Paul Ryan's Rage Against the Machine love is destined to be unrequited

Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello rallies against another Wisconsin Republican, Scott Walker, back in June.
Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello rallies against another Wisconsin Republican, Scott Walker, back in June.
Photo by Erik Hess (More shots here.)

See Also:
Rage Against The Machine: The Battle of Minneapolis, part deux
Brother Ali to join Tom Morello at rally to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Deep within a recent New York Times profile we discover that Mitt Romney's running mate Paul Ryan is a Rage Against the Machine fan. While the Wisconsin congressman is certainly entitled to enjoy Zach de la Rocha's fiery flow and Tom Morello's guitar pedal wizardry, they're not going to love him back.

Much like Ronald Reagan unintentionally invoking Bruce Springsteen's tale of an unemployed Vietnam vet, "Born in the U.S.A.," or John McCain trying to use outspoken liberal Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" campaigning, this is definitely not a harmonious political arrangement. It was only earlier this year that Morello rallied in Madison to recall Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, and four years ago that Rage Against the Machine ripped up the Twin Cities during the Republican National Convention.

Ryan was 22 and a fresh graduate of Miami University and working as a staff economist in the D.C. offices of Wisconsin Senator Bob Kasten during the release of Rage Against the Machine's self-titled debut in November of 1992. He also worked part-time as a fitness trainer, so perhaps he first heard de la Rocha yell "I warm my hands upon the flames of the flag" and "fuck manifest destiny" while doing curls in the gym.

Later, Paul Ryan was writing speeches for conservative non-profit Empower America and for Jack Kemp's 1996 run at the presidency. This was right about the time Rage issued its second album, Evil Empire. Its first single, "Bulls on Parade" remains one of the band's most recognized tunes. So much so, that they performed it a cappella during a protest connected to the Ripple Effect show staged in 2008 during the RNC here in the Twin Cities.

See Also:
RNC: Highlights from Day Two, including the canceled Rage show

And then, right about the time a 30-year-old Ryan was wrapping up his first term as a House rep and gearing up for a successful campaign, Rage dropped their "Testify" single and video. A condemnation of the oft-identical promises made by both Bush and Gore during that time period, the clip is an effective dressing down of the major parties' charades every four years.

And now, here we are as Ryan is freshly linked with Romney's bid to unseat incumbent Barack Obama as U.S. president. As New York Times notes, Ryan is the first Generation X vice-presidential candidate, and "counts Rage Against the Machine, which sings about the greed of oil companies and whose Web site praises the anti-corporate Occupy Wall Street movement, among his favorite bands." Spin finds he also likes a bunch of other bands that his fellow Republicans might find morally repugnant like Led Zeppelin, Grateful Dead, Metallica, Beethoven, and Hank Williams, Jr.

So, to anyone who tries to curb Ryan's music listening, this is him saying "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."

City Pages on Facebook | Gimme Noise on Facebook | Twitter | e-mail us

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >