McCain Loses Again | NBC Southern California

McCain Loses Again

McCain, Republicans apologize for using song by Jackson Browne

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Score one for musicians' rights, and negative one million for poor old John McCain.

    You might have thought that Senator John McCain's best, most losingest days were long behind him, now that the presidential campaign is over -- but you'd be wrong.

    On Tuesday he once again submitted to glorious defeat before the eyes of the nation, this time at the hands of a liberal musician from the 70s who did not appreciate his song being used in a campaign commercial.

    Jackson Browne, whom many will recall was considered something of a looker 35 years ago (and who also wrote a song or two at some point), sued Senator McCain, the Republican National Committee, and the Ohio Republican Party for using "Running on Empty" in a short-lived Web ad that was probably viewed by literally dozens of McCain fans.

    That lawsuit has now been settled. Nobody knows the financial terms, but McCain and the national and Ohio Republicans all released a statement apologizing for using Browne's song without permission and vowing never to do such a terrible thing again.

    This is quite a victory for musical artists, who saw many of their finest works co-opted by base and venal politicians during the 2008 political season. For example, Sam Moore had to ask Barack Obama to quit using his sacred chorale "Soul Man" without permission. And John McCain appropriated material from everyone from Heart to John Mellencamp. None of this was very cool, since you could be forgiven for assuming those artists actually supported the candidates who were playing their songs.

    It will not be a bad thing if political candidates have to obtain explicit permission from artists before using their music in a promotional fashion. Unfortunately, because 99.99 percent of musicians are insufferable liberals, this means that conservative candidates will be stuck playing Ted Nugent songs forever.

    Rock critic Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette.