Lady Gaga has been failing at selling albums lately. A story in the New York Post lays out the dark things happening with Gaga and her insiders, one of them referring to feeling like they are living a scene from Spinal Tap.
It occurred to me that the decisions being made by the current leadership concerning the direction of the Republican Party sort of make us feel like that too.
In "What happened to Lady Gaga?" Maureen Callahan compares the rise and fall of Gaga with the Showtime series "Homeland." But, because of what we see happening in our "show business for ugly people" world of politics, her downward trajectory is analogous to the danger signs we see happening with the Republican Party.
The article points to Gaga's effort to be a star simply by acting like one. She offered, "I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be - and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth." But now, Gaga has taken such a downward turn, she has admitted to The Guardian, "People think I'm finished."
Gaga's message, at face value, is a good one. People should strive to become anything they want to be. Dream, then work toward your dream. But you know, the point is, you have to work for it, and Gaga is caught up with the star part. Right now, the messaging of the Republican Party tacitly avoids the hard work of explaining their position to the people, and can't figure out why they are failing.
A record label executive gave a great explanation for the reason Gaga is sinking: "Artists have a lot of help on their first albums, and they're open to a lot of help, and they are very smart collaborators and make great work."
That is sort of like 2010 was for the Republicans. All sorts of people wanted to see them win, people loosely called the "tea party," and they all helped toward that goal, believed in candidates who promised to see to it that Obama's agenda would be blunted when the Congress was filled with Republicans.
The label executive goes on, "Time and again, they feel like they could have done it themselves, and if they had done it their way, it would have been even bigger," he says. "So they jettison the people who helped them get where they are and hire people who are less powerful, who let them do what they want. I think that may be where Lady Gaga is." Bingo.
It didn't even take until after the election of 2010 for the likes of Karl Rove to jettison the tea party. He went to television to damage candidates who promised not to let leadership do what they want. The purging of conservatives and now loudly denouncing the "tea partiers," to the press and their donors, Boehner and McConnell perhaps think they'll sell their "music" to a pissed off public who gave resounding "Applause" to them in 2010, but now who see them as outrageous and crazy to continue to spend and ignore the laws of economics.
Elton John perhaps gave the best quote in this article, on how to help Gaga, and it works as well for the purposes of my analogy about the Republican leadership.
"I'd like to be able to talk to her right now, but I can't get through to her," he said. "And there are times when you have to listen. When your persona begins to take over your music and becomes more important. . . [when] you have people around you who don't question you, you're in a dangerous place."
We would like to talk to them right now, but they are rejecting us, and it only took three years, and a major election. There are times when you have to listen, alright, and the leadership will not listen, and are instead content to give us orders. Think of that. America was founded with a truly original thought process, unknown to any other nation. You are the sovereign. You decide elections. You have a representative, and can affect outcomes of legislation and so on. But the ugly parade wants us to step aside, because the people around them, who do not question them, think we want their jobs. What a monstrous joke. No, we want this to work the way it's supposed to.
The term "tea party" has become so hated. But, really, it's just regular people who, to put it as a friend of mine has, "have come out of their gardens" to get involved in politics. They have essentially traded a loved hobby or pastime for the ugly, angry, nasty political world. We're Americans who understand through experience what is good policy and what is bad policy.
Why do we have to enter politics? Because the public servants we have elected now believe they did it themselves and that they are our rulers. When everything is upside down, regular down-to-earth Americans are compelled to step in, and they are willing to pledge, as the final words of the Declaration of Independence announce "with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
The longtime record label executive and producer gave one more quote about Gaga, "If her goal is to be more outrageous than she was before - I don't know that she can surpass it. What she can do? Write a great song."
Now, a lot of people might express disgust at my intermingling of Lady Gaga with conservative politics, and some might just outright dislike her and miss the meaning of my analogy. But Gaga has real talent. If you have never heard her sing with Tony Bennett in the duet, "The Lady is a Tramp" you might not know that her singing voice is really, very good. I would love to hear her sing really great songs about life, if she used her singing voice rather than being obnoxious and outlandish, and it would sell albums to a wider audience.
In their quest to reach a wider audience, the leadership of the Republican Party has decided to abandon their talent, and that is what the tea party types truly want them to get back to. Uniting as a party as Reagan did, the social, fiscal and defense conservatives, would stop the infighting. But instead, jockeying for position has taken over, because the three-legged stool has been abandoned, to become more outrageous on spending than they have been before, and less interested in fighting for the civil society with a strong moral compass. All they have left is defense, and the flak they get from some libertarian isolationists have them thinking the entire tea party hates the military.
They are out of touch, and will not listen. You know, Elton John has offered to Gaga a terrific thing; a concern for her deep enough to try to help her and get through to her, to save her from herself. That expression of love is heartfelt.
It's too bad that right now, the leadership of the Republican Party won't listen.