CPAC photos via Gage Skidmore
The 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference concluded over the weekend and man was it a spectacle of horrors and hilarities. Every major Republican political player flocked to DC to cajole thousands of conservatives into thinking they are the godsend that can succeed and undo Obummer’s presidency in 2016.
Rather than wasting time like some DC political obsessive, parsing through all the big speeches looking for clues about who will run and who won’t, you’d likely get more insight by just listening to which songs they chose to walk out to.
It’s unclear whether CPAC organizers or the speakers themselves chose the songs, but either way, let’s get to psychoanalyzing...
Song: “Frankenstein” (The Edgar Winter Group)
The libertarian-ish senator came out to this ground-breaking prog rock tune—a reminder that Rand Paul is still very white (how white?), but willing to be a little more funky than the rest of the bunch. Like the legendary story of Edgar Winter busting out the world’s first proto-keytar to play this song live—forever changing the synth game—Sen. Paul rolled up his sleeves (that means he’s one of us!) and tried to jostle the stodginess of CPAC.
Most applicable lyric: “Bluhluhluhluhreereereereeeeeemrawwwh...”
Song: “Game On” (First Love)
The former senator best known for being the human version of frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter eschewed the Top 40 for his intro, instead going with a delightfully terrible song written in support of his 2012 Super Tuesday bid—a blissfully unaware self-parody of Christian conservatism with groan-inducing lines about Reagan, God, and the unborn.
The song serves as a desperate reminder from the Santorum camp that he did, indeed, one day lead the polls enough to warrant a fangirl song. “I still exist!” this song practically screamed on his behalf, as CPAC-goers shuffled out of the ballroom when he began speaking.
Most applicable lyric: “Oh, there is hope for our nation again / Maybe the first time since we had Ronald Reagan”
Song: “Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars)
Dubya’s younger brother will likely make a run for the White House, despite carrying perhaps the most poisonous political last name in American politics. Don’t believe him? Just watch. Only the most self-deluded dude, backed by an elderly donor class, could ever think the return of the Bushes could be worthy of the funkiest party song of 2014.
Most applicable lyric: “Bitch, say my name you know who I am! / I’m too hot (hot damn)”
Song: “Best Day of My Life” (American Authors)
As the failed VP candidate’s GOP star fades further into an abyss of self-parody and self-promotion, it’s pretty clear that any time she gets to speak before a captive audience it’s the “best day of her life.” She’ll drink up all that conservative adoration before the next bomb drops, and just as the song suggests, she’s never going to look inward or regret any of her past embarrassments.
Most applicable lyric: “I'm never gonna look back, whoa / Never gonna give it up, no”
Song: “I Gotta Feeling” (Black Eyed Peas)
The billionaire mogul and political grifter emerged to this classically terrible party anthem/omnipresent commercial soundtrack—a reminder that, as a public figure, Trump has about as much depth as that horrid song. Everyone’s praying Trump will just go away soon, much like they do when this song plays at your cousin’s Bar Mitzvah.
Most applicable lyric: “Let's do it, let's do it, let's do it, let's do it / And do it and do it, let's live it up”
Song: “Life Is a Highway” (Rascal Flatts)
He may be a heroic pediatric neurosurgeon, but his pre-presidential run has been nothing but bizarre (and occasionally bigoted) statement after another. No one knows whether he’ll actually run for president or, more likely, just ride that feel-good “highway” of book sales and Fox News appearances until the 15 minutes are up. He only wishes he could have that highway on repeat like Michael Scott.
Most applicable lyric: “Life is a highway / I wanna ride it all night long.”
Song: “Enter Sandman” (Metallica)
The New Jersey governor wants you to know he is metal. So metal that he will yell at you to “sit down and shut up,” but also not too metal that you won’t vote to put him in the White House. Like Metallica, Christie desperately wants to stride the line between ferocious take-no-shit attitude and vulnerable, everyday Joe commercial viability.
Most applicable lyric: “Sleep with one eye open / Gripping your pillow tight”
Song: “Wave on Wave” (Pat Green)
Like every major national politician from Texas, Ted Cruz would like to constantly remind you that he is from Texas. What better way than to walk out to the strains of a fellow Texan’s music? Because Cruz himself creepily resembles a televangelist minister, this Texas-based worship-disguised-as-a-love-song is perfect, as opposed to, say, something from Willie Nelson—you know, that pot-smoking librul from the People’s Republic of Austin.
Most applicable lyric: “So caught up now in pretending / What we're seeking is the truth”
The bracelets means he cares about stuff and is cool.
Song: “Coming Home” (Avenged Sevenfold)
It’s all, like, a metal metaphor. Walker’s camp clearly wanted to send the message that the governor has “stared the devil in the eye” (a.k.a. beat back a recall campaign), “escaped the hail of calculated mortars” (won a tight re-election), and “drank the blood of a king” (the labor unions, man). And now he’s here to brutalize ISIS with punishing guitar solos (a bizarrely monotone-yet-shouty speech). The song choice could also have something to do with A7X’s lead singer being a hardcore Republican.
Most applicable lyric: “Had many storms question my conviction / Gave armies reason to rise / The hangman's searching for bones he can borrow / While I escaped in the night”
Song: “Country Must Be Country Wide” (Brantley Gilbert)
By coming out to this generic modern country hit about “workin’, spittin’, huntin’, and fishin,’” the Louisiana governor is dead-set on proving he is actually as white as his official portrait accidentally suggested.
Most applicable lyric: “Workin' spittin' huntin' and fishin' / Stone cold country by the grace of God”
Song: “On Top of the World” (Imagine Dragons)
A few years back, Slate unearthed a handful of Newt doodles, from his tenure as Speaker of the House, in which the dude laid out his mission to become “leader of civilizing forces” and the public’s “systems designer.” So, yeah, it’s only fitting that he emerged from his backstage lair to the tune of a song about being the most amazing, bestest person ever by this great country’s favorite mass corporate commercial disguised as a rock band.
Most applicable lyric: “Been dreaming of this since a child / I’m on top of the world”
Marco Rubio with his trademark water bottle.
Song: “Cruise” (Florida Georgia Line)
Just like “bro-country”/”rap-country” hitmakers Florida Georgia Line, Rubio is a mix of two things that don’t normally go together: Republican and Latino. He’s combined those elements largely without controversy (despite, say, being more pro-immigration than his fellow partiers) because like FGL, Rubio will do whatever it takes to please you.
Most applicable lyric: “Come on, girl / Get those windows down and cruise / Aww, yeah”
Song: “Back in Black” (AC/DC)
He’s got a new set of glasses and a post-gubernatorial attitude hellbent on winning the presidency, so it’s only natural to assume a kickass theme song like “Back in Black.” Of course, like his 2012 failed presidential run, Perry is painfully unaware of irony: While he positions himself as the true God-loving social conservative, he walks out to AC/DC’s tribute to their late singer Bon Scott, who drunkenly died choking on his own vomit.
Most applicable lyric: “Oh yes, let's go / Gigolo!”
Andrew Kirell is editor-in-chief of Mediaite and would walk out to Neil Young’s “Let’s Impeach the President.” Follow him on Twitter.