KE Cellars

Election 2012: From Motown to Jay-Z.

Listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, November 9, 2012.

I have now voted in eleven presidential elections and my record is six and five, a half game above .500. Which is to say I have lost nearly as many presidential elections as I have won. So why am I so upset about losing this one?

Seventy two hours on, I think I have it figured it out.

At President Obama’s last campaign rally in Ohio the rapper Jay-Z was the headline entertainer. He performed a hit of his called, “99 Problems.” Google the lyrics to “99 Problems” and you will find that the words bitch, hoe, the “F” word, the “N” word and “GD” appear a combined total of 13 times. That word count makes “99 Problems” one of the milder selections in the Jay-Z repertoire. Try “Big Pimpin'” to see what I mean.

Jay-Z is the stage name for Shawn Corey Carter. He is a huge act. Worldwide, he has sold more than 50 million albums. In addition to being a recording artist, he is a record producer and event promoter. He is a part owner in the Brooklyn Nets NBA basketball team, a publisher of video games, a co-brand director for Budweiser Select beer and the owner of a line of branded clothing. His net worth is estimated at $450 million and he is a force to be reckoned with in the music industry.

Much of Jay-Z’s work, like much in the rap and hip-hop genre, is blatantly and aggressively misogynistic. Simply put, Jay-Z has become wealthy recording songs that objectify women in the crudest possible way. The words referencing women used by Jay-Z make Rush Limbaugh’s unfortunate characterization of Sandra Fluke look like the small talk in the lobby at Lincoln Center. Yet those who grooved to Jay-Z at Obama’s campaign rally see absolutely no inconsistency in accusing Mitt Romney and the Republicans of waging a ‘war on women.’ And therein lies a major reason that Mitt Romney lost Tuesday’s election.

Let me explain.

Save for having seen him with President Obama and save for the research I have done on him for this piece, I know nothing of Jay-Z. He is not even remotely near my orbit.

My African-American music industry titan is Berry Gordy, Jr. Berry Gordy is the man that brought us Motown.

Common decency precludes me sharing the lyrics to Jay-Z’s songs with you. But Motown I can quote all day.

“Baby I need your lovin’, got to have all your lovin’.” – The Four Tops
“If you look closer it’s easy to trace, the tracks of my tears.” – Smokey Robinson
“You can’t hurry love, no you can’t hurry love.” —  The Supremes
“Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, baby. Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.” – Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell
“I guess you’d say, what can make me feel this way? My girl.” – The Temptations

With the benefit of hindsight, I’m now able to see that Mitt Romney’s electoral problem was hiding in plain sight at the political conventions in September, both of which I attended. In Tampa, the Republicans for the most part looked like Motown listeners. In Charlotte, the Democrats looked more like fans of Jay-Z.

A slow shift has taken place and like all such shifts, it happened unnoticed until we couldn’t help but notice. Little by little, the lyrics, melodies and superb musicianship of Motown has given way to the culturally bankrupt, beat-driven rap of Jay-Z. Not fertile territory for Mitt Romney’s promotion of virtues like thrift, hard work and personal responsibility.

The reason Mitt Romney lost the election is very simple.

Democrats and Republicans at one time shared a common belief in industry, ethics and individual responsibility just as they shared a common affinity for Motown.

Today, we’re divided into producers and takers, Motowners and Jay-Z’ers. And the Jay-Z’ers now outnumber the Motowners by just enough.

Thus my anguish over this election. It arises because I can’t help believing that something great is slipping from our grasp, never to be gotten back.


  1. The pall that I have felt since tuesday night is similar in nature to, though thankfully not as intense as, having lost a family member. I still have hope that all is not lost in terms of the societal contract that I as a boomer have enjoyed for the last several decades, but I am mourning the loss of that missing loved one, and I wonder if and how she can be revived.

