Maggie Mae

25 Oct

If Maggie Mae were a political candidate, the lyrics directed to her in the Rod Stewart classic would be right on the money.

“It’s late September and I really should be back at school” could easily be the sentiment of a young campaign worker who decided to forgo a semester in order to give 100 percent to the race.

Ditto for “I laughed at all of your jokes” because the young worker wants to stay on the good side of the boss in the hope of landing a cushy job after the election.

Should that not come to pass, Maggie quickly becomes a case of “What have you done for me lately?” with lines such as “Oh Maggie, I couldn’t have tried any more, “You stole my soul” and “I wished I’d never seen your face.”

The verdict: At campaign headquarters, she sounds and acts like a candidate, but Maggie still is an unknown quantity on the campaign trail. Give her a grade of incomplete as a candidate until we get more information.

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Mustang Sally

22 Oct

We begin a week of female political ‘candidates’ from the world of rock’n’roll with Mustang Sally.

Despite the rumors that all she wants to do is “ride around,” Sally is quite a busy woman. Why else do the lyrics urge her to slow down and put her flat feet on the ground?

True, we don’t know exactly what keeps her so busy, but being a hard worker is a requirement for success in politics.

Another essential is getting to as many chicken dinners, senior citizen breakfasts and VFW halls as is humanly possible, and Sally’s got an edge on this one too: “You been running all over the town.”

Mustang candidate? Too little information to make a call on Sally. She’s got the energy a candidate needs, but until we learn more, it’s not clear she’s focusing that energy on the type of things that get one elected.

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Johnny B. Goode

19 Oct

Chuck Berry celebrated his 86th birthday this week so what better time to make one of rock’n’roll’s most recognizable songs today’s POTUSong.

Johnny B. Goode, like so many of our “candidates,” has a great rags-to-riches story – a tale that embodies the American Dream and will play well on the campaign trail.

Johnny B. Goode

He grew up in a log cabin made of earth and wood outside of New Orleans, carried a guitar in a gunny sack and played it outside under a tree.

His skill at playing the guitar built him a loyal following, which could serve as a base should he decide to enter the political arena: “People passing by they would stop and say, ‘Oh my that little country boy could play.’”

Johnny also had a mother who encouraged him, telling him that perhaps someday he will be a star attracting crowds of people from miles away.

He does, however, have one negative. Johnny “never ever learned to read or write so well” and this could hurt him as a candidate. Speechwriters and coaches can help, and as a popular guitarist, he’s comfortable appearing before large crowds. But his political opponents are likely to point out Johnny’s limited formal education and use it against him.

Should Johnny go? Only one small negative here – and that’s the education issue. But if Johnny plays his cards right, he could turn that issue around by stressing how he became successful through hard work and dedication – despite the lack of a college degree or high school diploma.

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Me and Bobby McGee

18 Oct

Today, POTUSongs turns to the Kris Kristoferson’s classic Me and Bobby McGee.

The opening verse describes traveling from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, so we suspect McGee is politically savvy since she is familiar with Louisiana, where politics can become a blood sport.

At one point, she “thumbed a diesel down” so we know she recognizes the value of mass transit. Taking the train also will score points with environmentalists.

McGee also has traveled – “from the coalmines of Kentucky to the California sun.” She knows the U.S. and its people. That will help her too – as well as the fact that she is a caring person, “sharing the secrets” of her companion’s soul and making sure he stays warm at night.

On the flipside, her take on freedom is likely to cause problems, especially among conservatives. “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose” is not exactly what they want to hear.

Along the same lines, voters are looking for candidates who have an eye on the future and promise better days ahead. Lines such as “I’d trade all of my tomorrows for one single yesterday” are not going to cut it.

Last word: As a traveling companion and a friend, no one would be better than Bobby McGee. She’ll definitely have your back. But she speaks her mind too openly and honestly to succeed in politics – and that’s our loss.

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Rainy Day Women

17 Oct

Unlike Mitt Romney, we don’t have “binders full of women” at POTUSongs, but we do have the next best thing – Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.

It’s hard to say if these women would have made the cut for Romney’s cabinet when he was governor of Massachusetts, but the lyrics show us that they can hurl barbs, insults and worse at their political opponents. They’d be right at home in the type of feisty exchange that took place throughout last night’s town hall presidential debate.

If you’re an incumbent like the president trying to stay in office, “They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat.”

If you’re a candidate like Romney whose made a lot of money, “They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to make a buck.”

The lyrics pretty much have every type of potential opponent covered. The rainy day women will stone you if you’re “young and able,” if you’re “trying to be so good,” if you’re “all alone” and just about anywhere anytime.

And they have a killer political instinct: “They’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again.” They’ll even stone you “when you are set down in your grave.”

Binders full of conclusions: The rainy day women are tough enough for politics, but untested in just about every other area. Definitely some potential here, but a long way to go before they get their names on any ballot.

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Hit Me with Your Best Shot

16 Oct

Tonight is round two of the debates between President Obama and Mitt Romney. The candidates are sure to be taking shots at each other, so our POTUSong for the day is Pat Benatar’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot.

Just like the debate, there’s two people in this song, and they each have qualities that would serve them well in the political arena.

The person being sung to is a “real tough cookie” with a nasty streak (“a long history of breaking little hearts”), so he’d be right at home among today’s politicians.

He’s also not above employing dirty tricks the way that so many others have done to win elections: “You come on with a “come on. You don’t fight fair.”

As for the singer she sends signs that she would welcome the opportunity to take on political opponents:

Let’s see how you do it

Put up your dukes

Let’s get down to it

Hit me with your best shot

And she could care less about her opponent’s dirty tricks:

That’s OK, see if I care

Knock me down, it’s all in vain

I’ll get right back on my feet again

Hit me with your best shot

Fire away: From what we gather about the singer and the person she is addressing, they’d certainly make for an interesting debate, perhaps more interesting than the real one going on tonight. And if given the chance, they both could turn into viable candidates for office.

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Jumpin’ Jack Flash

15 Oct

Since the Rolling Stones today announced plans for four concerts to celebrate the band’s 50th anniversary, a Stones tune is an obvious choice for today’s POTUSong. Our selection is Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

Right off the bat, we know that Jack is tough enough for the rough-and-tumble world of politics. He was “born in a cross-fire hurricane” and he “howled at his mother in the driving rain.”

In addition, the fact that he rose from such humble and difficult beginnings to become a candidate for national office is a great rags-to-riches story, the type of tale politicians like to use on the campaign trail. You can just hear him talking about America being a land of opportunity for people like him who were “raised by a toothless, bearded hag” and “schooled with a strap right across my back.”

Jack also is resilient. He was drowned, washed up and left for dead.

Most importantly, he hasn’t let any of his struggles hold him back, repeating over and over: “But it’s all right now; in fact, it’s a gas!”

And that refrain raises one small issue that Jack should address. Find another word for gas. Who wants to remind voters of high gas prices? Especially if his ability to control the price of gas is limited, even if he is elected.

Thoughts on the Stones: Jumpin’ Jack Flash has a compelling personal story and several traits that could make him an attractive candidate. He needs to choose his words more carefully, but that’s what media consultants are for. If he hires a good one – and listens to him or her – he could someday enjoy a victorious election night.

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