Rock the Vote: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mike Bouchard shares the stage with Kid Rock, right, during a November 2006 campaign rally at the Royal Oak Music Theater in Royal Oak, Mich.
Bombastic rap-rocker Kid Rock recently hit out at fellow celebrities for using their star power to endorse political candidates. However, it seems Mr. Rock himself was counted among President George W. Bush’s stable of celebrity supporters during Bush II’s re-election campaign but was subsequently uninvited to perform at the president’s 2005 inaugural festivities because his lyrics didn’t resonate with GOP family values.
Here’s some background on Kid Rock’s reported involvement with George W. Bush’s campaign efforts and his more recent statements about celebrity endorsements:
On Aug. 5, 2004, Bush’s campaign media director, Mark McKinnon, was quoted in a New York Times article as disparaging R.E.M, Bruce Springsteen, Jurassic 5, Bright Eyes and other musical acts for throwing in with the “Vote for Change” tour, sponsored by MoveOn.org, while mentioning Kid Rock as one of Bush’s own celebrity backers:
The New York Times:
Mark McKinnon, the media director for the Bush campaign, said, “We think it’s unfortunate these particular fine musicians have decided to affiliate with a hate-filled fringe group like MoveOn.’’ Republicans have complained about a video briefly posted on MoveOn’s Web site in December likening Mr. Bush to Hitler.
Mr. McKinnon added that Mr. Bush had drawn his own support from the entertainment world, citing stars like Lee Ann Womack, Kid Rock and Jessica Simpson.
Kid Rock was initially slated to appear at a youth-oriented event during President Bush’s second inaugural celebration, also reported by The New York Times on Jan. 3, 2005:
The New York Times:
Kelsey Grammer will be the M.C. at a kickoff inaugural gala honoring the military, the rap artist Kid Rock will perform at an inaugural youth concert and President Bush’s most reliable fund-raisers have so far collected $15 million for three days of meticulously planned parties to celebrate his second swearing-in.
[...] The Bush twins, Jenna and Barbara, will be hosts of the youth concert, where the teenage singer JoJo will appear along with Kid Rock. The Kid, as he is called, notably said at a party during the Republican National Convention that if he were president he would never get caught having sex in the Oval Office but would instead install cameras in the Lincoln Bedroom.
Kid Rock’s stage act apparently didn’t score points with Republican organizers, as The New York Times noted on Jan. 19, 2005 :
The New York Times:
The president’s daughter Barbara helped plan the concert, and she and her sister, Jenna, were in the audience. Early reports that Kid Rock, the rapper, would be on the bill had started an uproar from upholders of family values. But Kid Rock, who has called himself the “pimp of the nation,” would have been startlingly out of place at such a determinedly wholesome show.
Here’s an excerpt from Fox News regular Michelle Malkin’s blog about Kid Rock on Jan. 7, 2005:
Many social conservative groups have launched a protest against the White House inauguration committee’s decision to invite Kid Rock to perform Jan. 18 at the Washington, D.C., Armory in a concert hosted by Bush daughters Jenna and Barbara.
Among those who are lobbying the committee to drop Kid Rock from the entertainment line-up:
The American Family Association
Campaign for Children and Families
Concerned Women For America
I applaud them. Some “South Park conservative-” types are ridiculing the protesters. “Lighten up,” they say. But I’m with the family groups on this. The inaugural celebrations should highlight the best the GOP has to offer. A guy who, as World Net Daily points out, “dedicated his first album to songs about oral sex and who was voted the Sluttiest Male Celebrity at the 1999 MTV Video Music Awards” and who titles songs “F—U Blind” and “F—Off” doesn’t belong there, even if he is a rare celebrity Bush supporter.
During his visit to CMT’s offices earlier this week, Kid Rock offered his opinions on a variety of topics, including the concept of keeping his thoughts to himself when it comes to politics.
“I truly believe that people like myself, who are in a position of entertainers in the limelight, should keep their mouth shut on politics,” he noted. “Because at the end of the day, let me tell you what I’m good at: I’m good at writing songs and singing. What I’m not educated in is the field of political science. And so for me to be sharing my views and influencing people of who I think they should be voting for ... I think would be very irresponsible on my part. So I’ll just keep my mouth shut on that.”
He further suggests that political candidates might be better off to avoid close connections to those in the entertainment business.
“I think celebrity endorsements hurt politicians,” he said. “Because as soon as somebody comes out for a politician, especially in Hollywood, when they all go, ‘I’m voting for this guy!’—I go, ‘That’s not who I’m voting for!’ ... As soon as Oprah Winfrey pops up and goes ‘Ha-la-la-la-la,’ I’m like, ‘I love Barrack Obama. I hate Oprah Winfrey.’ ” He adds, “I don’t hate her. I just don’t believe in her, so I don’t want any part of any of that. I think celebrities hurt politicians.”
Kid Rock was saluted as “a patriot” on the Aug. 28, 2008, episode of Fox News pundit’s Bill O’Reilly’s “O’Reilly Factor” show for just these kinds of sentiments:
The O’Reilly Factor on FoxNews.com:
Pinheads & Patriots
The pop star Kid Rock seems to be a man who knows his limitations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KID ROCK, SINGER: Let me tell you what I’m good at. I’m good at writing songs and singing. What I’m not educated in is the field of political science. As soon as someone comes out for a politician, especially in Hollywood, and says, “I’m voting for this guy, I’m voting for this guy,” that’s who I’m not voting for.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
For bringing a little common sense to the celebrity political arena, Kid Rock is a patriot.
But wait! Wasn’t that Kid Rock who was slated to perform on Aug. 4, 2008, at the Sturgis Rally at Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, S.D.—an event also attended by GOP presidential nominee John McCain?
The Huffington Post:
The town of Sturgis, South Dakota will witness, on Monday, the rare fusion of drunken debauchery, public stripteasing, motorcycle rallying, a live performance by Kid Rock, and—last but not least—a veterans-themed speech by presidential candidate John McCain. Seriously.
On Sunday, the McCain campaign announced that the Senator will participate in the Sturgis Rally 2008 at Buffalo Chip in South Dakota, an annual tribute to American veterans. The event is up the Arizona Republican’s wheelhouse, attracting thousands of active duty and former servicemen, many who have a natural affinity towards the Senator.