If national campaign season is going to last two years, and if the candidates insist, like pro wrestlers, on their own entrance music, then, by golly, we want a better soundtrack. No more “Rocky” theme (sorry, Rep. Kucinich. You’re not an underdog; you’re not even a dog). No more faux-populist “Small Town” for exquisitely coiffed owners of 28,000-square-foot mansions, Mr. Edwards. And — we are stunned this needs to be stipulated — no Celine Dion.
Land of Hope and Dreams — This recent Bruce Springsteen gem has all the fixings: an emotionally rousing refrain, themes of optimism and inclusiveness and metaphors (railroads, “bells of freedom”) that are quintessentially American. Good luck, Republicans, trying to persuade the Boss to loan it to you.
Hard to Handle— The Otis Redding original, of course, with its infectiously funky beat, a knockout brass arrangement and apposite lyrical taunts (“Action speaks louder than words, and I’m a man of great experience”).
Take a Giant Step— “Come with me, leave yesterday behind,” sang the Monkees in a sunny rendition of this Gerry Goffin/Carole King-penned ditty. A perfect substitute for those of us — read: all of us — who’d gag at the sound of the Clintons’ 1992 theme song, Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop.”
I Want to Take You Higher — Nothing can get a crowd’s collective blood flowing more quickly than this chugging Sly & the Family Stone classic. Candidates who have admitted to past drug use may, however, want to pass.
Slip Slidin’ Away — What classier way than with this Paul Simon fave could a cash-strapped ex-front-runner from Arizona bow out of — whoops. Sorry. Wrong list.