Daddy Yankee pumps gas into John McCain

You gotta love U.S. politics.
In their campaign race to the White House, presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama are doing everything within their power to win over voters – even disclosing their Top 10 list of favorite music artists earlier this month.

While neither McCain nor Obama included a Latin name in their lists, it is ironic to learn the ABBA-loving presidential candidate (McCain) was endorsed Monday by none other than Daddy Yankee, the Puerto Rican urban music superstar whose raunchy lyrics and cult following have turned him into the king of reggaeton.

According to an ABC news report, McCain was endorsed by Yankee during a press conference held at his wife’s high school alma mater in Arizona in front of 100 students. This took place only weeks after McCain and Yankee met privately in McCain’s campaign headquarters.

"I'm here endorsing Sen. McCain because I believe in his ideals and his proposals to lead this nation, you know?" Yankee said at Phoenix's Central High School.

Ironic? Yes. But it was a smart move, indeed, on the part of McCain, and a shocking one by “El Jefe.”

For many who don’t know who Yankee is, it would be easy to underestimate his political power. But don’t let stereotypes cloud your mind. McCain and Yankee met in 2006 after each was named one of Time Magazine’s most influential people on Earth.

With the endorsement of the interpreter of the hit “La Gasolina,” McCain at least has a chance of winning some Latino votes – something that a septuagenarian, Republican senator from Arizona would have a hard time to do without this kind of support.

Many may ask what does McCain know about Latin music, except perhaps for Ricky Ricardo of “I Love Lucy”?

The reality is that it doesn’t matter what he knows about it. If Yankee writes a catchy song for McCain, which is what everyone expects, that would definitely give McCain an edge over Obama in winning Latino votes. Music is a powerful tool.

As shocking as this endorsement news may sound, nobody is more baffled than McCain’s closest press aides, who were not able to say to U.S. media outlets who “El Cangri” was, and why did he want time alone with the presidential candidate at his campaign headquarters earlier this month ? Who knows? Maybe McCain will be a special guest artist in Yankee's next studio album.

For Daddy Yankee, however, the political move is likely to spark controversy among many young and old Latinos everywhere -to say the least- for McCain and republicans are known for everything but being supporters of minority issues. It’s unlikely that Yankee’s album sales will be affected by his decision to back McCain, but it will leave a sour taste to many of his loyal fans.

Whether we like it or not, now all we can do is sit and wait to see if Yankee actually writes a track for McCain. Needless to say, it would be a blast to see McCain “perreando” to a reggaeton tune. That’s definitely a must-see.

**Latin Music Examiner**