Fooled Again


John J. Miller's National Review list of the "50 Best Conservative Songs" is getting the kind of attention usually reserved for a Rolling Stone anniversary issue or a round of coitus at the Clintons' house. But the list gets off to a bumpy start with The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again," which Miller pegs as "oath that swears off naive idealism once and for all." It's never been clear that this is what Pete Townsend was writing about. People have claimed the song is really an anti-war anthem, which is more likely than the Ballad of David Horowitz interpreted by Miller. Still, Republicans have glommed onto WGFA more than any other rock song, as remembered here by disgraced pundit Ben Domenech.

I'll never forget sitting in the First Union Center in Philadelphia for the 2000 GOP Convention, listening in between speakers as the Latin-themed canned music that played in the auditorium came to an abrupt, drum-crashing stop. The speakers suddenly started blasting Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow," [sic] that horrid theme The Bill used during his dual campaigns. My mouth dropped in shock. Delegates started booing. What idiot had picked this music?

As the song hit the chorus, the track skipped, blipped, and Stevie Nicks screeched to a grinding halt…replaced by the patented Roger Daltrey shriek and the crunching Pete Townshend riff of "Won't Get Fooled Again." Images of Gore came to mind: "Meet the new boss/same as the old boss."

The hall erupted in applause, and I started laughing hysterically.

Hysterical laughter, of course, is the natural reaction to any situation involving Ben Domenech. Hysteria or depression is probably a better reaction to the idea that Republicans heard a guy sing "meet the new boss/same as the old boss" and thought of Al Gore before George W. Bush.