Way back in 2008 (not that long, I know), Kid Rock promised us all he wouldn’t be getting political, and even chastised music entertainers who got into endorsing candidates and playing music for free for them at small political rallies.
He said, “I truly believe that people like myself, who are in a position of entertainers in the limelight, should keep their mouth shut on politics. Because at the end of the day, I’m good at writing songs and singing. What I’m not educated in is the field of political science. And so for me to be sharing my views and influencing people of who I think they should be voting for … I think would be very irresponsible on my part.”
He went on to say, “I think celebrity endorsements hurt politicians. As soon as somebody comes out for a politician, especially in Hollywood, when they all go, ‘I’m voting for this guy!’ I go, ‘That’s not who I’m voting for!'”
Well this week Mitt Romney managed to seal the endorsement of the 42-year-old performer, who didn’t speak but rather played the song Born Free to a “crowd of hundreds” at the Royal Oak Music Center in Royal Oak, Michigan.
The genesis of the endorsement began on Monday when the former Massachusetts governor literally drove out to the singer’s home to personally woo him. According to a campaign aide, the meeting lasted for about an hour, as they discussed Michigan, Detroit, and supporting the troops.
“He’d written down some questions for me,” Romney said. “He said first of all, he said, ‘Mitt, if you’re elected president, will you help me help the state of Michigan?’ And I said I would.”
Mr. Romney then spotted his opportunity to strike a deal.
“I turned to him, and I said, ‘By the way, given the fact that I’m willing to do those things, will you come here and perform a concert tonight for my friends?”
The next day, Kid Rock emailed him to say he was in.
From a business perspective, it should be noted this endorsement doesn’t bring Kid Rock much beyond a bunch of press, as Romney’s appeal in Michigan was not all that high to begin with. Here’s a Romney rally in Detroit:
Mitt Romney “unveiled” his economic plan — again — to about 1,200 members of the Detroit Economic Club this afternoon.
For a speech about taxes, that’s a pretty good turnout. So good, in fact that the campaign had to find a bigger venue.
Their solution? Ford Field Stadium, the 65,000-seat football arena.
For comparative purposes, here’s a portion of a capacity Ron Paul crowd at a Michigan State University auditorium which seats four thousand:
UPDATE: The internet provided a better panoramic pic. Thanks internet.
Of course, we can’t leave out Newt Gingrich Or Rick Santorum in our crowd-hunting exercise. Just kidding, yes we can.™
I would be more than willing to bet cold hard cash that Kid Rock will lose more than gain in ticket sales over this decision. But let’s face it, Kid Rock hasn’t exactly been the smartest manager of his fame and wealth. One example is his brand of beer — Badass American Lager — which was panned quite badly by enthusiasts. One is to wonder if he ever bothered to taste it himself and figured his fans would drink it up without a second thought, or if maybe his taste is terrible.
My verdict is that Kid Rock should have listened to Kid Rock 2008. Had he left his finger in the political winds a little longer before settling on Romney, or asked the troops he plays benefits for who they would like him to endorse, he might have eventually found out they actually support Paul overwhelmingly.