UPDATE: Springsteen plays 4 songs, fires up 18,000 at Obama rally in Madison
I don't think it was a good idea for Springsteen to play the theme song of John Kerry's failed campaign, "No Surrender."
Compare this photo from the Obama rally to the photo from the Kerry rally:
Forward, Wisconsin! twitter.com/BarackObama/st…— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) November 5, 2012
The difference is striking.
Obama will be in Madison on Monday. Bruce Springsteen will be there to help Obama draw a crowd.
Springsteen is doing a repeat performance of sorts. He joined John Kerry on the stump in Madison on October 28, 2004, before a crowd estimated at 80,000.
CommonDreams.org described it this way:
Springsteen, who is traveling with the Kerry campaign for the last five days of the election drive, opened his two-song set with "Promised Land." In the song, he urges people to "blow away the lies that leave you nothing but lost and broken hearted."Good grief.
Then he spoke directly to the audience. "I've been writing songs about America for thirty year, about what America stands for, and what America fights for," he said. "The essential ideas of America's identity are what is at stake November 2."
He praised Kerry for honoring America's ideals, for addressing issues of economic justice, health care, civil rights, the environment, for advocating "a sane and responsible foreign policy," and for "safeguarding our precious democracy."
He said Kerry has "an adult view" of our place in the world and "understands that we are not infallible." He said Kerry has helped America face its "hard truths" and find a "deeper patriotism" and will "make our world a better and a safer place."
Springsteen invoked the name of Paul Wellstone, mentioning that the late Senator from Minnesota had a saying, "The future is for the passionate." To that, Springsteen added: "Well, the future is now, and let your passions loose. The country we carry in our hearts is waiting."
He ended with Kerry's anthem, "No Retreat, No Surrender," which contains the line, "I want to sleep underneath peaceful skies."
After the song, Kerry bounded onto the stage and clasped Springsteen's hand and praised him for singing about real people. "The people he sings about," said Kerry, "are the people we need to fight for and have representation for in the White House."
Then Kerry cracked a joke: "When George Bush heard the Boss was going to be with me today, he thought I was talking about Dick Cheney."
Of course, Kerry lost to George W. Bush. He won Wisconsin, but lost the election.
The crowd of 80,000 was impressive, but, in the long run, meaningless.
Crowd size in Madison today at the Obama rally may be impressive, too. But a crowd in Madison doesn't translate into victory.
That much we know.