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Mixing Music and Politics

Regular readers of The Fix know that we aren't just obsessive about politics -- we also tend to go a little ga ga when it comes to music.

And, surprisingly enough, The Fix is far from alone in these twin passions. (Although we defy ANYONE to replicate The Fix's three obsessions: politics, music AND field hockey.)

Barack Obama, for example, listed some of his favorite musicians during an interview in June with Rolling Stone magazine. Among the favorites: Bob Dylan (natch), Sheryl Crow (um...), Elton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Bruce Springsteen (not the God but certainly a god), Jay-Z and jazz greats Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. The story notes that one of Obama's favorite songs is Dylan's 'Maggie's Farm' whose lyrics include this brilliant and relevant passage: Well, I try my best/ To be just like I am/But everybody wants you/To be just like them."

One of the most intense followers of politics and music we know is none other than Howard Wolfson, the former senior adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (N.Y.) presidential campaign.

So, when we heard Howard had started a new blog named "Gotham Acme" devoted to music -- with a little politics thrown in for good measure -- we immediately bookmarked it. And so should you.

A sampling of Wolfson's recent posts:

* An explainer on why Jerome Corsi's new book "The Obama Nation" won't have the electoral impact that Corsi's last book "Unfit for Command" did. Writes Wolfson: "'The Obama Nation' contains no real revelation or new criticism about Senator Obama," writes Wolfson. 'Unfit for Command' purported that Senator Kerry did not deserve his medals and was not really a war hero. This was a big, easily understood attack which went to the very heart of Senator Kerry's candidacy. In contrast, "The Obama Nation" contends that Senator Obama is a liberal. A Republican calls a Democrat a liberal? This is news? Who cares?"

* An update on a new tour by two great groups -- Drive By Truckers and The Hold Steady. And, Wolfson rightly notes a HUGE oversight -- the lack of a DC show.

By Chris Cillizza  |  August 20, 2008; 6:25 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Fix Pick: Jack Shafer Hammers the Veepstakes
Next: GOP Veepstakes: Political Positioning or a Fundamental Rebranding?


Geez, why the hating on Sheryl Crow?

Posted by: corey | August 21, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

DC repeatedly gets skipped on cool shows.

IMP books them into Baltimore instead of 9:30.

This is probably because crowds in DC that aren't go go crowds, are passive and sucky. All them 80's punks and skins are all growed up (or moved to Baltimore).

Posted by: Anonymous | August 21, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse


The Afghan Whigs are good, but take a listen to The Twilight. they are even better.

Posted by: Ohio Whigs | August 21, 2008 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Drive By Truckers and The Hold Steady may be good ... but a Neil Young/Wilco mini-tour was just announced with a Philly stop.

Posted by: DE Wilco fan | August 21, 2008 11:14 AM | Report abuse

looking for a comment from you re jackson browne's objections to mc same using running on empty

Posted by: LJ | August 21, 2008 11:07 AM | Report abuse

That Spoon album is awesome. Caught them on tour with The New Pornographers late last year.

Posted by: copa | August 21, 2008 10:37 AM | Report abuse

The music/politics thing that's bugged me for years is Rush using "My City Was Gone" as his theme song - surely Chrissy Hynde MUST disapprove, and yet it persists.....

Posted by: Jon | August 21, 2008 10:23 AM | Report abuse


This item, originally posted here on Monday, is re-posted for your careful consideration:


U.S. May Ease Police Spy Rules

The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years.
By Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson



At a time when members of government-funded volunteer "service" and "watch" organizations are accused of harassing, intimidating and possibly physically abusing citizens, the administration's defense is a "good" offense: Just say anything goes.

Local police authority has been usurped and sworn officers who are charged with protecting their communities from crime are being turned into secret agents.

We have descended into a police state; federal grants are funding the police use of dangerous "radiation energy" weapons that fire concentrated blasts of silent, invisible radiation. Victims of organized "gang stalking" allege that these weapons are being used to degrade the lives of these so-called "targets", whose lives are being financially and physically destroyed by an extra-legal "control mechanism" similar to that practiced by the Nazis, the Stasi and the KKK.

These are the "mechanics of personal destruction," using the war on terror as a convenient rationale for imposition of a police state.

Where are McCain and Obama on this? Will the national press corps even ask the question?

BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN MATTER? Not when government-supported "vigilante injustice" squads are "gang stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:


Posted by: scrivener | August 21, 2008 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Have to say...gotta love Wolfson's music site. Hated the guy (still kinda do...but the music site helps to get over it just a little bit.

a guy who talks about "Living Color" gotta have some character somewhere in his soul...haha.

I noticed Celine Diom's "You and I" didn't seem to make the cut

Posted by: dl | August 21, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Yo- Ohio Whigs, it was actually the Afghan Whigs that brought 'cool' back to the word 'whigs'.

Posted by: bsimon | August 21, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse

bhoomes: And is the Republican theme going to be "You can't always get what you want"?

Posted by: dch | August 21, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Bhoomes, did you make that up?

Posted by: MarkInAustin | August 21, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

No field hockey, but there is a fun posting on the Whigs in Virginia blog about a leader of this revived Modern Whig Party movement whose regionally acclaimed rock band is bringing the word "cool" back to the "Whigs."

Posted by: Ohio Whigs | August 21, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Harold Wolfson likes The Hold Steady? They're my favorite band, but now that I know Wolfson likes them, I may need to reconsider.

At least I heard about the tour yesterday. I'd hate to find out about the tour through Wolfson's blog!

