Commentary: 2012 Campaign Theme Songs We Actually Want to Hear

Commentary: 2012 Campaign Theme Songs We Actually Want to Hear

In honor of the late Don Cornelius, here are the songs that really match the personalities and dramas of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Published February 1, 2012

In honor of the passing of legendary Soul Train host Don Cornelius, I decided to take a musical approach to this week's political news. I'd like to suggest a few possible theme songs for the various campaigns.

I Learned From the Best
Following his stunning defeat in South Carolina last month, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won big in Florida on Tuesday by outspending his closest rival, House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 4-1 with a brutal slash-and-burn campaign in which 92 percent of all television ads were negative. Romney argued he was fighting back the same way he had been attacked by Gingrich. To borrow a line from the Whitney Houston song: "I learned from the best. I learned from you."

Money Can't Buy You Love
Despite spending almost $20 per vote — compared to Gingrich's thrifty $6 per vote — Romney still can't close the deal with his own party. Republican voter turnout was down 16 percent from 2008, and 38 percent of Florida Republicans said they are "still not satisfied" with the GOP field and want someone else to run. Romney should learn from the Beatles song that "money can't buy me love." Or as Bonnie Raitt put it, "I can't make you love me if you don't."

As a flip-flopping Massachusetts Mormon, Romney will never win the hearts of many evangelical conservatives. His best hope is to offer a simple counter message: "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with."

Love The Way You Lie
Some Democrats were not as impressed by Romney's Florida win as much as his stunning ability to distort the facts in his victory speech Tuesday night. For a man who has switched his position on issues ranging from abortion to health care, the Democrats might pull out Jennifer Holliday's old song from Dreamgirls: "I'm Changing." But that song is too sympathetic. After Romney's $10,000 bet against Rick Perry, they might try Kenny Rogers's song, "The Gambler." Or, to a guy who makes $57,000 a day for doing nothing, voters themselves might be asking the former Bain Capital executive to "treat me like your money."

The Devil Went Down to Georgia
So many songs come to mind about Newt Gingrich, that I don't know where to begin. Hank Williams's "Your Cheatin' Heart" would be too easy. Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama" always seems appropriate. And, after his stunning collapse from frontrunner status just a few weeks ago, we might be tempted to choose Whitney's classic, "Didn't We Almost Have It All."

It seems that Newt is always "Four Words From a Heartbreak," but weary GOP voters seem to have "Lost That Lovin' Feeling." He's got a few weeks to pull it together, but if he doesn't perform on Super Tuesday on March 6, he'll be riding home with Gladys Knight on the "Midnight Train to Georgia."

Why Does It Hurt So Bad?
As for the other candidates, Ron Paul's campaign song could be "I Will Survive" or "Neither One of Us Wants to Be the First to Say Goodbye." For Rick Santorum, it's clearly "Jesus, Take the Wheel." Herman Cain, already an accomplished singer, could have gone with "No Rhyme, No Reason" or "Fake Your Way to the Top." And finally, the media-hungry Sarah Palin could have tried "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me."

Save the Best for Last
All of this leads us back to Barack Obama. As the Republicans fight among themselves, he stays above the fray and looks more presidential every day. Some will hate on him. Some are still in love with him. But with the economy finally showing signs of improvement, his winning argument might be his theme song: Save the Best for Last.

The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.


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Written by Keith Boykin


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