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In the Loop

It's Time for Dems to Face the Music

By Al Kamen
Wednesday, December 15, 2004; Page A31

And now, the winners of the In the Loop Name That Tune Contest. This was to give the battered and bewildered Democrats a new theme song for 2008. The entries, from Botswana to Santa Monica, reflected varied psychological responses to the Dems' latest electoral drubbing: anger, despair, fear and loathing, and so forth, along with a flight response and then grim determination.

Winners also looked to developing songs as part of a strategy to woo key groups the Democrats think they need to bring into the fold if they are to have any shot at winning -- especially religious people, gun lovers, married women, white men and others.

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The winners, in no particular order:

" Jesus Is Just Alright With Me," by the Doobie Brothers. First in with this one was a Democratic consultant who requested anonymity. The Democrats could sing this upbeat tune, holding hands aloft, swaying, on the floor of their national convention in, say, Memphis or Raleigh, N.C., or St. Louis.

"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard," by Paul Simon. This submitted by Robert Dalton, a lawyer in the Justice Department's criminal division, who explains: "Democrats partner with the National Education Association to sway Latino Voters." Dalton also suggested the Beatles' "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" to show "liberals move to the right on the issue of same-sex marriage," or, depending on the nominee, Elton John's "The Bitch Is Back."

"One of Us," by Joan Osborne, also known as "What If God Was One of Us," was suggested by retired foreign service officer Maria E. McGrath of San Mateo, Calif. Less up-tempo than the Doobies, but perhaps better suited to the Kumbaya Democrats. Unclear if a celestial party-registration switch would be required.

"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," by Frank Loesser. An anonymous State Department employee suggested this one to appeal to the National Rifle Association, religious folks and rural voters.

"Lawyers, Guns and Money," by Warren Zevon, can be an anthem, fundraising tool or cry for help -- lyrics: "Send lawyers, guns and money, the [expletive] has hit the fan." First submitted by John Carney, a computer engineer from Rochester, Mich.

Theme songs to reflect the Dems' despair were:

"I Wanna Be Sedated," by the Ramones, first suggested by Suzanne Shelton, who's in public relations in Skokie, Ill. "Because how else will we survive the next four years?" Excellent new lyrics for this song, submitted by Peter Bonner, who works in the general counsel's office at the Department of Agriculture.

"Comfortably Numb," by Pink Floyd. Scott Weidner of San Francisco figures "it's the emotional state that Democrats need to have if they're going to stay sane for the next four years."

"It's the End of the World as We Know It," by R.E.M., first submitted by Kirk W. Johnson, editor of American Amnesia, a foreign policy blog with an emphasis on the Middle East.

"Ah, piu non ragiono!" from Verdi's "Rigoletto" was submitted by prior winner Manuel Smith, a retired Education Department employee from Silver Spring. It means "I can't reason anymore," a sensation probably afflicting many shell-shocked Democrats.

"Road to Nowhere," by the Talking Heads. Suggested by Nicky Nuxoll, a Veterans Affairs physician here. "Now that the Republicans have established their firm majority, the only place the Dems can go is nowhere." That's because, as many noted, they're "Running on Empty," by Jackson Browne, as in bereft of ideas.

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