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Why Don't Republicans Get Along With Songwriters?

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Flash back to 2008: The Republican primary race is a battle between Mike Huckabee and John McCain, with Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney still in contention and Ron Paul getting plenty of heat. It's an unusually musical campaign, thanks to Huckabee, who used his musical chops (he's a bass player) to spice up rallies. Candidates were sending messages through their song selections, and we investigated. Our findings:

Huckabee had a clear edge, tailoring his tunes to wherever he was stumping and going heavy on the Skynyrd.

McCain did that thing were he took a song at surface value without regard for the lyrics, but at least he picked a great song: "Johnny B. Goode." The song is about a kid who "never ever learned to read or write so well."

Giuliani went with The Clash, which is like wearing a Michael Vick jersey to a PETA meeting. The song was "Rudie Can't Fail," a "rudie" being a delinquent.

Ron Paul, as usual, stood out by playing songs composed by his supporters.

Romney's campaign gave us this response when we asked about his choice: "A Little Less Conversation":

The song underscores Governor Romney's promise to bring change to a broken Washington. He believes there needs to be more action to address our nation's challenges, with less talk and partisan bickering.

I was impressed that his campaign thought this through and had the resources to answer our query in a timely manner. We were a little flummoxed by some of his other song selections: "Simple Man" and "Heart of Gold," but the dude had some serious organization, if not support.

The Democratic side was a musical blowout, with Obama going into rock star mode while his future Secretary of State had a "contest" to pick her song and came up with a Celine Dion song called "You And I."

Romney didn't take any heat from Neil Young or the ghost of Elvis four years ago, but now that he's the nominee, he's facing the usual songwriter/musician resistance to many of his campaign song choices. K'naan and Silversun Pickups both had beef, and Paul Ryan got a retaliatory Rolling Stone article from Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.

We took a closer look at this strange and contentious relationship between the GOP and the music makers in our Republicans vs Songwriters story. One thing we found: while Romney plays political hardball, he seems to be rolling over on this issue.

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