Ha ha ha. What a character! The wise Latin! The voice of a terrified clam!
I hate to sound like one of Mr. Jackson’s records, constantly repeating the same refrain, but I recommend that we not approve this letter. Sometimes people need to be reminded of the obvious: whatever its status as a cultural phenomenon, the Jackson concert tour is a massive commercial undertaking. The tour will do quite well financially by coming to Washington, and there is no need for the President to applaud such enlightened self-interest. Frankly, I find the obsequious attitude of some members of the White House staff toward Mr. Jackson’s attendants, and the fawning posture they would have the President of the United States adopt, more than a little embarrassing.A newcomer who goes by the name "Prince." Yeah, don't want the Prez bowing down to bogus royalty.
It is also important to consider the precedent that would be set by such a letter. In today’s Post there were already reports that some youngsters were turning away from Mr. Jackson in favor of a newcomer who goes by the name “Prince,” and is apparently planning a Washington concert. Will he receive a Presidential letter? How will we decide which performers do and which do not?
And I love the resistance to ad hoc decisionmaking and the demand for neutral rules of general applicability. Put that man on the Supreme Court!
Equal justice under law.
And still more Roberts vox clamans in the White House:
I recommend that no such letter be sent. The Jackson tour, whatever stature it may have attained as a cultural phenomenon, is a massive commercial undertaking. The visit of the tour to Washington was not an eleemosynary gesture; it was a calculated commercial decision that does not warrant gratitude from our Nation’s Chief Executive. Such a letter would also create a bad precedent, as other popular performers would either expect or demand similar treatment. Why, for example, was no letter sent to Mr. Bruce Springsteen, whose patriotic tour recently visited the area? Finally, the President, in my view, has done quite enough in the way of thanking and congratulating the Jacksons, and anything more would begin to look like unbecoming fawning.Patriotic? I see the dawn's early light of a non-neutral rule.
Undoubtedly, Roberts was thinking of the song "Born in the U.S.A.," which was popular at the time. Yet a close reading of the text — as opposed to an empathetic response to the sound of the repetitious refrain — would show that it's not at all patriotic, something conservatives seem to have had a hell of a time figuring out:
[T]he widely-read conservative columnist George Will, after attending a show, published on September 13, 1984 a piece entitled "A Yankee Doodle Springsteen" in which he praised Springsteen as an exemplar of classic American values. He wrote: "I have not got a clue about Springsteen's politics, if any, but flags get waved at his concerts while he sings songs about hard times. He is no whiner, and the recitation of closed factories and other problems always seems punctuated by a grand, cheerful affirmation: 'Born in the U.S.A.!'" The 1984 presidential campaign was in full stride at the time, and Will had connections to President Ronald Reagan's re-election organization. Will thought that Springsteen might endorse Reagan, and got the notion pushed up to high-level Reagan advisor Michael Deaver's office. Those staffers made inquiries to Springsteen's management which were politely rebuffed.Just picture Ronnie and Nancy out riding through mansions of glory in suicide machines, chrome-wheeled, fuel injected and stepping out over the line. Did you know Washington, D.C. rips the bones from your back? Well, I guess it does!
Nevertheless, on September 19, 1984, at a campaign stop in Hammonton, New Jersey, Reagan added the following to his usual stump speech:"America's future rests in a thousand dreams inside your hearts; it rests in the message of hope in songs so many young Americans admire: New Jersey's own Bruce Springsteen. And helping you make those dreams come true is what this job of mine is all about."The campaign press immediately expressed skepticism that Reagan knew anything about Springsteen, and asked what his favorite Springsteen song was; "Born to Run" was the tardy response from staffers.
By the way, Michael Jackson and John Roberts were/are both Hoosiers. I love Hoosiers. Nobody has to be ashamed of being a Hoosier:
"Hoosiers do all right. Lowe and I have been around the world twice, and everywhere we went we found Hoosiers in charge of everything.... Lincoln was a Hoosier, too. He grew up in Spencer County.... I don't know what it is about Hoosiers... but they've sure got something. If somebody was to make a list, they'd be amazed... We Hoosiers got to stick together... Whenever I meet a young Hoosier, I tell them, 'You call me Mom.'"