The 2016 election in song
The radio show This American Life imagined how Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan might be feeling these days … and had the creators of the music from Frozen put those feelings into a song.
By Rebecca Kaplan
The secret feelings of Republican leader Paul Ryan
Republican Paul Ryan is the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Things are hard for him right now. He really wants to support the Republican presidential candidate, but doesn’t agree with what Donald Trump stands for.
The podcast This American Life asked Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez, who created the music for the Disney film Frozen, to write a song expressing the feelings that Paul Ryan might have about Republicans who are voting for Trump. Neil Patrick Harris, star of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, sings in the character of Ryan.
Listen to the song here: it starts at minute 10:00.
Don’t understand everything the song mentions? Here’s our interpretation … with translations of difficult words from the song!
“Ryan” sings about how Trump supporters are rejecting traditional Republican ideas and how the party is changing. He hopes that they someday realize the truth about Trump … and come back to him when they do.
The Speaker says that he only supported Trump to keep the party together: he has in fact stopped actively working to help Trump get elected. Trump is now saying that Ryan is a weak leader (although he didn’t actually call him a “wussy”). “Don’t let him near your nieces” is a comment on the many reports that Trump has touched, kissed or talked about women in unwanted ways.
“Ryan” promises “a better way”, which is the name of a Republican party policy plan written by Ryan. The song then lists some traditional Republican platforms: cutting Medicare, privatizing social security, etc. The song is given an extra touch of irony when Neil Patrick Harris, who is married to a man, sings the Republican position against gay marriage. “No spending tastes as good as a balanced budget feels” is a variation on the saying “No food tastes as good as skinny feels”, which is used as inspiration for dieters.
The song ends with “Ryan” promising policies to the Republicans when they return to him: This is in contrast to Trump, who rarely offers complete policies. The Speaker hopes they’ll see him in 2020 … when the next presidential election takes place.
to set in allmählich klar werden – to persist andauern – to see through s.o. jdn. durchschauen – troll Kobold; Provokateur in Online-Medien – passions Gemüter – to flare aufflammen – for s.o.’s sake jdm. zuliebe – forced gezwungen; nicht echt – wussy (coll) Weichei – lapel Revers – to pick up the pieces alles wieder in Ordnung zu bringen – to cut s.o. loose s. von jdm. trennen – niece Nichte – to cut reduzieren – Medicare (US) staatl. Krankenversicherung für Ältere – fossil fuels fossiler Brennstoff – social security Sozialversicherung – welfare Sozialhilfe – to defund die Finanzierung entziehen – Planned Parenthood US-Organisation für med. Dienste u. a. im Bereich Gynäkologie / Familienplanung – gay marriage Homoehe –abortion Abtreibung – gun control Reglementierung von Waffenbesitz – unconstitutional verfassungswidrig – balanced budget ausgeglichener Haushalt – policy (eine bestimmte) Politik – aplenty jede Menge – to rise above the fray über das Chaos erhaben sein
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) speaks at the National Press Club Newsmaker event on October 8, 2018 in Washington, DC. | Photo: Getty Images