Two hardened political partisans have finally come to full agreement—as long as they stick solely to the topic of music, specifically the music of 1970s progressive rock band Yes.
Within those parameters, well-known Republican consultant John Brabender and Democratic operative Tad Devine see eye-to-eye, and they’re working together to push for Yes’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Brabender was the chief media dtrategist of Rick Santorum’s presidential bid, while Devine was one of the top advisors to the presidential campaigns of John Kerry and Al Gore. They both remain in high demand, but both men are admittedly bored between election cycles. They decided to team up on another kind of campaign, which they describe as “the only known bipartisan effort in Washington, D.C.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has not been favorable to bands in the progressive rock genre, and induction is limited to the votes of a few hundred industry insiders. But given Brabender and Devine’s resumes, one shouldn’t count them out, either. To accomplish their goal, they’ve launched an advocacy group called Voices for Yes to “mount a national grassroots and media campaign.” They’ve even hired an opposition researcher, not to bash the other candidates such as Hall & Oates, but to find the obstacles to their success.
Brabender and Devine are using their wide connections to gain the support from other political and media luminaries such as former NBC News President Steve Capus. Capus, who is spearheading a documentary film for the project, recognizes that his participation looks like an oddball move.
“I don’t want people to think I’ve completely lost my mind,” Capus said. “I’ve got the luxury of some time on my hands and the ability to do some projects that I believe in and have some fun doing.” Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee added his support, stating, “Yes’s bass player is one of the best of all time and was a huge influence on why I wanted to learn bass.”
There are other indications that British rock from the 1960s and 1970s breeds cross-partisan goodwill. During a recent unveiling ceremony of a new Winston Churchill statue, Republican Mitch McConnell and Democrat Nancy Pelosi were bobbing their heads in bipartisan unity to a performance by Roger Daltry, lead singer for The Who.