As I was saying: Now that deciphering the president's personal habits has become the modern equivalent of the old game of studying who's standing next to whom on the Kremlin Wall, it seems reasonable to suspect the White House is trying to send a musical message here -- a singing telegram, as it were.
But addressed to whom? Certainly not the religious right. I sure didn't notice any Christian top 40 hits on the POTUS's play list. And songs like "My Sharona" don't exactly fit into Rev. Dobson's Big Book of Hymns:Gun it coming off of the line, SharonaTo me it looks like the White House actually is trying to put at a little symbolic distance between Shrub and the true believers -- for reasons which aren't hard to guess at, given the high-pitched howling noises now coming from the Christian right.
Never gonna stop, give it up, such a dirty mind
I always get it up with a touch of the younger kind.
In fact I would take this as confirmation -- if any was needed -- that the White House is starting to worry about Bush's dropping poll numbers, and sees the source of the problem in his overly close embrace of the Bible fedayeen.
The target audience for Operation iPod, I suspect, is what Stan Greenberg likes to call the F-You boys -- younger to middle-aged downscale white males who tend to hate gays, "feminazis" and liberals (not necessarily in that order) but who tend to love beer, weed and Howard Stern (again, not necessarily in that order.)
The F-You boys and the Bible fedayeen are the two most incompatible elements in the modern-day GOP coalition -- like vinegar and baking soda, or (more accurately) sodium and water. They don't work and play well together. The F-You boys (and their girlfriends, fondly known to the marketing whores as "virile females") just wanna have fun, and building Christ's kingdom here on earth -- with no booze, no joints, no porn and above all, no nookie outside the bonds of holy matrimony (and even then only in the missionary position with the lights out) -- isn't exactly on their play list.
On the other hand, the F-You boys (and girls) seem to really get off on Shrub's Texas swagger act. And they appear to admire his obvious contempt for all those elitist egghead inventions like reading and writing. (I know I'm indulging in some shameless stereotyping here, but what the hell, the red-state rubes do it to us all the fucking time.)
Maybe the White House PR technicians decided the F-You boys have been seeing a little too much lately of the come-to-Jesus (and save Terri) Bush and not enough of Bush the ex-playboy who occasionally acts like he's still sneaking a few drinks under the table. So they decided to fiddle with the control knobs a bit by "leaking" his alleged play list.
Nothing wild, you understand -- or at least, nothing wilder than "My Sharona." No heavy metal, no punk, no rap, no world beat. Nothing that would get Shrub in major trouble with the right-wing culture police. (No Police, either.) But plenty of middle-of-the-road blues and C&W: Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Hill, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings. The kind of stuff you'd probably hear in a bar in Midland, Texas. Not a serious biker bar, mind you -- just a tidy honky tonk with clean urinals: the kind of place where a good ol' boy like GW's public persona might hang out.
But the leaked list also includes a few tunes from Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell, which may mean the White House spinmeisters are trying to send a parallel message to middle-aged women with college degrees -- particularly independents or GOP leaners who are moderate on the choice issue. Yet another demographic that has issues with the Bible fedayeen.
You may think I'm kidding about all this -- and I did have my tongue planted pretty firmly inside my cheek on that last one. I don't know if the White House really sliced and diced the polls with a sushi knife before deciding what tunes to put on Shrub's iPod. I'm not even sure they're trying to send any kind of PR message at all. Certainly, if I were leaking something for the benefit of the F-You boys, I probably wouldn't pick the New York Times to do it in. Maxim or Popular Mechanics, yes; the Gray Lady, no.
But I will say this: Anyone who thinks the idea is completely ridiculous hasn't been paying much attention to the way politics is now done in this country.
Len on 04.13.05 @ 01:07 PM CST