Indie acts

I’ve said it before, and will keep saying it until the DNC starts running ads quoting me: Like all indie acts, John McCain’s early work was better.

This ad is a good start:

But here’s the thing:

  1. John McCain’s maverickness was an act. It was never genuine.
  2. Indie acts sell out to corporate interests and start putting out crap.
  3. Their audiences abandon them, replaced by fickle fans who can be swayed by radio play.
  4. John McCain has sold out.
  5. The Republican brand is so tarnished that there are no fickle fans left for it to draw in.

It’s possible to say that his early work on campaign finance reform sounded good, but it hasn’t held up. His vaunted independence turned to crap pretty fast once all that oil money was on the line. He sold out, and his early fans, like all indie fans, are contractually obligated to hate him and all he does henceforth.

Indie acts sell out for a reason. There’s more money in being a corporate shill than in being an independent voice doing what you know to be right. Usually, at least. Radiohead seems to be doing OK, and other indie artists are finding that they can leave their labels and keep their fans. And Barack Obama has found a way to raise tons of money from small individual contributions without pandering to lobbyists. But McCain can’t do that, and has to make a choice.

When an indie act goes corporate, they make the decision that their tiny, fanatical base of supporters are worth less than the audience they can reach if they tone it down, start sounding like everyone else, and abandon their integrity. They can make up for originality and integrity with a better promotional budget. Selling a million crappy albums will earn them more than selling a thousand great ones, so that’s what they do.

That’s been McCain’s calculus. He’s picking up every nonsensical Republican slogan, and brought in Karl Rove and as much of the Bush team as he could get to run his show. He’s dredging up all the hateful nonsense we’ve gotten used to in the last 8 years, the same hateful tactics which destroyed him in 2000. He sold out, and his fans should be pissed at him. His hope is to bring in more new fans than he loses, but there’s not a giant pool of people desperate for another 4 years of the same horror they’ve seen for the last 8. Like the other IndyMac, McCain is in deep trouble.

Disillusioned IndieMac fans don’t have to come to Obama if that’s not their thing. Bob Barr isn’t likely to go mainstream on his fans at this point, and seems to have assembled a nice little combo. Sure, voting for Barr might make it more likely that Obama wins, but this isn’t about winning, it’s about the music.


  1. #1 Art
    August 8, 2008

    Yes, I think you have nailed McCain’s indie act down quite well.

    I also like his story line, and the implied competencies he assigns himself:

    He claims to be a “commander”. But exactly what has he commanded? Pretty much last in his class, rumored to only have made it through the Naval Academy because he was a legacy and so artificially kept from being allowed to fail outright, his command experience was in a single-seat jet. Not exactly a testament to his leadership or command abilities with large groups in my book. And not entirely not without irony, pretty much the same ‘command’ experience W had. Look where ‘flight-suit-boy’ got us. Why is it that ‘more of the same’, ‘four more years’, doesn’t spark my enthusiasm?

    He also claims to know ‘how to win wars’. What war has he won? I know he fought in Vietnam but didn’t we lose that one? Maybe I haven’t been keeping up with current events, so maybe McCain slipped in a war I wasn’t aware of, could someone please tell me what war it was that he fought in and won.

    Certainly he wouldn’t exaggerate his capabilities or, perish the thought, lie. Would he?

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