Wednesday, August 04, 2004
Bands Gather to Stump Against Bush
Hmm. The nutjobs are out in force this year.
NEW YORK (AP) - In an unprecedented series of concerts in nine swing states, more than 20 musical acts - including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and the Dixie Chicks - will perform fund-raising concerts one month before the Nov. 2 election in an effort to unseat President Bush.
The shows, which will begin Oct. 1 in Pennsylvania, will take an unusual approach: as many as six concerts on a single day in cities across the states expected to decide the November presidential race. Other stops on the tour are North Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and the key state in 2000, Florida.
"We're trying to put forward a group of progressive ideals and change the administration in the White House," Springsteen told The Associated Press in the most overtly political statements of his 30-year career. "That's the success or failure, very clear cut and very simple."
Hmm. Wouldn't this be a violation of the new McCain-Feingold Campaign laws? As I understand it, if the concerts are broadcast, that would be a violation -- but would it be a violation if they advertised the sale of concert tickets?
See what happens when you start screwing around with the central protections of the First Amendment, like the inviolable right to political speech?
The artists of different generations and genres will tour under the name "Vote For Change," with shows Oct. 1-8. But the money generated will go to America Coming Together, which promises on its Web site to "derail the right-wing Republican agenda by defeating George W. Bush."
The anticipated millions of dollars will be spent in the swing states before the presidential election, said ACT president Ellen Malcolm.
This is why McCain-Feingold must go.
It is an interesting tactic, to be sure. It will give more money to the Kerry campaign, but the concert attendees are unlikely to have much of an impact on the election -- few people in the average concert-goer's age range actually get out and vote.
The shows will be presented by MoveOn Pac, the electoral arm of the liberal interest group MoveOn.org, with an official announcement expected Wednesday.
There was no immediate word on prices for tickets, which were going on sale for all shows Aug. 21. The shows will pair artists, such as Springsteen and REM or the Dixie Chicks and James Taylor. There will be 34 shows in 28 cities.
Natalie Maines, of the Dixie Chicks, who memorably told a London audience last year that she was ashamed to share her home state of Texas with Bush, echoed a Springsteen comment that this was the most important election of their lives.
Natalie Maines is still gagging on that foot she put in her mouth a couple of years back. Wah.
"A change is in order," Maines said. "There's never been a political climate like this, which is so the polar opposite of me as a person and what I believe in."
That much is true, sort of. I've never seen the Left feel so impotent and enraged as they do this year. Last gasps of a failed ideology, IMHO.
The idea was hatched by several of the acts' managers, and quickly expanded. "Once we started talking to each other, ideas started percolating and other artists started reaching out to us," said Jon Landau, Springsteen's manager.
Other artists participating in the shows include hip-hoppers Jurassic 5, John Mellencamp, Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Babyface, Bright Eyes and the Dave Matthews Band. Most have a history of social activism, from Browne's anti-nuclear concerts to Mellencamp's Farm Aid shows. Pearl Jam front man Vedder was a Ralph Nader backer in 2000.
"At some point, you can't sit still," said Vedder, a harsh critic of the Iraq war. "You can't spend your life, when people are getting killed, without asking serious questions about why."
Springsteen said he didn't fear any backlash over going public with his personal politics.
"It's a pretty clear-cut decision in November," said Springsteen, whose songs have provided a backdrop for some Kerry events. "We're chipping in our two cents. That's all we're trying to do."
And you'll have as much of an impact as that other group of has-beens, Bon Jovi, had back in 2000.
The real question, though, is what stunts like this will do to campaign finance laws. There is little question that the 527s are having a severe impact on finances, and are being used ot dodge the strict limits of McCain-Feingold. I just wonder whether this election will be enough to get those unconstitutional limitations repealed.
Sorry for the tone today -- I'm still recovering from vacation.