Megadeth rocker Dave Mustaine raised a few collective eyebrows this week when he endorsed former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's bourgeoning presidential bid. The former Pennsylvania senator has been gaining steam as of late after prevailing in a trio of February contests, including Missouri's non-binding primary.
After noting to musicradar.com that he hopes "whatever is in the White House next year is a Republican," Mustaine listed off the negatives of the last candidates standing in the GOP field. He expressed concern about how former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney made so much money and called former House Speaker Newt Gingrich an "angry little man." He also voiced some skepticism about some of U.S. Rep. Ron Paul's political positions.
Then Mustaine got around to Santorum:
"Earlier in the election, I was completely oblivious as to who Rick Santorum was, but when the dude went home to be with his daughter when she was sick, that was very commendable. Also, just watching how he hasn't gotten into doing these horrible, horrible attack ads like Mitt Romney's done against Newt Gingrich, and then the volume at which Newt has gone back at Romney... You know, I think Santorum has some presidential qualities, and I'm hoping that if it does come down to it, we'll see a Republican in the White House... and that it's Rick Santorum."
Although Slate writer Dave Weigel says that "Mustaine is one of the most outspokenly conservative men in metal," it could be argued that Megadeth is one of the more challenging bands utilizing political messaging. For instance, try to interpret the message behind "Peace Sells" without experiencing a little confusion. And it should also be noted that Mustaine hasn't always been complementary of Republicans.
In any case, Mustaine may be the first musician of note to endorse Santorum, but he isn't the first to weigh in on this year's crop of candidates Here's a sampling of the politicians other musicians are backing during the 2012 presidential contest.
Gene Simmons (Mitt Romney) The KISS bassist has tended to be more right-leaning than some his rock peers, especially on the topic of Israel. Although he says he voted for Obama "last minute," Simmons told FOX News in January that he's backing the former Massachusetts governor's presidential bid.
Kid Rock (Mitt Romney - sort of) While Kid Rock probably can't be counted as an active presidential endorser, he did allow Romney to use the song "Born Free" as a campaign anthem.
"I said he could use it and I would say the same for any other candidate," Kid Rock said in a statement. "I have to have a little faith that every candidate feels like he or she can help this country. Without faith, we got nothing."
Kelly Clarkson (Ron Paul) The American Idol caused something of a stir late last year when she Tweeted that she "loved" Ron Paul.
Although she got some solidarity from fellow singer Michelle Branch, Clarkson received a torrent of criticism. Her endorsement coincided with an increased focus on controversial newsletters linked to Paul.
Joe Perry (Ron Paul) After Tweeting that Obama "hasn't done anything close to what he promised he'd do," Aerosmith's guitarist expressed his support for Paul's campaign.
"Media is trying to crush Paul. It's so transparent," Perry Tweeted. "They will smear him every chance, beware! Get your news from lot of different sources."
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