The Speaker’s Lobby: Overture

By: Chad Pergram, FOX News

06 July 2009

It doesn’t matter if you’re a New York Yankees fan or not. True baseball fans know the moment.

It’s the top of the ninth at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx Bombers cling to a one-run lead. And everyone in the park knows what’s next.

It starts with a low, deliberate guitar riff over the loudspeakers. The music thickens. That’s followed by layers of guitar. Bass piles on as the beat quickens. The music pulses for a moment, building tension. Then the crescendo explodes into one of the best-known guitar licks of all time.

It’s Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” And the Yankees’ Mariano Rivera trots in from the bullpen. Woe to the visiting club. Rivera is often unhittable. Many consider him to be the best closer in baseball history. It’s lights out. Sweet dreams. Off to never, never land.

And “Enter Sandman” is one of the most fabulous athlete theme songs in sports.

Other big leaguers boast signature tunes. For years, reliever Trevor Hoffman inflicted fear on the opposition when they summoned him to the mound for the San Diego Padres. The team would cue up AC/DC’s “Hells Bells.” The Philadelphia Phillies played “Wild Thing” by the Troggs when Mitch Williams entered the game. Known for his erratic control, “Wild Thing” was Williams’ nickname.

So there’s no reason that politicians can’t have theme songs of their own.

I’m not Kasey Kasem. But for a moment, I’ll morph into “DJ Jazzy Chad” and spin some tongue-in-cheek songs that could make good “entrance music” for some of the country’s biggest political stars.

Sen.-designate Al Franken (D-MN): “The Waiting” by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), nominated by President Obama to become Army Secretary: “In the Army Now.”

Sen. Roland Burris (D-IL): “Right Place, Wrong Time” By Dr. John.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR): Blumenauer is a bike enthusiast, and frequently bikes to the Capitol. He often sports a bicycle pin on his suit jackets. This selection is easy: “Bicycle” by Queen.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH): Boehner is perhaps the biggest smoker on Capitol Hill. So we’ll play “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” by The Platters.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA): The California Democrat recently implored Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh of the Army Corps of Engineers to call her “senator” rather than “ma’am” when addressing her at a June Senate hearing. Boxer’s music? “My Name Is” by Eminem.

Reps. Steve Israel (D-NY) and Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY): This duo shares a song because of their own political circumstances. Both were primed to challenge Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY) in next year’s Democratic primary. But the White House intervened and sidelined them both. President Obama phoned Israel and persuaded him not to run. Meantime, Vice President Biden quashed McCarthy’s bid. Let’s try “Shot Down in Flames” by AC/DC.

Newly-minted Democratic Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania: “Break On Through (To the Other Side)” by the Doors.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R): There are several possibilities for the soon-to-be former governor. It depends on whether you’re a Palin supporter or not. Palin backers might choose “Don’t You Forget About Me” by Simple Minds or Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing.” Anti-Palin voices might opt for “Disappear” by Metallica or Motley Crue’s “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away).”

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV): After news of his extra-marital affair, we’ll go with Journey’s “Faithfully.”

Sen. David Vitter (R-LA): Vitter’s name showed up on the phone records of the DC Madam during a probe of her call ring. We’ll pick the Beatles’ “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.”

2008 Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (D-NC): Edwards is another  politician caught up in an affair. Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” seems natural.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R): Where to start? Let’s begin with his trip to Argentina. Sanford’s office initially said the governor was hiking the Appalachian Trail and was off the grid for a few days. Some might vote for Chicago’s “Hard to Say I’m Sorry” for that part of the scandal. That tune contains the lyric “everybody needs a little time away…”

Then news broke that Sanford winged his way to Argentina to visit paramour Maria Belen Chapur.” It would be easy to go with “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from Evita. But I prefer another Broadway show tune: “Maria” from “West Side Story.”

We shouldn’t forget a few former House members who actually did or are still serving time for criminal transgressions. Former Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH) spent 17 months in jail after pleading guilty to a conspiracy charge and filing false financial disclosure forms. Former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA) is now serving an eight-year sentence for accepting nearly $2.5 million in bribes. For Ney and Cunningham, we pick a favorite of Beavis and Butthead: Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law.”

Former Rep. Bill Jefferson (D-LA), now on trial for allegedly trying to peddle influence. During a raid of his New Orleans home, the FBI famously unearthed $90,000 in cash from Jefferson’s freezer. Our pick: “Ice, Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice.

Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA): Cao upset Jefferson in last year’s general election. A Republican, Cao represents heavily Democratic New Orleans. And he’s the only GOPer currently representing a majority African American district. Democrats immediately placed Cao at the top of their target list for the 2010 election. Democrats might suggest Cao’s theme should be “All I Need Is a Miracle” by Mike and the Mechanics.

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) both had trouble with tax issues. Geithner survived his scandal and the Senate confirmed him for his cabinet post. Daschle withdrew his name for Health and Human Services Secretary. We’ll go with “Taxman” by the Beatles.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is known for deploying salty language on colleagues and reporters alike. A good fit for Emanuel might be Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me.”

We could even concoct themes for entities now in the political sphere. For AIG: “It’s a Scandal, It’s an Outrage” from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!”

Finally, no list would be complete without House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Questions consumed the Speaker this spring after she accused the CIA of lying about interrogation methods. Democrats defended the Speaker, saying the spy agency wasn’t up front with her. Republicans seized on Pelosi’s comments and demanded she cough up proof that the CIA wasn’t straight with her. But Pelosi says has full confidence in the intelligence community.

So, depending on your political perspective, here are two hits for the Speaker: “Would I Lie to You?” by Eurythmics and “Misled” by Kool and the Gang.

– Chad Pergram covers Congress for FOX News. He’s earned an Edward R. Murrow Award and the Joan Barone Award for his reporting on Capitol Hill.