It turns out rock-rap musician Robert James Ritchie, better known as Kid Rock, wants to be more than a cowboy, baby. The self-proclaimed “American Bad Ass” announced this week that he plans to run for a Senate seat in his home state of Michigan in 2018.
The 47-year-old hinted at his intention to run for Democratic Rep. Debbie Stabenow’s seat via Twitter on Wednesday following months of speculation about his political ambitions.
There’s still some speculation that Rock’s announcement is a stunt– but in a statement Thursday, Rock sought to confirm that he’s serious.
Once again the press is wrong. First of all, I’ve got 15 days from my announcement to file paperwork with the FEC! Second, I’m not signed to Warner Bros!!! – which simple fact-checking would have revealed. I have recently worked out a unique deal with BMG, Broken Bow, CAA and Live Nation to release music ON MY TERMS. Like politicians write books during their campaigns, I’m planning on putting out music during mine and IT ALL STARTS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT. It’s not a hoax, it’s a strategy and marketing 101! No plans for an album or anything else that has been the usual norm in the music business OR politics…..and…..
Senator Stabenow and I do share a love of music, although probably not the same kind. I concede she is better at playing politics than I am so I’ll keep doing what I do best, which is being a voice for tax paying, hardworking AMERICANS and letting politicians like her know that We the People are sick and tired of their bullshit!
Rock has frequently spoken out on conservative issues over the past several years and, along with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and fellow rocker Ted Nugent, visited the Trump White House shortly after the president’s inauguration.
Here’s how he described his political leanings to The Guardian back in 2015:
I am definitely a Republican on fiscal issues and the military, but I lean to the middle on social issues. I am no fan of abortion, but it’s not up to a man to tell a woman what to do. As an ordained minister I don’t look forward to marrying gay people, but I’m not opposed to it.I am definitely a Republican on fiscal issues and the military, but I lean to the middle on social issues. I am no fan of abortion, but it’s not up to a man to tell a woman what to do. As an ordained minister I don’t look forward to marrying gay people, but I’m not opposed to it.
During the 2012 presidential election, Rock endorsed GOP candidate Mitt Romney and the campaign used the musician’s “Born Free” as its theme song throughout the race.
It’s actually a pretty catchy tune.
Rock performed at President Obama’s inauguration four years earlier despite disagreeing with the president’s policies.
“There was an exciting sense of change in the air,” he would later tell The Guardian.
” That promise hasn’t been fulfilled,” he added. “The country is more divided than ever.”
Still, during the highly divisive 2012 election Rock joined leftist actor Sean Penn to produce an independent public service film reminding Americans that our differences are what make the nation great.
“We are millions of unique, individual parts, the sum of which comprise a whole that is the shining beacon of freedom throughout the world,” a description of the film said.
And in 2014, rock joined maverick journalist Charlie LeDuff for a 4th of July special to talk politics, Detroit’s downfall and who’s really responsible for leaving everyday Americans behind.
Why am I telling you all of this? Here’s the buried lede…
Despite Rock’s obvious interest in politics, love of country and desire to do his part in steering the nation toward a better future in whatever capacity he can, coastal elites are already calling his apparent decision to run for office a sign of a terrifying new normal in U.S. politics.
In fact, that’s pretty much the headline of a New Yorker column out this week, wherein Columbia alum and Brooklynite music journalist Amanda Petrusich examines Rock’s lyrics before comparing him politically to Trump.
Rock’s lyrics, in case you haven’t heard them, are sometimes pretty vulgar. Over the years he’s sung about booze, and women, and all manner of lowbrow excess. But as he’s matured, so has his music. In any case, someone’s listening to the stuff– he’s been nominated five times for Grammy Awards and has managed to sell upwards of 25 million records.
Here’s what Petrusich had to say about the musician’s politics:
It is psychically exhausting trying to reconcile the moral engine of Ritchie’s ideology—for example, I cannot think of a major religious text that promotes the overuse of booze or promiscuity, two pastimes Ritchie has ridden hard for—but he has nonetheless branded himself as a kind of pious bedlamite, busting up vintage televisions to insure the ongoing liberation of American men.
Now it’s almost too easy to compare Ritchie to Trump—both have considerable (and dubious) celebrity but no political experience. Both enjoy golf, are prone to hysterical braggadocio, and pander to the religious right while having previously indulged in a hedonistic life style. (Ritchie was once featured in a leaked sex tape alongside Scott Stapp, the singer of Creed, and four women.) But, mostly, each is advancing a strange and aggressive vision of America, in which bluster and bullying are high virtues, while patience and grace are mocked. Both claim an allegiance to rural, working-class Americans, while simultaneously advancing rhetoric (or legislation) that will only further wound the poor.
Is political experience really what serves Americans best in Washington? Lawmakers in the Senate have, on average, spent about ten years in Washington (the longest serving among them have been there for more than three decades). A vast majority of them were involved in politics before that, having taken the usual path from Bar Exam to ballot box. We have our share of polished politicians, with all their skeletons hidden and skilled in the art of political doublespeak.
Trump’s unpolished nature is abhorrent to elites who believe our government ought to consist of folks skilled in the art of being political. They can’t fathom a politician who speaks freely and is unconcerned with how his remarks will be taken by the press. Telling it as he sees it and calling out people who make accusations against him becomes “bluster and bullying” and a lack of “patience and grace.”
Trump and Rock appeal politically to a massive swath of Americans who no longer give a damn about politicians who can look and act the part. For a long time, they remained a silent majority and listened unquestioningly to elitist musings that this candidate is un-electable and that one is certain to win. For a long, time they voted accordingly. Nobody wants to support a definite loser (except principled Libertarians).
And for a long time, that elitist thinking trickled all the way down to the lowliest of elected offices. How many Americans who could have made a difference in their communities never ran for town council, mayor or statehouse because that’s something for other, more polished, more accomplished, more politically correct people?
Something’s changing in America. But for those living outside the bubbles where elitism still has a chokehold on individual thought, it isn’t terrifying at all. If anything, it’s an opportunity. Tired of the way all those lawyers and revolving government officials are running things in your neck of the woods? Run for office.
If they tell you that you can’t win because your opponent is too entrenched and politically connected, ask them if they know what Hillary Clinton is up to these days.