Dave on Demand: Dave on Demand: Rockin' conservative at the convention

Gov. Christie delivering the GOP's keynote address last week against a backdrop simulating a 1973 Bruce Springsteen album cover.
Gov. Christie delivering the GOP's keynote address last week against a backdrop simulating a 1973 Bruce Springsteen album cover. (SPENCER PLATT / Getty Images)
Posted: September 01, 2012

Who says the Republicans throw a conservative party? There was nothing conventional about Tampa.

Did you ever think you'd hear both the GOP presidential and vice presidential candidates use the bully pulpit to brag about their iPod playlists?

I'm firmly convinced that "What's on your playlist?" will become the next political litmus test. All candidates will be asked to release the last two years of their iTunes Store purchases.

When Tuesday night led off with the Oak Ridge Boys singing "Amazing Grace," I worried that the convention was going to be duller than a church social.

But it was flashier than a VH1 special, with pop-culture references and hit tunes sprouting like Romney grandchildren when the balloons dropped.

Who would have thought Ohio Gov. John Kasich was a Black Eyed Peas fan? He took to the stage to "I Gotta Feeling" and declared, "You know, you know, I don't know about you, I don't about you, but I've got a feeling, you know I gotta feeling." Get down with your bad self, Governor.

Republican convert Artur Davis, who gave the funniest speech of the conclave, quoted not Goethe but Gotye.

For his speech, Gov. Christie had the stage decorated to look like the cover of Bruce Springsteen's Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J. album.

And was I imagining it or did Christie open with a mumbled, Elvisian, "Thank you. Thank you verr much."

Some of the jokes were too hip for the hall. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty jabbed, "The president takes more vacations than the guy on the bizarre foods show." That didn't register with me, and I write about television.

Mike Huckabee went on at some length about his close personal friendship with Bono. It's said that Huckabee knows the bass lines to all of U2's songs, just in case Adam Clayton ever goes down.

The party's handsome prince, Paul Ryan, came out to a rocking theme: Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back in Town." Bold choice.

He then proudly revealed to the assembled masses the headbanging range of his musical tastes: "from AC/DC to Zeppelin." If he wins, does this mean Metallica will play the Inaugural Ball?

Did you see the tears running down the face of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as Ryan spoke? I think it was just that he was so darn proud to find a fellow Cheesehead who is a Def Leppard fan.

The musical highlight had to be Taylor Hicks, sharply attired in a gray suit, performing the Doobie Brothers' "Takin' It to the Streets" in prime time.

However sweet Hicks' harp chops, the Republicans may come to rue his inclusion. Hicks is known as the guy who killed American Idol. Ratings for the show have been tumbling downhill ever since he won Season Five. The man's a jinx.

On the big night came the capstone: an honest-to-goodness Republican movie star not named Charlton.

With the silhouette of his spaghetti-western gunman projected on the big curtain, Clint Eastwood sauntered out.

Did anyone but me think he was going to go full on Dirty Harry when he opened with the phrase: "I know what you're thinking."

Because the character in his career-defining role followed that with: " 'Did he fire six shots, or only five?' Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well do ya, punk?"

Now that would make a great stump speech.


Contact David Hiltbrand

at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com,

or follow on Twitter @daveondemand_tv.

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