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A TBTS Good Idea™: Lou Dobbs and Aerosmith Together, Dreaming ‘til Their Dreams Come True

November 12, 2009

In a surprise revelation, longtime CNN anchor Lou Dobbs announced last night that he is leaving the network, effective immediately. Speculation has followed Dobbs for months that he would leave CNN and sign a lucrative deal with Fox News or Fox Business, cable networks which many observers consider better homes for Dobbs’ viewpoints on immigration and other issues.

I’m not sure it’s that simple in Dobbs’ case. First, in his farewell monologue during his final hour at CNN, Dobbs spoke of a wish to engage in “constructive problem-solving” and avoid the “partisanship and ideology” that define the great issues of our time in the public arena. To me, that sounds more like a man about to run for office than one about to jump ship from one network to another that is arguably driven by an even more distinct, narrowly defined worldview.

Second, Dobbs frequently flies the flag of populism and isn’t a pure ideologue on many issues. Earlier this decade, Dobbs wrote a book called Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed is Shipping American Jobs Overseas and even gave a lengthy interview to Bill Moyers on PBS’s progressive-leaning news magazine NOW. Scroll down about three quarters of the way on this transcript page, and be ready for Dobbs and Moyers to sound like old liberal chums, kicking around anti-corporate-globalization banter at a poli-sci faculty meeting or a Green Party convention.

These two points are meant to assert that it’s premature to assume that Dobbs is going to bolt CNN stage-right and head straight to Rupert Murdoch’s doorstep. Unless, of course, Dobbs is willing to minimize or abandon some of his real beliefs when faced with the lure of a big contract and big ratings. But a TV news pundit would never do that.

This is where I come in with my latest TBTS Good Idea,™ which actually meets two great needs in our current cultural milieu—Lou Dobbs needs a new job where he can speak “in the most honest and direct language possible,” and Aerosmith apparently needs a new lead singer. For at least three reasons, this is a match made in heaven.

1. Age. It would be truly embarrassing for Joe Perry and his octogenarian crew to hire a new lead singer a third of their age. They should hire a more age-appropriate frontman, someone who’s equally ready to replace “Love in an Elevator” on the set list with “Lovin’ My Ventilator.”

2. Noise. Of course, not just anyone can take Steven Tyler’s place at the front of the stage—it has to be someone with a big mouth. Dobbs has been a talking head for three decades and has built his own brand and identity as a “big mouth” over the years. I’ll even suggest that the new Dobbs-fronted Aerosmith launch a global trek called the “Talk This Way 2010” tour.

3. Message. As in the movie Bob Roberts, popular song forms can effectively be adapted to become vehicles for conveying political messages. Aerosmith’s watered-down version of British blues-rock and their latter-day forays into schlocky balladry have yielded dozens of instantly recognizable radio mainstays. Dobbs wants to reach more people and communicate more clearly and persuasively? Change up some Aerosmith classics, and take good advantage of that familiarity. I’d say that with a set list leading off with “Janie’s Got a Gun to Defend the Border,” “Dude Looks Undocumented,” and “Deportation” (sung to the tune of “Sweet Emotion”), every new Aerosmith show will turn into a rally for Lou’s pet issues in under 10 minutes!

Oh, to be Lou Dobbs right now—I envy the guy’s newfound freedom and the numerous options currently before him. He said he will let us know when he “sets his course.” I hope he makes his announcement by donning a ridiculous number of scarves, getting hair extensions and collagen lip injections, and joining Aerosmith on stage in America’s heartland for a rousing, politically infused rendition of “Dream On.”

Let’s all keep dreaming ’til that dream comes true.

  1. Anonymous permalink
    November 12, 2009 4:22 pm

    I’m proud to say I lost my virginity to “Dude Looks Undocumented.” Rock on Lou!

  2. Jay St. Orts permalink
    November 13, 2009 4:14 pm

    That’s funny–I think I found mine to it.


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