I Don't Like Jesus Freaks/ I Don't Like Circus Geeks


The great GOP consultant David All, inaugurating his new project TechRepublican:

[A]s a Republican, I'm proud to have John Cummings in our Party. You may know John as Johnny Ramone, of one of the best bands of all time, the Ramones. The Ramones are largely regarded as being the first punk rock band and they happen to be Republicans. In fact, Johnny Ramone was quoted in 2004 as saying, "I send money to the [Republican National Committee] and to Bush/Cheney. I will argue politics with people all day long. I am one of the few Republicans out here."

As Atrios pointed out—and he was not alone among the blogosphere's many rakish wits—Johnny Ramone died in 2004. He died about a week after the Republican National Convention, actually. This outdated Johnny quote evokes two things—the decline of political rock and the even-steeper decline of the Republican brand.

Hard to remember now, but four, five, six years ago it was reasonable to believe that conservatism and the GOP would have some kind of claim on youth culture. This was one way of explaining the paucity of anti-war rock in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, but it was more useful as a way of explaining polls showing the GOP, George W. Bush, and ideas like Social Security privatization soaring with young voters. One of my first Reason articles tackled a book by Danny Goldberg (the rock promoter who later took on Air America Radio) that creaked with bitterness about how his rock star friends were excited about defeating the right but, damn it, why weren't those young folks?

Long story short, the conservative movement pissed this all away with the Iraq War and the GOP's hard right tack on social issues (think FMA). John Tierney explained it all in his column from Reason's Amsterdam conference. If you want more evidence, check out the GOPunk website and notice that it consists of a definition of the term and a link to that most hardcore of punk acts, the Right Brothers.

NEXT: Rant: Not Ready for Sub-Prime Players

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  1. Hard to remember now, but four, five, six years ago it was reasonable to believe that conservatism and the GOP would have some kind of claim on youth culture.

    Still is.

  2. The Joey Ramone was a diehard Republican. Also, I noticed how, true to punk fashion, the GOPunk website misspelled “lout music.”

  3. bonzo goes to bitburg and he’ll stop for a cup of tea
    as i watch him on tv somehow it really bothered me
    drank at all the finest bars in town for an extended foreign policy

  4. Sorry, that was redundant. I should have said that the Misfits are a Republican band.

  5. Johnny may have been a Repub, but I don’t think Joey and Dee Dee were, were they?

  6. Hey, the GOP still has Ted Nugent and Gene Simmons. The kids like them, don’t they?

  7. Shoot, I had trouble remembering that four, five, six years ago.

    I’m not going to deny that the Iraq War is to blame for a great deal of the Republicans’ collapse – obviously, it is – but it’s worth poiting out that their decline looks even more dramatic because it started from such an artificially high point, the immediate aftermath of September 11 and the initial phase of the Afghan War. Suffice to say, quite a bit of the “youth culture” appeal of the GOP would have dissipated even without the Iraq Debacle.

  8. Joey Ramone was a liberal. He dissed Reagan. A lot.

    Murphy’s Law, on the other hand, were Republicans. At least Jimmy Gestapo was.

  9. “Hey, the GOP still has Ted Nugent and Gene Simmons. The kids like them, don’t they?”

    The thought-lives of kids extend well beyond music, dearie. Polls show clear trending towards conservatism.

  10. Ramones Republicans?
    Not true… yes, Johnny was a Republican but the other band members did not share his political views.
    Joey Ramone, for one, was on the left politically and was active in liberal causes.

    As an aside, I should add that Johnny and Joey did not speak to one another for years. They really could not stand one another. Joey wrote the song “The KKK took my baby away” about Johnny’s relationship with his x-girlfriend.

  11. I saw Jimmy G shave his head on stage a the Vic!

    I also saw him almost start a fight with the bouncers at Medusa’s. After the show, I heard him saying to a fellow punk, “I wasn’t worried – I’ve got my .38 in the trailer.”

    Good times.

    Arf! Arf! Arf!

