Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ram Obama Ding Dong

Bruce Springsteen endorses Obama for president: "He speaks to the America I've envisioned in my music for the past 35 years..."

Surely, Bruce Springsteen must know - especially when he plays gigs in Jersey, at Giant Stadium or IzodContinental or those super-expensive charity small shows - that his middle-aged fans include Republicans. Lots of them. I would say at least half, probably more in Jersey. How could he not know? It's the undeniable demographics of Jersey's suburban bourgeoise. Europe gives him a skewed view - those crowds are largely leftist. So are the critics who praise his albums & causes. But here in Jersey Bruce's enduring popularity has to do with him being from us, occasionally singing about us, & is awash with the nostalgia he's incorporated into his songs from the beginning. As we age, the eras of "Born To Run" - a song that expressed something already a few years in Bruce's past - & "Born In the USA" become more distant. We're not living in a Jersey where Route 9 is a two lane dragstrip passing through cornfields in Monmouth County. Bruce's present Jersey is Rumson & Red Bank & driving to Asbury for rehearsals at the Paramount, where he knows better than to park his classic 'vette on Ocean Ave.

Bruce's lyrics often are a bitter medicine. It's a good thing that he resists the insularity of boundless wealth & observes the landscapes he travels through, even though the connections he makes to those landscapes & the people inhabiting them are as hypothetical as a presidential candidate's. Jerseyans appreciate his sincerity, his work ethic, his local loyalties, his encores. He's always had a good deal of folkie singer in him, & a considerable portion of his audience loses interest when he picks up his acoustic guitar. But in Jersey, he can sell out shows at any ticket price; big venues for E Street, smaller venues for the Guthrie -Dylan stuff.

Few progressive bloggers include Springsteen when they write about the music they're really into. But I wouldn't be surprised if many of Jersey's conservative bloggers - writers whose blogs make me feel like I've stepped in dog crap - spend hundreds of dollars on Springsteen tickets, mainly to hear "Rosalita" & "Thunder Road," & because they can. Afterward, at a brew pub, they can brag about their great seats & bitch about Bruce's politics.

We know what Springsteen's endorsement of John Kerry accomplished in 2004. & he made that one before the election & went on the road to back it up.

Now he endorses Barack Obama over two months after the New Jersey primary. Barack still had an aura of nonpartisanship back on February 5th when the endorsement might have swung a few votes his way.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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