The 2012 Republican presidential field may not have a lot of advocates of public support for the arts or arts education. But it does have a lot of folks who harbor rock-star dreams. So it seems appropriate to evaluate how hard they rock out. We may not know who our next president is for another fourteen months and change, but we can crown a new Republican Idol today.
Candidate: Rep. Thaddeus McCotter
Band: Two, the Second Amendments, composed of members of Congress, and the Screaming Lemurs, which
Period Active: Present
Rebel Factor: Low. Playing the New Hampshire Young Republican Lobster Bake and Straw Poll’s good work if you can get it, but it’s not the Cavern Club. This is establishment rock at its finest.
Candidate: Former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman
Period Active: Late 1970s
Rebel Factor: Moderate. Huntsman did drop out of high school in his senior year to pursue his dreams of rock superstardom. But the risk factor for that kind of thing’s a lot lower when your father is a billionaire.
Candidate: Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Band: ZZ Top, with whom Perry once played
Period Active: 2003, a single concert where Perry sat in on “La Grange,” a song about what the band apparently believes to be the best little whorehouse in Texas.
Rebel Factor: Low-moderate. Perry reportedly wore a kind of strange jumpsuit on stage, though photographic evidence suggets a kind of dorky button-down. Either way, Billy Gibbons is domesticated enough to have a recurring role on Bones, so taking the stage with him is not much of a risk.
Winner: Jon Huntsman. We would totally listen to Captain Beefheart with him in his “ugliest green Ford Econoline van you could ever imagine.” And if anyone has an actual Wizard recording (or video of Perry with ZZ Top), we’ll pay you in ice cold beer for it.