- The Washington Times - Friday, September 12, 2008

Campaign soundtracks inevitably pose problems for Republicans. Jackson Browne, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, John Mellencamp and Van Halen (well, three-fourths of it, anyway) have objected to the McCain-Palin campaign’s use of their hits. In 1984, Bruce Springsteen famously repudiated the Reagan re-election campaign’s use of “Born in the U.S.A.” One can only go to the pop-country well so many times. And suspected sympathizers such as ZZ Top and Charlie Daniels have been coy about their party affiliation. Where’s a Republican pol to turn for an anthem from a politically “safe” artist?

1. Alice Cooper — The face-painted, snake-wielding, Republican-friendly one spends as much time these days golfing in Arizona as he does onstage. His 1973 track “Elected” is tailor-made for the campaign trail. On close inspection, the song is actually a mordant slam on electioneering, but nuance has never stopped politicians from flogging the slacker anthem “Takin’ Care of Business” to death.

2. Lynyrd Skynyrd — “Simple Man,” with its anti-materialistic message, is a perfect match for Sen. John McCain’s “Country First” message of service over self: “Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold/All that you need is in your soul.” We offer no advice, however, on how to avoid the Stars ‘n’ Bars-displaying band’s George Wallace baggage.

3. Gene Simmons — Let’s not get into the thicket of the other members of Kiss and their political opinions. We’ll play it safe with the hawkish Mr. Simmons’ 1978 solo album. It has a heckuva lot of risque content, but let’s zero in on “True Confessions” and its message of self-sufficiency, not to mention a subtle dig at Sen. Barack Obama’s celebritylike appeal: “I’m not your social security/I’m not your star opportunity.”

4. Sammy Hagar — The ex-Van Halenite is his own man, with solo material that’s ripe for Republicans. “Not 4 Sale,” for example, bolsters Sen. McCain’s anti-special-interests rhetoric — and it might shore up his vulnerability on the whole married-to-an-heiress, anything-less-than-$5-million-is-middle-class issue: “My friend’s worth a couple million/and he’s as miserable as any man can be.”

5. Ted Nugent — Mr. “Kill it and grill it” surely must have found a soul mate in caribou-killing Gov. Sarah Palin. Yet we can’t point to a single Nugent track that’s totally safe for campaign consumption. We recommend “Motor City Madhouse” at Michigan appearances only.

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