Notes and queries

Coming from John Fogerty and the Credence Clearwater Revival, “Fortunate Son” is a song with a point that had undeniable power in 1968. Fogerty himself was from the other side of the tracks in Berkeley, California, and when he sang the song he poured himself into it.
Today’s AP story on the Kerry campaign’s use of the “Fortunate Son” theme against President Bush is of interest. The story observes that the Kerry campaign is “painting an unflattering portrait of President Bush as the ‘fortunate son’ who used family connections to dodge the Vietnam War and then lied about it.”
It strikes me that there are a few problems with the theme under present circumstances. “Fortunate Son” is a Vietnam-era protest song; the song bears on Kerry’s antiwar activities at least as much as on President Bush’s service in the Air National Guard. I doubt that the song or the theme plays to Kerry’s strength or Bush’s weakness. Moreover, given Bush’s performance as president over his term in office, the theme is vacuous.
In a political context the “Fortunate Son” theme depends on a kind of class resentment that generally fails to resonate with average Americans. Does it ring the bell coming from an obvious patrician like John Kerry? Or as a gibe against a regular guy like President Bush?
Last question. Am I the only one who is prompted by the theme of unearned bounty in “Fortunate Son” to consider John Kerry the “Fortunate Husband”?


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