For My Next Song, I'd Life to Play a Little Number About Energy Independence From Foreigners, and It Goes Something Like This…(Worst Song Ever Candidate Edition)


If you're like me or any real American, when you get an email with a subject line that reads "Newt and Aarton [sic] Tippin team up to do a song about drilling," you drop your baby, even one with special needs, and click straight through like Sherman marching across Georgia.

The message was sent by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich's group American Solutions for Winning the Future, an outgrowth (tumor?) of Newt's older group, Winning the Future. The page in question contains the lyrics to the Aaron Tippin song "Drill Here, Drill Now," and it goes something like this:

Hello…..Is anybody out there listenin' in Washington D.C.
This is the suffering voice of America crying out for relief
Now I don't know what a gallon of gas costs up on Capitol Hill
But we sure know what it costs down here in Realityville
And the damage already done has been a mighty heavy toll
And if we're gonna fix it we gotta start right here at home

Drill here, drill now
How 'bout some oil from our own soil that belongs to us anyhow
No more debatin' we're tired of waitin' everybody shout out loud
Drill here, drill now

Every time a foreign tanker pulls up to our shore
They got us over a barrel while they bleed us a little more
And think how much it costs just to bring it all that way
And how many American jobs that'd make if we were drillin' in the USA
Oh and God forbid if our oily friends should decide to cut us off
We'd be standin' around with our britches down now listen to me ya'll


Well the winds of change are blowin'
Yes and we recognize that need
But tractors, trucks, cars and planes can't run on tomorrow's dreams
So while we're workin' on the future we can't ignore today
Cuz who knows how much time the alternative might take
Somethin's gotta be done right now cuz friends it won't be long
Before this great big country comes grinding to a halt

A free preview of the song is available here (though the whole ditty costs 99 cents, which I'd rather spend on A-rab gas, to be frank). I think it is safe to say that if "Drill Here, Drill Now" had been around back in the 1990s, and had been used instead of "Achy-Breaky Heart" in the Waco standoff, the Branch Davidians might have actually surrendered.

And I say that as a free-trader who doesn't reflexively dismiss songs about energy independence. Indeed, one of my all-time fave albums is Bob Dylan's Slow Train Coming, released during an earlier oil shortage (and end-of-times moment), whose title track avers:

All that foreign oil controlling American soil,
Look around you, it's just bound to make you embarrassed.
Sheiks walkin' around like kings, wearing fancy jewels and nose rings,
Deciding America's future from Amsterdam and to Paris
And there's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend.

For whatever reason, pumping gas bought on a world market from our "oily friends" is a part of "Realityville" that just doesn't pluck my banjo, or make me embarrassed, or conjure up images of my "britches" falling down. And while I'm foursquare behind domestic energy production if it makes economic sense, I just can't get behind (or spare a dollar on) message songs that really suck.

Especially when Charlie Daniels' classic anti-Iranian hostage crisis is still free and covers enough ground to apply to the whole Middle East still (Arabs, Persians, I'm guessing it's not too important a distinction for the genre):

For the first searing glimpse into the dark, hardened heart of Arab hypocrisy toward the West (and transistor radios), repair to Ray Stevens' "Ahab the Arab."