Last week, when it was revealed that Mitt Romney's VP pick, Paul Ryan, was a Rage Against the Machine fan, many were left scratching their heads. After all, weren't the majority of his political views — and pleated khakis — in direct opposition to the band's smash-the-system ethos?
Well, as it turns out, it wasn't just political pundits who were confused — you can count Rage guitarist Tom Morello in that camp, too, a fact he points out in a new op-ed piece for Rolling Stone, in which he calls Ryan "the embodiment of the Machine our music Rages against."
"Charles Manson loved the Beatles, but didn't understand them. Chris Christie loves Bruce Springsteen but doesn't understand him. And Paul Ryan is clueless about his favorite band, Rage Against the Machine," Morello writes. "Ryan claims that he likes Rage's sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don't care for Paul Ryan's sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision for shifting revenue more radically to the 1 percent is antithetical to the message of Rage."
Morello jokingly ponders which Rage songs Ryan blasts on his iPod ("Is it the one where we condemn the genocide of Native Americans?" he asks. "So many excellent choices to jam out to at Young Republican meetings!") then takes him to task for a variety of his political stances, including votes to eliminate federal funding for Planned Parenthood and opposition to same-sex marriage and the DREAM Act.
"I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta 'rage' in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor," he writes. "Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for political contributions."
And while Morello admits that "Rage's music affects people in different ways," he believes "Ryan was moshing when he should have been listening." And he closes his op-ed piece by floating the theory that perhaps some of the band's viewpoints have rubbed off on the VP nom and, if elected, he'll help usher in tremendous social change. Perhaps.
"My hope is that maybe Paul Ryan is a mole. Maybe Rage did plant some sensible ideas in this extreme fringe right-wing nut job," Morello writes. "Maybe if elected, he'll pardon Leonard Peltier. Maybe he'll throw U.S. military support behind the Zapatistas. Maybe he'll fill Guantanamo Bay with the corporate criminals that are funding his campaign ... but I'm not betting [on] it."
What do you think of Tom Morello's response to news that Paul Ryan was a Rage fan? Share your thoughts in the comments.