The Denver Post today provides us with the three favorite songs of each of the 3,000 people currently running for mayor of Denver. In most cases, these lists aren't particularly revealing about the type of mayor the candidate would turn out to be. But I was struck by one of them: Chris Romer -- a recent state senator and the son of a former governor -- claims his favorite song is Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire."
Let me just submit that "I'm on Fire" is nobody's favorite song. If you were to rank the top 500 Springsteen songs (and you probably could), "I'm on Fire" would probably come in somewhere south of 450, if it even made the list. Sure, it was a hit, but only in the sense that virtually everything on the "Born in the USA" album became a hit, in the same way that any show sandwiched between "Friends" and "Seinfeld" was going to be a hit, even if it starred Jonathan Silverman and Ernest Borgnine. And even if Romer just wanted to give a shout out to Boss fans, why choose this piece?
There was actually one other politician who listed "I'm on Fire" as a favorite song. That would be Barack Obama. My hypothesis is that this is a form of dog-whistle politics. The Denver mayor's race is a crowded field consisting largely of Democrats in an officially nonpartisan race. Romer is signaling to the largely Democratic electorate that he is the true Obama Democrat in the race.
Okay, it's thin gruel, but I can't come up with any other reason for listing that song as a favorite.