  12. Joey was a liberal. I think he supported Nader in 2000. Johnny was a republican, going way back. Dee Dee seemed largely apolitical. Not sure what Tommy’s views were. Marky wears a toupee, so he is not to be trusted

  13. Yeah, I blew it with the Ramones thing. I read all the links, but not the freakin’ article itself. Sorry.

  14. And the article I linked to clearly is about Johnny. That post is an absolute mess, disregard it.

  15. One day, instead of railing against the establishment, a rock star said, “This establishment guy is better than that establishment guy.” Rock and roll forever lost its credibility that day.

  16. Re: GOPunk.com – the only link is to the Right Brothers.

    And not only must you love lout music, you must also love the Constitution. Very punk rock.

  17. This is sooooo completely wrong. The way it’s supposed to work is that conservatives like good classical, interesting early music, and sucky country acts. Liberals get rock and roll, obnoxious atonal symphonies, and good country acts. Everyone shares jazz and Cole Porter-type Broadway standards. That is how it was when I was a kid, and that is how it should stay. I mean, conservative rock music is like seeing your mother drunk or your most-regretted college date sworn into Congress.

  18. In fact, the only true Republican punk act was (and is) Sandler and Young.

  19. That Right Brothers video is the musical equivalent of The Portrait of Dorian Gray: the more Bush screws up, the more that song sucks.

  20. The notion of punks as anything other than meatheaded anarchists is just…wrong.

  21. ChrisO,

    I think that means it’s very punk rock for a punk rocker to be anything other than a meatheaded anarchist.

  22. “Hey, the GOP still has Ted Nugent and Gene Simmons”

    And Mike Love

  23. My friend Dave is a punk rock star, at least in some circles, and he is the most die-hard neocon I know.

    My tendency was always to assume that punks who promoted the Republican party were goofing around. Remember Reagan Youth?

  24. Must be said: Ramones Suck.

  25. Have the Rolling Stones killed.

  26. mk,

    Dish. Who’s your friend Dave?
    If I’m not familiar with him, I’ll ask the King of Metal about him. (The King works at Punk Planet.) Not that I doubt you, I just am not as hip to punk rock as I was before all the crappy punk got on the airwaves. Too much crap to sift through to get to the good stuff.

  27. highnumber,
    Dave S. from Down By Law, Dag Nasty, All and a couple of others going way back (DYS?)

  28. No need to ask The King. I am familiar. I had the first All album, but I never owned any Dag Nasty.
    What’s he up to now, musicwise?

  29. Dave S., if I’m guessing the last name, was sort of the inventor of emo and maybe screamo. Awesome talent. You really gotta want to listen to punk rock to listen to that guy wail. (“We used to be like brothers, but now…” – that line was like Bro Hymn before Bro Hymn was a song).

  30. Grandma Milly wrote: “Hey, the GOP still has Ted Nugent and Gene Simmons. The kids like them, don’t they?”

    “The thought-lives of kids extend well beyond music, dearie. Polls show clear trending towards conservatism.”

    Ummm…. Sure, right, yes, they are all about stoning gay people and all that…. WTF? Maybe they are not Marxists, but most young people demonstrate the usual mix of fuzzy-bunny leftism, distrust of The Man, and generally greater tolerance for a wider version of hide the sausage as is the march of progress…

    O.K. 20.2% of young people are misguided, devoted followers of Mythical Jesus….. hardly the exemplars of youth culture

  31. High#,

    I think he just put out something under the name “The Sharpshooters”, a band he had put together a few years ago. But I think he has pretty much retired.

  32. Lamar,
    Yeah, that’s him. He was a pioneer in “earnest” punk.
    He really is like that. He’s one of those guys who will say “How ya doing?” to you and actually want to know. It can be a bit unsettling to a jaded person like me.

  33. Most of all, I thank Reagan for inspiring five straight years of groundbreaking American hardcore. All Bush could provoke was a collection of lame music videos, each filled with the same transparent anti-war cliches.

  34. Old Bush inspired “NWO” and “Hero.”

    That’s gotta count for something.

  35. Due to all the great punk rock they inspired, I think Reagan and Thatcher were really shills for big DIY.

  36. i want to know who inspired “over the shoulder” and hug them.


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