Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan, 42, should not expect an endorsement from Rage Against the Machine, even if they are his favorite band. Upon learning of Ryan’s support, which was revealed in a feature in the New York Times, Rage guitarist Tom Morello, 48, penned a scathing op-ed in Rolling Stone. “Ryan claims that he likes Rage’s sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don’t care for Paul Ryan’s sound or his lyrics,” Morello wrote. “He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage.”
Rage, founded in 1991, appears to be an odd favorite of Ryan considering the band has long opposed the practices of the corporate world, as well as the current two-party political framework. Morello pointed out that the disconnect between the band and the politician is not a new phemonenon, as New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s support of Bruce Springsteen has not been reciprocated. And while any hopes of patching things up seem to be gone, Morello offered Ryan some backhanded advice.
“Rage’s music affects people in different ways. Some tune out what the band stands for and concentrate on the moshing and throwing elbows in the pit,” he wrote. “For others, Rage has changed their minds and their lives. Many activists around the world, including organizers of the global occupy movement, were radicalized by Rage Against the Machine and work tirelessly for a more humane and just planet. Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening.”
Morello even went as far as to speculate what could happen if Ryan actually did support Rage’s message. “My hope is that maybe Paul Ryan is a mole. Maybe Rage did plant some sensible ideas in this extreme fringe right-wing nut job. Maybe if elected, he’ll pardon Leonard Peltier. Maybe he’ll throw U.S. military support behind the Zapatistas. Maybe he’ll fill Guantanamo Bay with the corporate criminals that are funding his campaign – and then torture them with Rage music 24/7. That’s one possibility. But I’m not betting on it.”
After suggesting that Ryan and Mitt Romney have been gripped with “unbridled rage against those who have the least,” Morello compared the would-be VP’s political efforts against others undertaken by fans of the band. “Many activists around the world, including organizers of the global occupy movement, were radicalized by Rage Against the Machine and work tirelessly for a more humane and just planet,” he pointed out. “Perhaps Paul Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening.”
Music and politics is a strange mixture. Clash well remembers David Cameron’s attempts to win over the indie crowd, naming The Smiths as one of his favorite groups. We also recall fondly Johnny Marr’s response, bluntly demanding that the politician stop listening to his music.
Now Republic candidate Paul Ryan seems to have made a similar mistake. And as I said here in this articles opening, Ryan has now been caught playing loose with his words. The man everyone is touting as one of the most intelligent members of the Republican party has early in his candidacy demonstrated just the opposite.
It will be interesting to see if Romney’s running mate has any more contradictory and cognitive dissident view to entertain his democratic opponents. It’s perhaps a good bet that they’ll be listening to his every word, so don’t be surprised if he hits another fuel ball next week.