- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 1, 2009

Democrat defecting?

“I am a registered Democrat but have come to realize in the past few years that other than some stark social differences, the Republican Party and the Democratic Party are both serving more and more a corporate agenda than anything else,” musician Melissa Etheridge told us yesterday.

“That has made me sad and made me think that maybe I should become an independent,” the multiple Grammy winner continued. (“That was a scoop,” she added. “I have not told that to anyone else.”)

This from the vocal gay rights activist who performed at the Democratic National Convention in Denver last year proudly wearing an Obama sticker!

The platinum-selling 40-something singer-songwriter was at the Hard Rock Cafe with a group of oncology experts for a panel discussion on breast cancer, which struck Miss Etheridge in 2004.

“I hate the term breast cancer victim. I am OK with survivor,” she told the crowd, most of whom were wearing pink, the color of breast cancer awareness.

“Pinktober” begins today.

After the discussion, Miss Etheridge slipped her guitar strap across her shoulder and belted out a tune from her next album, “Fearless Love,” set for release in March. She sang a few lines from “I Run for Life,” which was written in honor of other breast cancer survivors and their families.

Before the event, put together by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Hard Rock International and the locally based Holster Project, Miss Etheridge dished about politics.

The singer’s interest in current affairs started in her “purple” household. “My mother was a Democrat, and my father was a Republican,” she said. “I remember watching Hubert Humphrey at the Democratic convention. We watched all the conventions and elections.”

In fact, she told us, she’s such a politics buff that she would consider going pro. “Maybe,” she offered. “I think every American should consider running for office.”

During a question-and-answer session, Miss Etheridge forayed into how corporate greed has seeped into the music industry. “Now it’s all profit-driven and not about the music,” she declared. “All the young musicians want to be on ‘American Idol’ and find out how they can make money. Bob Dylan started out in coffeehouses not thinking about his record deal or ticket sales but about how to be a mirror of his times.”

Fashion plate

Miss Etheridge and Michael Moore would have a lot to gab about. Mr. Moore was decrying corporate greed on Tuesday night at the Uptown Theater for the Washington premiere of his new flick, “Capitalism: A Love Story,” a documentary about how corporations have corrupted government.

True to form, Mr. Moore worked the red carpet in his “working man’s” uniform: baseball cap, white sneakers and crumpled chic clothes.

“Who are you wearing?” we inquired.

“The jeans I got from Kmart. This,” he added, motioning to his shirt, “I got from a Big & Tall shop, and this,” he said in reference to his jacket, “my assistant just threw this on me. I have no idea where it came from.”

Mr. Moore’s arm candy for the evening were a few friends “I brought down from Wall Street” - capitalist impersonators dressed in tuxedos, with top hats and canes, who were smoking cigars with debonair abandon. They were there to poke a little fun at the “fat cats,” whom Mr. Moore’s film paints as the root of all America’s problems.

When he asked them to say a few words to the crowd, one exclaimed, “Adam Smith!” referring to the author of the capitalist manifesto “The Wealth of Nations.”

Another said simply, “Give me more money!”

A dangerous thing to say in the nation’s capital these days, no?

To contact Stephanie Green or Elizabeth Glover, e-mail [email protected]

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