Changes

The leading presidential candidates jump on the Bowie bandwagon by adopting new theme songs.

By Jim Knipfel

The worldwide outpouring of grief and dismay following the unexpected announcement earlier this week that David Bowie had died after an unadvertised 18-month battle with cancer was not lost on America’s current crop of presidential candidates. Eager to prove themselves hip and relevant and in touch with the masses, several candidates took the unprecedented step of changing their campaign theme songs in midstream, switching out the standard array of Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, James Brown and Neil Diamond for a Bowie-exclusive playlist.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the first to jump on the Dead Bowie bandwagon, announcing late Monday night his new official campaign song would be “Slip Away,” from Mr. Bowie’s Heathen album. As Christie explained, “It only makes sense, right? I mean listen, the damn song was about the Uncle Floyd Show, and you don’t get much more Jersey than that. You with me here? I mean, I’ve always considered Bowie an honorary Jerseyite anyway, and that Uncle Floyd song just cements it ... No, I’m serious about that, and no, it has nothing to do with my chances of snagging the nomination, so just shut the hell up.”

Libertarian candidate Rand Paul announced Tuesday morning his own campaign would be premiering “Space Oddity” at a rally in Iowa later this week. As Paul put it, “As a longtime advocate for drug legalization as well as a proud recreational heroin user, I think Bowie stated it more eloquently than anyone. Except maybe Lou Reed. I also like that whole ’space’ thing. But maybe I shouldn’t get started on the aliens again.”

On the other side of the fence, Bernie Sanders’ campaign has opted for “Quicksand.” When asked by one confused reporter why he would choose that particular song, Sanders reportedly replied, “Well that line ‘college comes with debt relief’ really struck a chord with me, since as president I would lead the charge for a serious overhaul of the federal student loan program. I mean, those who go to school and get a degree should receive some sort of help with their accrued debts afterward. Massive student loans are drowning millions of educated Americans in the, yes, quicksand of inescapable debt.” When the reporter, still a little confounded, told Sanders the line was actually “knowledge comes with death’s release,” Sanders retorted, “You see? That’s exactly what I’m talking about, here!”

Hillary Clinton likewise seemed to have a little trouble with her working knowledge of Bowie lyrics when she announced on Tuesday her campaign would be adopting “Life on Mars?” “When he sings, ‘look at those gay men go,’ I just have to nod my head and say ‘yes.’ Yes, look at them go. As a firm and unwavering supporter of LGBT rights, and with Bowie himself being bi, I believe it’s the perfect song to show my support.” no one bothered to correct her, though it’s rumored her campaign workers plan to substitute “Queen Bitch” for “Life on Mars?” at a few upcoming rallies, just to see if she’ll notice.

Now running a distant fourth among Republican voters, Ben Carson attempted to inject new life into his flagging campaign with a press release stating he would now be using Bowie’s “Panic in Detroit” at all upcoming stops. He offered no further explanation.

And finally Donald Trump, still surging in most polls, told a crowd in New Hampshire Wednesday, “I really loved that Dougie Bowie guy. I really did. Especially when he was doing that whole Zoogz Rift thing when he was all faggy like that. Didn’t like that crap about pretending to be an alien, though. He tried that shit today, I’d probably have him shot faster than you can spit. But back then? Smoke a little weed, put on some Dennis Bowie album like Zoogz and The Roach Motels or one of those, what could be better?” Few were surprised, then, to notice that Trump without warning had changed his campaign song to “The Man Who Sold the World.”

Published January 13th, 2016


Jim Knipfel is the author of Slackjaw, The Blow-Off, These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and several other books.