John McCain is Doomed, and it’s Bono’s Fault

Rock and roll stops the traffic indeed, boyo. I’d totally forgotten about this piece of bizarre trivia, but if the stars align with it, America’s most famous POW will go down to overwhelming electoral defeat. See, everyone’s favorite uber-corporate band of musical flyweights had been all ready to release a new album this fall, handily coinciding with the omnipotent Holiday Shopping Season, but apparently it’s “not ready.” This has major, major potential for putting Senator Obama over the top. @U2 Grand Poobah Matt McGee lays out the logic, and amazingly, it’s nowhere near as twisted as a Dublin pub-crawl with Shane McGowan:

Aside from U2 fans having to wait a few more months for new U2 music, do you know what this delay means? Do you realize the potential impact this has on U.S. politics? I’m serious. Reader Vic C. reminded me about this crazy piece of trivia. Check it out: Every time U2 has released a new album in a U.S. presidential election year, the Republican candidate has gone on to win the election.

Seriously, it goes back to 1980 when Boy was released and Ronald Reagan won the election. In 1984, we got The Unforgettable Fire, and Reagan won again. In 1988, it was Rattle and Hum and George H. W. Bush. U2 didn’t release a new album in 1992 or 1996. In 2000, it was All That You Can’t Leave Behind and George W. Bush. And in 2004, it was Bush winning again and How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb hitting store shelves.

So, all Obama supporters reading this ought to be thanking your lucky stars for this album delay. A McCain victory was all but assured if the album came out on schedule this year. (In fact, I would’ve liked U2 to claim that this was the reason for the delay. How funny would that be?)

Very funny indeed, Matthew. Not quite as funny as the Emergency Broadcast System’s Poppy Bush version of “We Will Rock You,” and nowhere near as riotous as candidate Clinton slithering his way onto “Rockline” to kiss royal Irish rock ass back in 1992. Of course, gullible U2 geeks like me have heard this “the album is delayed” bullshit many times before. Spoiled as we were by the miraculously quick six-month gestation of 1993’s Zooropa disc, the prolonged births of the three subsequent U2 albums came as progressively nasty, debilitating shocks, and I’m not just talking about the recordings themselves.

But come to think of it, perhaps we should follow this intriguing tangent to to its logical conclusion. Hell yes, let’s take the thing on tour, baby. Get a better sample size, as it were. Now, as any U2 nerd knows, the band had been touring like bastards for every year of their career until 1991, when they played exactly zero (0) shows, anywhere in the world. So that 1976-1990 data is useless for these purposes. However, we can study every tour conducted after that aberrant break in gigs—Zoo TV (1992/93), PopMart (1997/8), Elevation (2001), and Vertigo (2005/06). On the face of that specific evidence, then, we may have to call the 2008 election for Barack Obama after all.

It’s a close call, though—not a slam dunk, but enough to seal McCain’s fate. 1992’s Zoo TV was a ball-breaker for Poppy Bush; not only was he mocked in the video intro, but Bono also got very chummy with the White House phone operators, calling them every night from the stage to try to get his message of bogus blarney across. Bush tried to fight back, but comparing Bono to Boy George wasn’t that apt (yet). Poppy didn’t stand a chance against a combination of the “Rockline” thing and the U2-Clinton summit at a Bears game in Chicago, and the Democrats were swept into the White House that November.

1997’s Eurodisco-sprinkled PopMart tour was unfairly derided by humorless killjoys everywhere, but it seemed to have saved Bill Clinton’s soggy bacon by carrying over into 1998, his Year of Shame. We all know what happened then: despite his unflappably idiotic inability to keep his zipper closed, Clinton evaded full impeachment by the Senate, and his hated rival (and maniacal Speaker of the House) Newt Gingrich was himself ousted from his post by his own party. And there was much rejoicing.

Likewise, by 2001 we had a new president, and Bono knew he had to get on George W. Bush’s good side, or else the deranged cowboy would refuse to fork over all that money for African AIDS victims, no matter how many repentant tears were shed by Jesse Helms. So U2’s Elevation tour stopped before it reached 2002, and the hapless Democrats were massacred in the midterm elections—so badly that the Republicans held majorities in both houses of Congress for the next four years.

That’s right—their bloated glory didn’t last long, because despite the ’00 and ’04 releases of their studio albums that threw the elections to Bush, U2’s 2005 Vertigo tour sprawled across the wide world, deep into 2006. Republicans wept bitterly, and cursed the four vile Irishmen for extending their rockitude to Latin America and Australia, because they knew that spelled their electoral demise. Lo and behold, the Dems recaptured both houses, sort of, and installed their own corporate rock giants, Pelosi and Reed, in the Big Chairs.

Now, by the album theory, this year was all set to be locked up for Crash McCain, what with plenty of substantiated rumors about a new U2 album looming in the fall. However, it seems that someone in the U2 camp—be it the nefarious Edge, the sullen Mullen, the libertine Clayton, or the socio-capitalist manager McGuinness—has overruled Yer Man Bono, and forcibly delayed the new release to 2009. One could argue that Obama has already telegraphed this, what with his make-it-stop overuse of U2’s recent single “City of Blinding Lights” during the eternal Democratic primary, but I don’t think so.

No, BHO’s not as big of a U2-booster as the Big Dog, but he probably does realize that the universe is now aligning a bit more in his favor. Yeah, you only think he had a bad week. Whatever, man. We’re ready for the laughing gas. We’re ready for what’s next.