As a party that seems stunningly out of touch with the diverse and rapidly changing demographics of this great and grand country of ours, the GOP continues to operate in ways that solidify their brand as narrow, stodgy, intolerant, and clueless about modern culture. This would extend, it seems, to the people with whom they choose to affiliate, right down to those they ask to entertain at their conventions.
For example, anyone who knows or pays a modicum of attention to the performer known as Lady Gaga, knows she is devoted to her wildly diverse fan base (lovingly called her “Little Monsters”) and takes a very high-profile and proactive stand on gay rights. Juxtapose this against a political party known to be largely and loudly anti-gay when it comes to issues such as the Defense of Marriage Act, Proposition 8, even the happily retired “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military, and it should come as no surprise that when the organizers of last summer’s Republican National Convention invited the Lady to sing for their Convention, she said, “no.” She declined a $1 million payday because, considering the passion of her fight for equality, nothing could be more wrong than singing for the right.
From the Washington Examiner:
The snub by the pop star is included in a lawsuit filed by a powerful Republican nonprofit fundraising organization, American Action Network, against a vendor whose job was to stage entertainment just outside the doors to the GOP’s convention in August.
Documents filed with the lawsuit show that other entertainers also said “no thanks” to appearing at the GOP convention including Dolly Parton and the rapper Pitbull, who Republicans hoped to feature at an event for the Hispanic Leadership Network.
Many entertainers, including Journey and Lynyrd Skynyrd, agreed to perform at the convention, but Lady Gaga’s offer was the most lucrative, according to an email sent last summer by AAN’s director of development, Pete Meachum.
Which, for anyone who holds political convictions or admires a person who can reject money for the sake of principle, raises the estimation of a certain Lady. In fact, more than the million was dangled; lawsuit documents include correspondence between Meachum and Rob Jennings, head of Cater America (which was involved with planning RNC events) that details other enticements waved in front of the iconic entertainer:
Meachum, who is a former aide to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and is now chief of staff for Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., wanted Lady Gaga to perform on Monday, Aug. 27, the evening of the convention’s first official day.
“Also, tell them that $150,000 will go towards a domestic violence shelter,” Meachum further instructed Jennings in an effort to make the offer harder for Lady Gaga to refuse. [Source]
She refused. This, no doubt, frustrated the efforts of the organizers to “hip up” the proceedings. They did, however, get Journey and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
But even so… the lawsuit filed by American Action Network against Rob Jennings and Cater America is an effort to recover $350,000 lost when the Lynyrd Skynyrd concert, scheduled for the night Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency due to Hurricane Isaac, was canceled. Cater America is countersuing, based on their contention that AAN reneged on a deal to pay Journey $500,000 to play the final night of the convention, as well as for other disagreements and expenses accrued over the length event.
Given the state of affairs with Lady Gaga’s rejection and this mess with Skynyrd and Journey, it seems clear that mixing Republicans and rock and roll is not a good idea. But we’ll let the lawyers work all that out.
As for the Little Monsters? They’re pretty impressed that their idol had the courage of her convictions. It’s not everyone who’ll walk away from a million dollars for the sake of principle. But they’d tell you they knew all along she’s someone standing on the “Edge of Glory.”