THE RIGHT BROTHERS

A reader does some research:

A little digging turns up some fascinating background on “The Right Brothers.” (Yes, I’m bored at work!) The two guys themselves, Frank Highland and Aaron Sain from Florence, Alabama, seem like pretty straightforward good ol’ boys, and God bless ’em. They both chased a songwriting career in Nashville in the 90’s, and while Aaron did all right Frank had left the music business and was running a pool cleaning company by 2001. The two of them hooked up after 9/11 and started writing the occasional bar-room conservative anthem to cheer on the troops. Maybe a gimmick, but who can point fingers?

What turned things around for them was a connection, in 2003, with an outfit called RightMarch.com, and here’s where it gets creepy. RightMarch is an internet fund-raising organization run by Dr. William Greene, a veteran of various “Take Back Christmas” fundraising appeals, and an established if low-flying email fundraiser for hard-right causes (he was a chief online fundraiser for Alan Keyes’ Senate campaign). Greene is also a former VP of Richard Viguerie’s ConservativeHQ.com — where he learned his trade, no doubt, from the best. RightMarch is partly a general-purpose conservative activist site, presumably to build lists, and partly a PAC targeting moderate Republicans as well as Democrats. Greene also runs Strategic Internet Campaign Management (SIC’M!), a political consultancy and another online list-builder.

Greene took charge of promotion for The Right Brothers, put them in touch with Hannity in 2003 to promote a song called “Hey Hollywood,” then rolled them out big time during the Terry Schiavo fiasco, featuring their new antiabortion song and video, “I want to live.” That whole episode wasn’t a brilliant success, but they ended up playing the Georgia Republican convention in 2005 and now they seem to be making another bid for word-of-mouth marketing with “Bush Was Right.” Their own website includes a signup feature for their email list, and I wouldn’t be shocked if the info were shared with RightMarch.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Right? Except — it’s sort of sad to see guys who used to write country tunes about how their old family home got plowed under for a strip mall, coming out with un-ironic lyrics like “The rich man keeps the working man working and alive.” (“Trickle Down.”) Or writing a song against illegal immigration that’s so nuanced and qualified and racially inoffensive it might have been edited by a Karl Rove focus group. Or, for that matter, writing a song about the Iraq war that ends up a paean to Bush’s economic policy. My bullshit-detector just got sad and stopped registering.

So how much is still authentic about two guys who sing about supporting the troops, spanking their children, liking big trucks, and feeling mildly confused by all those gay people wandering around? Who the hell knows? But it’s clear that they’re in pretty deep with some fairly high-powered hard-right activists who are experts in crafting fundraising messages. Nice to see that they’ve finally made it.

And the beat goes on.

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