John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


Kid Rock

Posted on February 28, 2012

Kid Rock once played at a party held in honor of my old boss, Denny Hastert, the former Speaker of the House.

It was at the Republican Convention in New York, and country music star Trace Adkins also headlined the event.

And it was frickin awesome.

I wasn’t much of a Kid Rock fan back then.  I am now.

Kid Rock isn’t your Andy Williams Republican.  He is not singing the songs from the Osmond Family.  His music isn’t exactly genteel.

Kid Rock’s music is not exactly the kind of music I want my 5 year old listening to, especially the old stuff.

It is raw.  It is profane.  It kicks ass.   And it is not appropriate for kindergartners.

Kid Rock was born Bob Ritchie in Romeo, Michigan in 1971.   Romeo is not Detroit, and at age fifteen, Bob Ritchie ran away from home, moved to the big city, and never turned back to small town America.

He hasn’t exactly had an easy time of it.  He sold drugs out of a car wash to make ends meet, but eventually fell into a group of budding rap musicians.  He was white kid would could rock, which is how he became Kid Rock.

To say that Kid Rock is an angel is to misrepresent the facts.  He has had his fair share of run-ins with the law, he has done his fair share of drugs, and he hasn’t cut his hair in a decade.

But he is one persistent rock and roller, and when things have gone poorly for him, he has brushed himself off, picked himself up, and kept at it until he has been successful.

Mitt Romney has been playing Kid Rock at his campaign rallies for a while now.   More specifically, he has been playing the new Kid Rock anthem “Born Free.”

It is interesting that somebody as square as Mitt Romney would be drawn to somebody as raw as Kid Rock.

Kid Rock is a patriot, so that might be part of the draw.  He plays concerts for our troops all over the world and he has done that for a long, long time.  Perhaps that is one reason that Romney likes him.

Rock, like Romney, is from Michigan and cares about Detroit, so that might be  another thing that bings them.

And Rock, like Romney, has worked hard his whole life and doesn’t seem to take anything for granted.

Yet, Kid Rock and Mitt Romney still make an unlikely pair.

You have to wonder if Rick Santorum would be offended by Kid Rock’s music.   Romney seems to let that stuff roll off his back.  Santorum, on the other hand, seems to want to bend the culture into something better for the kids.

Rock and rollers tend to trend left.  Drugs, sex and rock roll tends to have more resonance with the liberal set.  Bruce Springsteen, the rock and roll icon, is a perfect example of that.  John Cougar is another example.  Both have rock and roll anthems that point to the problems of America, not to its possibilities.   Remember Born in the USA is anti-war song.

But that might be changing.  Kid Rock’s “Born Free” is a song about the wonders of living in America.  There isn’t a drop of cynicism in that song.

Maybe that is why Kid Rock and Mitt Romney get along so well.  They both see the possibilities in America, not the problems with America.

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