How to Be a Political Rock Star (And How Not To)

Some politicians are often compared to rock stars. Dennis Kucinich is not one of them.

But you wouldn’t know it after seeing him onstage at this weekend’s Ani DiFranco concert in Boston. (Or, rather, seeing the video .) He took the mic for a few minutes between songs to describe a world without nuclear weapons and to ask the audience to “join us in New Hampshire.” Ani later praised him for being, of all things, “so incredibly electable.” When he finally left the stage, it was to the screams of adoring fans. The audience would probably have been throwing brassieres, had they been wearing them.

Contrast that with John Edwards’ appearance at a John Cougar Mellencamp concert over the weekend. (Video here .) After crooning a few verses of “Small Town,” Mellencamp interrupted the song to bring out Edwards. According to this account , cheers quickly turned to boos and chants of “Refund, refund.” Edwards kept smiling but soon retreated—”You didn’t come to listen to me”—and left Mellencamp to explain that Edwards was actually “a pretty fun guy.” Add that to the rave reviews.

If there’s a lesson here, it’s that politicians and musicians don’t mix. Best-case scenario, you don’t come off as a total fool. Worst case, you get laughed off stage, a la Edwards, or you have Donnie McClurkin using your stage for a pulpit, a la Obama. Best to pick your theme music and stick with it—even if it’s Celine Dion .