Poor Paul Ryan. His erstwhile idols are turning on him at an alarming rate.
First, earlier this week, the Ayn Rand Institute’s president, Yaron Brook, said he thought Ryan was a fiscal moderate, not an Ayn Ryan disciple. Yes, Ryan and Rand had a falling-out this year, but — what’s the point of breaking up with someone who won’t admit to seeing you in the first place?
And now Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine (Ryan has publicly stated his approval for the music, if not the lyrics, of the band) has penned a scathing diatribe against Ryan in Rolling Stone, calling him “the embodiment of the machine that our music has been raging against for two decades.” Ouch.
One of the occupational hazards of being a conservative politician is that periodically, bands you are fond of will denounce you. If you try to spice up your rallies with a few dulcet strains of “Panic Switch,” expect an angry letter demanding that you desist. It is just the way things go.
So what’s a music-loving conservative to do? You can’t very well spend your whole life listening to Pat Boone. That would be unbearable. You would rupture something. But show the slightest inclination to the even marginally hip, and suddenly everyone’s recoiling from your touch, no matter how reputely impressive your abs.
No, if you did not limit your idolization to actual Founding Fathers (who routinely show up at Justice Antonin Scalia’s place to barbecue, have a beer and discuss What They Really Meant By Everything) you are bound to be a little disappointed by the fact that none of your idols wants to hang out with you later in life. If you dream of fraternizing with the stars, it’s country music or nothing, and when it comes to celebrities you have to resort to such desperate measures as pretending to be really excited at the arrival of Jon Voight.
Of course, the bands would argue, it cuts both ways. Nothing like being known as the favorite artist of the wonk in the sensible button-down with a deep and abiding zeal for budget cuts to really sell your anti-establishment message to the kids. The establishment’s best vengeance against the rebellious rockers is to publicize their enjoyment. It is hard to crack an unwelcome association. As any parent can tell you, the best way to poison the well against the Terrible Music Kids Seem To Enjoy is to start enthusiastically listening to it yourself.