  2. Ken Smith says:

    Good Illustration. What gets me is the blatant hypocrisy of the Left. In one breath the Republican party is racist, and in the next Clarence Thomas is an Uncle Tom. George Bush is irresponsible and unpatriotic for $500 B in debt yet Obama racks up $1 T annual deficits. What we have is a reflection of current society. The government is the parents and the people are the children. Like many parents today they make up for lack of good parenting by pacification. Children don’t like to be told no. One parent says no so they go to the other who says yes. I fear that this is now so far gone that when the parents have to put their foot down we will have a full fledged tantrum on our hands just like Greece.

  3. Jean Florey says:

    You are right on the money!

  4. Well guess what you are right about one thing… there is no turning back. President Obama is in office and there for another damn 4 years. And if I remember the song “99 Problems” was by a white person first… Get over it.. Racism is not a good look.

  5. So if he was white and had Jay Z what would be the problem then I am so sick of people trying to make undercover racial comments about who won the election just get over the color of a persons skins and lets make this country a better place to live and work together all skin colors all races of people this is no longer back in the slavery days so get over it already

  6. Either way it goes we have another 4 years with him.. People voted Bush in for 2 terms thinking that he was going to create a magic story over night and we all see where that got us in the long run… Either way he doesn’t call the shots as it is so deal with and if a republican is what people think should be in the position vote again in 4 years…

  7. America the melting pot has turned into a cesspool.

  8. C M Solomon says:

    Here are some interesting Federal cash flow facts.

    IRS data for 2009 (latest) concerning Federal Individual Income Tax (FIT) Revenue and Adjusted Gross Income (AGI):

    1/2 of FIT filers pay no FIT tax after deductions and credits.

    The Top 5% (AGI > $154,643) pay 59% of FIT collected (but earn 32% of the AGI.)

    The Top 50% (AGI > $32,396) pay 98% of FIT collected (but earn 86.5% of the total AGI.)

    The Bottom 50% pay 2% of FIT collected (but earn 13.5% of the total AGI.)

    2011 Federal Revenues from all sources: $2.3 trillion

    2011 Federal Individual Income Tax (FIT) Revenue: $1 Trillion

    2011 Federal and State Welfare payments: $1 trillion (3/4th was federal and do not include Medicare or Social Security which are not considered welfare.)

    Sources for the above are contained within charts starting with:
    http://www.heritage.org/federalbudget/top10-percent-income-earners
    And NRO Article;
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/330821/total-welfare-spending-now-1-trillion-nro-staff#

    Conclusions:

    1) The Welfare payments and income subsidies (80+ programs) are consuming most of the Federal Income Taxes paid by the top 50% of taxpayers making an Adjusted Gross Income greater than $32,396.
    2) The problems we face today are there because the people who work for a living are now outnumbered by those who vote for a living.” – Anonymous
    3) Aren’t we the conquered souls of a bloodless revolution (stretched over the last 80 years) in which the radical Socialists-Marxists have won permanent control of the country since most tax payers are finally outnumbered by welfare recipients and those that pay little or no Federal Income Tax?
    4) Has the Marxist utopia of a society based on collectivism and social justice dogma reached critical mass, now? Aren’t tax payers (by force of law and threat of jail if they don’t comply) now supporting tax revenue takers.
    5) Aren’t four more years of unlimited growth in the entitlement society as the so-called “poor” (including unlimited open border alien arrivals and amnesty for all in the formula) guaranteed to gain overwhelming voting power to assure Marxist domination for generations to come?

    National bankruptcy is not a deterrent to these despicable Marxists since they know that such an event will justify confiscation of any remaining personal wealth that exists. The OBAMA FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION of America that he promised in 2008 is at hand. Fear not. Obama will take care of you as ‘Social Justice” will become the de facto, law of the land. Good ‘ole American prosperity associated with the free enterprise system will become a foot note in future history books. RIP! to our beloved Constitution.

  9. A good & apt analogy.I think you are right

    If Mitt had one fallacy it might be that he NEVER called Obama on all ‘inaccuracies”; therefore they became ‘truths’.

    “An untruth stated long enough becomes the TRUTH”.Hitler

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