Posted by: Blarg | August 21, 2008 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Hey Silly Chrissie the WAPO Obama Gurly Boy
Shill,so hw come your soooo afraid to bring
up the fact that sudden Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain is up
over Democrat Peacenik Marxist Socialist
Democrat Liberal Loser Gurly Boy Wimpy Wuss
Barack Hussein Obama now then? Still in
denial and shock here wimpy silly sissy
Crissie Gurl? God Chrissie Is A Doofus!
NOBAMA 2008 Or Ever!

Posted by: Sherry Kay 2004 | August 21, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Democrat's theme song at Convention"Eve of Destruction" . Of course they think the World is on the Eve of Destruction: but we Republicans are confident its the Dem party with its whiney and pessimistic views that will eventualy let the dems go the way of the Whig party.

Posted by: bhoomes | August 21, 2008 7:02 AM | Report abuse

What about the other way round- i.e. bands that have endorsed Obama e.g. REM, Morrissey, Joan Baez, Dylan, Arcade Fire, Springsteen and a gazillion others(all endorsements for Obama over Clinton, initially). MccAin even managed to get an posthumous unendorsement from Johnny Cash's daughter this week. I agree with dch, though: a bit of classical music also wouldn't go astray in this campaign.

Posted by: capilony love III | August 21, 2008 3:09 AM | Report abuse

if Fix had a theme song... it would be the "Leave it to Beaver" theme song. Same concept.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | August 21, 2008 3:03 AM | Report abuse

wipe the cum off your chin before you post, dude...

Posted by: chris | August 21, 2008 1:07 AM | Report abuse

The Hold Syeady performed at the 9:30 club last week.

Posted by: HS | August 21, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Dear "Repub"

Merkel / Germany blocked Georgia and Ukraine from NATO membership.

Stop Russia now or the stakes grow geometrically.

Mc Cain has the credentials, Obama has a jump shot.

Posted by: rtfanning | August 21, 2008 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Released: August 20, 2008
Reuters/Zogby Poll:

Democrats are still on time to choose Hillary Clinton as their presidential nominee. Otherwise, they are doomed to suffer one of the most spectacular, unthinkable political defeats in history.

Posted by: berrymonster | August 20, 2008 11:11 PM | Report abuse

BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN MATTER? Not when government-supported "vigilante injustice" squads are "gang stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:


Posted by: It can't happen here - can it? | August 20, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Is there anyone dumb enough to believe Barack Obama's bulls*** that his favorite music is the same as what most white voters think of as 'good music'? You'd have to be really dumb to believe that Barack Obama is not a hip-hopping gang-banger type music lover who is only saying what his liberal usefull idiot white voters want to hear in order to align himself with them to get their votes. It's just like his new-found patriotism and love for America. This phony was a member and supporter of a racist white-hating and America-hating church Trinity United for Christ for over 20 years, and there's no way on the planet a TRUE PATRIOTIC AMERICAN would have stayed in this racist church for that long without agreeing with their message and teachings. Oprah Winfrey joined that same church just long enough to get to know what was going on, and quit. Barack and Michelle Obama never did in the 20 years that they were there until it dawned on them that maybe being members of a racist white--hating and America--hating church is not a good white vote getter in the presidential elections. Obama will gear his belief's and what he say's and does to what each of his audience he speaks to at the time believes in. He's not only a racist white-hater and America-hater from way back but he's a con-artist trying to bulls*** the usefull idiot white liberal voters that he needs to get elected that he's one of them. His 20 year membership in Trinity proves otherwise.

Posted by: madhatter | August 20, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Wolfson has no clue. If there weren't anything new in Corsi's book, one wonders why BHO and his surrogates would have come out with such long-winded responses, many simply ad homs against Corsi himself. Speaking of music, Corsi obviously struck a chord.

Perhaps Cillizza could consider some real reporting for a change and could ask the BHO campaign why they deleted a whole sentence from the interior of a Corsi quote, without indicating that they'd deleted that whole sentence:

Needless to say, that whole sentence they deleted modified the meaning of the quote in Corsi's favor.

Obama: deception you can believe in.

Posted by: 24AheadDotCom | August 20, 2008 10:40 PM | Report abuse

Just tell me who listens to J. S. Bach on a regular basis and the rest will take care of itself.

Posted by: dch | August 20, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse


You mean the same person whose campaign manager is working for the Georgians? The same one President Saahkasvilli called out on the "We are all Georgians" statement by saying "That's all very nice but I need action."? The same one who said Bush and Rummy were doing great running the Iraq war? The same one who said today that the Draft should be re-enstated? We don't need a president who talks loud and carries a small stick.

Posted by: Repub | August 20, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Where is any mention of Obama slipping. Chris is not using his powers of selective reporting again, is he?

Posted by: Gary | August 20, 2008 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Chris is such a putz. Lets talk about his buddy Obama slipping in the polls not this bull!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 20, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Fix your this really cool Guy in your own mind. Do you even play field Hockey? You strike me as the kind of person that gets winded opening a box of Twinkies.

Posted by: Your the Joke | August 20, 2008 9:56 PM | Report abuse

If you want to mix politics & music, SEIU is sponsoring a 'take back labor day' event across the river from the Repub Nat'l convention called Take Back Labor Day.

billy bragg
mos def
steve earle
allison moorer
the pharcyde
tom morello and friends

Wilco fans will recall Billy Bragg from the Mermaid Avenue project in which they joined forces to record previously unrecorded Woody Guthrie songs. Atmosphere is a critically acclaimed hip hop band from Minneapolis.

Posted by: bsimon | August 20, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse

In fact McCain is such a bold leader he was talking big EVEN BEFORE the Georgia war, encouraging Saakashvilli to think we'd protect him if he took on Russia.

Posted by: Aleks | August 20, 2008 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Just remember who spoke out first,loudest and clearest when Russia invaded Georgia when you vote in November.

Posted by: rtfanning | August 20, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

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