The Grand Old Party – historic home of distinguished and respected elected officials like Abraham Lincoln, Dwight David Eisenhower, George Herbert Walker Bush and … Kid Rock?
Born Robert James Ritchie, recording artist Kid Rock grew up in the Detroit metro area and has sold millions of albums with his style of rap, rock and country.
Along the way, he’s had some wild times – performing songs too dirty to be broadcast over the airwaves, making sex tapes, getting involved with the law over brawls and alcohol-related incidents. He was even married to actress Pamela Anderson for a short period.
And now he’s exploring a run for the U.S Senate as a Republican from Michigan. Is this the sort of person that Republicans from the home state of Gov. George Romney (Mitt’s dad) and President Gerald Ford should want to represent them?
Well, yeah, why not?
For one thing, it wouldn’t be the first time the GOP has supported a celebrity who’d never held office. This trend goes back at least to 1964, when California voters elected song-and-dance musical star George Murphy to the U.S. Senate. Two years later, actor Ronald Reagan was elected California’s governor before going on to the White House
Then there was actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who became governor of California in 2003. Other California celebrities who served in elective office were actor Clint Eastwood as mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea and singer Sonny Bono as a member of the U.S House of Representatives. Fred Grandy, who played Gopher on TV’s “The Love Boat,” represented Iowa in the House.
The biggest example of all, though, is Donald Trump. Well-known as a TV star, he went straight to the White House. So there’s no question the trend is still with us.
And Kid Rock has proved his Republican bona fides. In interviews over the years, he’s spoken in favor of Republican ideas, often from populist and libertarian standpoints He publicly endorsed Mitt Romney and performed at the 2012 Republican National Convention. In 2016 he supported Donald Trump.
Indeed, you could argue that Kid Rock has been more consistently pro-Republican than Donald Trump. He’s also been involved with charities his voters would support, such as Operation Homefront, which helps military families.
Then there’s the question of whether Kid Rock’s past will haunt him. Seems doubtful. Some candidates have skeletons in their closet. Not Kid Rock – his skeletons are out there for everyone to see. Heck, he sings about them.
It may not be the past that people are worried about. It’s the future. Will Kid Rock be a reliable Republican once in office? Admittedly, that’s where the party would be taking a chance.
The point is that while nobody knows what sort of Republican senator Kid Rock would be, we do know that Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who’s defending her seat, would be a reliable Democrat.
Stabenow is running for her fourth term. It won’t be easy to beat her. But Kid Rock has high name recognition.
The Detroit News reported Tuesday that a new poll showed “Kid Rock leads the potential field of Republican candidates for the U.S Senate” and said he was “within striking distance” of Stabenow in a hypothetical general election match-up. Stabenow held a 50-42 percent lead over Kid Rock in the early poll, but polls conducted so long before an election are unreliable predictors of election outcomes.
The GOP holds a thin lead in the Senate, and midterm elections can be hard on the president’s party. But in 2018 there are a handful of states where the GOP might make pick up a seat. Michigan, which Trump won in a close race, is one of them.
So if Kid Rock is serious (he says he is, though you never know with rock stars) and runs, Republican voters should take him seriously. The singer of “American Bad Ass” may be a maverick, but a pickup’s a pickup.
It would make sense for the GOP to take a chance with Kid Rock. As for fellow Michigan Republican rocker Ted Nugent – known as the Motor City Madman – well, that would be a different story.
Steve Kurtz is a producer for the Fox News Channel, and author of "Steve’s America (the perfect gift for people named Steve)".