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Commentary: Presidential election should be left to candidates, not Jay-Z, Springsteen and Kid Rock

Courtesy of MCT

When politics mix with an unlikely counterpart, music, it can be strategic and positive. It can also be embarrassing and awkward.

Both presidential candidates are spending the weekend and the first part of next week in Ohio before Tuesday’s election. Both are bringing musicians in tow for some of their appearances.

President Barack Obama is scheduled to appear in Columbus Monday with Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is also scheduled to visit Columbus Monday with The Marshall Tucker Band. Romney is also slated to visit West Chester, Ohio, on Friday with Kid Rock.
Let me preface my thoughts with this: I am neither registered as a Republican or as a Democrat. And my thoughts on music don’t cross party lines, whether the musicians themselves decide to favor a candidate or not.

While I am a country music fan, I cannot think of a reason why bringing Kid Rock along on a campaign visit would be a good idea. If Romney is going for the vote of fans of a talentless, washed-up country “musician,” then he has really hit the mark.

It does make sense for Romney to bring country musicians along with him on campaign visits. Country music traditionally appeals to conservatives, as do many of its themes, such as hunting, farming and religion. But Romney really could have benefitted from choosing someone with a little more talent than Kid Rock. Can anyone even name an appealing song by him, other than “Picture,” which is really only bearable because it’s a duet with Sheryl Crow?

While I don’t think this should matter in the grand scheme of things  – no one should base their vote on which candidate brings the cooler performer to his events – I do think there are uninformed voters who will make their choices this way.

Obama is clearly winning as far as choosing the right musicians to accompany him the day before the election. Jay-Z is one of the most talented and well-respected rappers of all time, and Springsteen is an American icon. Kid Rock is a fool.

To be fair, Obama hasn’t been perfect when it comes to choosing performers to accompany him on his many visits to Ohio.

On Oct. 9, Obama visited Ohio State and brought will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas with him. The result was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life. Will.i.am basically hosted a rave during the daylight for a crowd equally comprised of college students and random Columbus community members. If that isn’t a recipe for disaster, I don’t know what is.

Bottom line, while some of the presidential candidates might have better musicians lending them their support, that shouldn’t be the basis of your vote. So whether you’re a Jay-Z fan or, for whatever reason, a Kid Rock fan, educate yourself on all of your options and vote.

Obama is scheduled to speak at the Franklin County Fairgrounds in Hilliard, Ohio, on Friday before continuing on to stops in Springfield, Ohio, and Lima, Ohio. Doors open at 8 a.m. at the Fairgrounds Friday.

Mitt Romney and Ann Romney are also scheduled to make a stop in Columbus Monday at Landmark Aviation on E. 5th Avenue. That event is scheduled to be open to the public at 4 p.m.


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