Obama Speech Shock: Redneck Anthem Plays At End


Brooks & Dunn’s
“Only In America”
previously used by the Republicans in 2004.

By Fred Mills


In the 1996 film Jerry
, Renee Zellweger’s character tearfully tells Tom Cruise’s
character, “You had me at hello.” Last night, at the conclusion of Barack
Obama’s sometimes-inspiring/frequently wonky acceptance speech for the
Democratic nomination for President, perhaps the operative phrase might be,
“You lost me at goodbye.”


In a move that could either be viewed as shameless pandering
to the so-called skeptical middle class that the Obama campaign knows it
desperately needs to defeat professional tool John McCain or an astonishing
aural gaffe that could potentially alienate millions of current supporters
(such as yours truly), or both, the music that played over the Denver stadium’s
soundsystem as Obama left the podium was a redneck anthem by country superstars
Brooks & Dunn.


Admittedly, the lyrics to “Only In America” (copied below)
are pertinent and wholly relevant to both Obama’s personal backstory and his
historic campaign. “One kid… just might be president,” goes a key passage,
“only in America
where we dream as big as we want to we all get a chance.” And the
chest-thumping, testosterone-pumping tune is tailor made for a big stadium
event such as last night’s: the Obama folks were clearly wanting a number that
would help stoke the final adrenalin rush of 80,000-plus people cheering, not
to mention something that unequivocally conveyed patriotic manliness.


But c’mon, Barack: Brooks and fucking Dunn?!?


Obama had previously taken the stage as a portion of U2’s
“City Of Blinding Lights,”
another soaring/anthemic number that was both rousing and metaphorically
appropriate. And throughout the campaign he’s tapped songs keyed to the place
and the moment – at a Los Angeles
fundraiser in June, for example, Springsteen’s “The Rising” played at the
conclusion of his speech. Surely some other number could have been found with
lyrics equally as pertinent as “Only In America” that contained the necessary
pump-the-crowd-up sonic qualities.


The fact that Brooks & Dunn are such staunch Republicans
that they performed at the Republican National Convention in NYC four years ago
and actively supported Bush both during his initial run for office in 2000 and
during his reelection campaign in 2004. They also allowed two of their songs to
be co-opted by Bush as his official campaign songs those years, respectively
“Hard Workin’ Man” and – get this – “Only in America.”



With that in mind, one might suspect that the Obama campaign
was pulling a fast one on Brooks & Dunn and sending a pointed message
(like, uh, a sharp stick in the eye…) to Bush and the rest of the Republicans,
something like, “Yeah, motherfucker, we’ll show you some of the good ol’ red
white and blue, right up your pinched ass!”


So maybe the gloves are off – although normally the artist
would be consulted to give or deny his permission for one of his songs to be
used in such a high-profile fashion. And if 
those redneck yahoos Brooks & Dunn have somehow come to their senses
finally after 8 years of foggy notions and are going to support Obama’s
candidacy,  more power to everyone
involved. It will be interesting to see what, if any, comments the Obama camp issues
today about the song’s use.


But for the moment – please, Barack, fire the numbskull who
talked you into using that music. It shocked me out of my seat when I heard it,
and not in a good way. Whatever statement you were trying to make using it was
lost. You’ve still got my vote, but it diminished you as a candidate.


UPDATE, 8-30-08: Yesterday Kix Brooks said in a statement, ”Seems ironic that the same song Bush used at the Republican
Convention last election would be used by Obama and the Democrats
now. Very flattering to
know our song crossed parties and potentially inspires all Americans.” Clearly the band was not notified in advance, making all this even more intriguing.




“Only In America” by
Brooks & Dunn:



Sun coming up over New York City
School bus driver in a traffic jam
Starin’ at the faces in her rearview mirror
Looking at the promise of the Promised Land
One kid dreams of fame and fortune
One kid helps pay the rent
One could end up going to prison
One just might be president

Only in America
Dreaming in red, white and blue
Only in America
Where we dream as big as we want to
We all get a chance
Everybody gets to dance
Only in America

Sun going down on an La. freeway
Newlyweds in the back of a limousine
A welder’s son and a banker’s daughter
All they want is everything
She came out here to be an actress
He was the singer in a band
They just might go back to Oklahoma
And talk about the stars they could have been

Only in America
Where we dream in red, white and blue
Only in America
Where we dream as big as we want to
We all get a chance
Everybody gets to dance
Only in America

Yeah only in America
Where we dream in red, white and blue
Yeah we dream as big as we want



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