Besides budget books and briefing papers, required reading this week at the Maryland State House includes something a little different: an interview with Bruce Springsteen published in Rolling Stone magazine.
Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), a musician himself and a big fan of “The Boss,” distributed the article via e-mail on Monday morning, with a note from an aide saying he “wanted to share it with the Cabinet and agency heads.”
The Springsteen interview was conducted by Jon Stewart, a fellow New Jersey native and host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. But much of the exchange is quite serious, with Springsteen reflecting on both his music and the state of the nation.
Several passages from the interview are underlined or otherwise highlighted by O’Malley in the attachment to his e-mail, which was obtained by The Washington Post. The highlighted passages include this observation by Springsteen:
“Lately, it seems as if the polarization of the country has gotten so extreme that people want to force you into either being a phony ‘patriot’ or an ‘apologist.’ Nuanced political dialogue or creative expression seems like it’s been hamstrung by the decay of political speech and it’s infantilized our national discourse.”
Elsewhere, Springsteen contends that “you cannot have a social contract with the enormous income disparities — you’re going to slice the country right down the middle. Without jobs, without helping folks with foreclosures, without regulating the banks, without some sort of tax reform ... I don’t think the country is going to hold together.”
In another highlighted passage, Springsteen conveys to Stewart that “Death to My Hometown,” a track on his new album, “Wrecking Ball,” sounds like “an Irish rebel song.”
O’Malley is the front man of O’Malley’s March, a Celtic rock band that still performs — though less frequently since O’Malley first ran for governor in 2006.
Both as a musician and politician, O’Malley has continued to draw inspiration from Springsteen.
From time to time, O’Malley has quoted Springsteen lyrics in his political speeches. And a set list at a recent O’Malley’s March concert included a cover of “Reason to Believe,” a song off Springsteen’s 1982 album “Nebraska.”