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Randy Newman is ‘Dreaming of a White President’

Randy Newman has a hot new single out on YouTube: “I’m Dreaming of a White President.”

Randy Newman is joking, of course… sort of.  He’s a supporter of Barack Obama and says the song is “a reaction to the Republican Party, which seems to have drifted farther to the right than a major party has drifted in my lifetime in any direction. It seems to have become almost a radical party.”

Which leads Newman to lyrics like this:

I’m dreaming of a white president
Just like the ones we’ve always had
A real live white man, who knows the score
How to handle money or start a war.

He also calls William McKinley “the whitest of them all.” But hey, it’s nice to hear a shout-out to President McKinley in any context, right?

Satire isn’t new territory for Randy Newman. His early songs like Short People and I Love LA were full of wonderful and cynical wit, although lyrics like “Short people got no reason to live” didn’t go over so well with everyone.

Slate magazine has a good chat with Newman about his new song.

Slate: You’re releasing “I’m Dreaming” free of charge, but you’re encouraging listeners to donate to the United Negro College Fund. Why that particular cause?
Newman: I have some concern that kids will hear this and think, “What is he talking about?” If you have a kid and you try irony out on them, they don’t get it at 7, 8 years old. “What do you mean, you’re dreaming of a white president?” It’s a problem. You can’t really hide the Internet from kids. It worries me some particularly because I’ve done Disney and Pixar stuff.  In Toy Story, there’s my voice saying, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.” And then here’s my voice singing that I want “A real live white man / Who knows the score.” I’d like it to be clearer which side I’m on. Of course, it comes a little late. 


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