When the Clinton campaign broke tradition during the balloon drop at the 1992 Democratic convention by uncorking Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow,” it signaled a new, pop-culture-friendly approach to presidential politics. It also helped, as a convenient shorthand, to set Clinton apart in a generational way from the senior Bush then in the White House. (The stunt didn’t hurt the band, either; members reunited in the wake of the song’s election season popularity, and they’re still counting the profits.) In 2000, Vice President Al Gore followed suit, reaching back for a lesser known modern-rock radio staple, “Let the Day Begin” by the Call. John Kerry’s almost certain to unfurl a rock choice Thursday night. So what will be his trademark song for the fall campaign?
Odds are good the song was among those played during his rally at Boston Harbor Wednesday afternoon, marking his official arrival in Boston. Here’s what the soundtrack featured:
“Thunder Road,” Bruce Springsteen
“Waitin’ on a Sunny Day,” Springsteen
“Travelin’ Band,” Credence Clearwater Revival
“Hey Ya!” Outkast
“Beautiful Day,” U2
“No Surrender,” Springsteen
“Johnny B. Goode,” Chuck Berry
“I Won’t Back Down,” Tom Petty
“Simply the Best,” Tina Turner
“Closer to Free,” BoDeans
“Young Americans,” David Bowie
Without being privy to convention planning, War Room’s money is on Springsteen’s “No Surrender.” First, because Springsteen is among a group of platinum stars — including Pearl Jam, Neil Young, John Mellencamp, the Dixie Chicks and maybe even Bob Dylan — who are set to tour this fall for a series of anti-Bush concerts, according to a recent report in the Los Angeles Times. And second, of all the song options, “No Surrender” (“We made a promise we swore we’d always remember / No retreat no surrender”) has the strongest Swift boat, band of brothers kind of appeal.
Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush." More Eric Boehlert.
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