campaign events. I’m not sure how good a guitar player Huckabee really is, but there probably haven’t been any complaints as long as his pal Chuck Norris is around to punch out any music critics.

Maybe McCain will have to settle for a simple name change. Mellencamp has a history of changing his name every few years, so how about McCain changing his? Let me think about this a minute...I think I’ve got it. Senator John “Cougar” McMellencain. Yeah, the thought of that just might make John Mellencamp hurt so good.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.pokemon
    LATEST CRAZE—David Cortes (left) and Ty Kruse, along with Jerred Heselschwerdt (standing), consult their smartphones while engaging in the game of Pokémon Go. The virtual scavenger hunt comes to life when players are in the vicinity of gyms, such as Stair District Library, and PokéStops such as the fire station across the street. The boys had spent time Monday morning searching for Pokémon at Wakefield Park.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Girls.on.ride
    NADIYA YORK and Aniston Valentine take a spin on the Casino, one of the rides offered at Wakefield Park during Morenci’s Town and Country Festival. This year’s festival remained dry but with plenty of heat during the three-day run. Additional photographs are inside this week’s Observer.
  • Front.softball
    Angela Davis (2) and teammate Allison VanBrandt break into a jig after Morenci's softball team won its third consecutive regional title.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016