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Reagan Knows Who’s Boss

Conservative political figures make Bruce Springsteen their latest darling

bruce springsteen 1984

Bruce Springsteen

Ebet Roberts/Redferns

Who’s the right wing’s latest darling? Bruce Springsteen, to judge from the recent comments of President Reagan and conservative columnist George F. Will. ”If all Americans … made their products with as much energy and confidence as Springsteen and his merry band,” wrote Will in his September 13th column after attending a Springsteen show, ”there would be no need for Congress to be thinking about protectionism.” Will admitted he didn’t have ”a clue about Springsteen’s politics.”

Six days later, at a New Jersey rally, Reagan did Will one better. America’s future, he said, ”rests in the message of hope, in the songs of a man that so many young Americans admire, New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen. Helping you make these dreams come true is what this job of mine is all about.”

At press time, there was no comment from the Springsteen camp. And it remained unclear exactly which Springsteen songs Reagan’s speech writers had been listening to. When one Reagan-campaign spokesman was informed that the president had referred to Springsteen, he replied: ”Omigod. He didn’t say ”this gun’s for hire,’ did he?”

This story appeared in the October 25th, 1984 issue of Rolling Stone.


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