The television coverage of John Howard’s weekend appearance at the Liberal Party’s Federal Council meeting lacked the oomph of a good campaign song, but that was probably preferable to the “change in the weather, I see it now, I hear it now, I feel it now” theme that greeted Kevin Rudd at the Labor Party version.
All that ditty did was to prove that sometimes silence is the best policy but our political leaders should not stop searching for the right musical accompaniment. A rousing chorus can really brighten a dull day on the election trail as the would-be Democratic Party presidential candidate Hilary Clinton well knows.
She has enlisted the support of YouTube to get the American people on to the job of choosing the right tune with the winner scheduled to be announced this week.
The Hilary Clinton website has a campaign song ballot paper with five songs chosen from a list originally put up by the Clinton campaign team and five write-ins being the most popular other suggestions.
Not on the ballot paper are The Rolling Stones’ She’s So Cold, Foreigner’s Cold as Ice, and Lou Reed’s Vicious, all of which were suggested by detractors on The New Republic website. But the public participation has been considerable with The New York Times reporting that each of two videos made by Clinton about the contest has been viewed on either YouTube or the campaign site more than 900,000 times, and more than 100,000 votes were cast in the first round.
Tech President, a blog about candidates’ internet exposure, credited Clinton’s campaign song videos with “helping her dethrone Senator Barack Obama as the candidate with the most YouTube buzz.”
Personally, I think the songs being voted on in the US are a little too modern for a 69-year-old Australian Prime Minister, although I do remember John Howard as quite a rocker in his youthful incarnation as Malcolm Fraser’s treasurer.
In keeping with the Howard campaign theme of experience, perhaps the Liberals should just tinker with the words written for Theodore Roosevelt by Harry D. Kerr back in 1912:
Our Coun-try’s need at last we heed,
and choose a man we know,
Who’s al-ways stood for ev-‘ry good
for the peo-ple high and low;
He needs no friend to re-com-mend,
he’s been there once be-fore;
He’s on the track and go-ing back, …
The music by Alfred Solman is a rousing march and you can listen to it here on the parlorsongs.com website and sing along if you wish.
Kevin Rudd is a musical mystery man to me, but perhaps something a touch more modern would accentuate the age gap between himself and Howard. Retiring British PM Tony Blair certainly did that at the Labor Party conference of 2005 when he entered the hall to the sounds of the late ’70s punk icons Sham 69 and their song If The Kids Are United (“they will never be divided!”). Come to think of it, and given the continuing gossip about Treasurer Peter Costello and a leadership challenge, perhaps that one should go to Johnny too!
What needs to be avoided is a song with inappropriate lyrics. The Hilary Clinton team got it wrong, remember, during the nationally televised event at which she announced a run for the Senate from New York in 2000. After one of her staff members cued up the Billy Joel album New York State of Mind , the CD played Captain Jack, a song with lyrics referring to masturbation and drug use. Honesty in politics is one thing but that was going a bit far when your husband smokes without inhaling.
The safe choice for Labor would be to revive Little Patty and memories of Gough. Treat yourself to a little nostalgia with this ” It’s Time” video while you email Crikey with your suggestions.
Send your musical suggestions to [email protected] with “polly song” in the subject field.