Yowza! It’s Bowzer! (On Social Security)

Read more via the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2014/09/24/

Jon Bauman put some bass in his voice, added a greaser twang and sang: “Bum bum bum bum ding-a-dong ding, I love Social Security!”

Not the usual approach for political advocacy, certainly, but Mr. Bauman is better known as Bowzer, the T-shirt-wearing front man for the rock ‘n’ roll group Sha Na Na.

Mr. Bauman, 67, was on a conference call arranged by organizations denouncing a proposed measure in Arkansas that opponents say would cut benefits for older Americans.

In the 45 years since Sha Na Na performed at Woodstock and later crooned in leather jackets on their self-titled TV show, Mr. Bauman has been employing Bowzer to back Democrats in congressional races, help promote legislation and beat back challenges to Social Security. He almost always sings.

“He’s very popular, especially among folks 50 and older who grew up watching his show,” said Eric Bauman, his nephew and vice chairman of the California Democratic Party.

Bowzer’s appeal to a coveted demographic in American politics has not gone unnoticed. In the past month, he has stumped for candidates for Congress and for governor in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Michigan. He also worked on the passage of “truth in music” legislation to protect artists from impostors and predatory management, and he helped found Senior Votes Count!, a group that aims to advance the rights of older Americans.

“You all associate me with the music of the ’50s and ’60s,” he said on the call. “But that does not mean I actually want to go back or think it’s a good idea to go back to the ’50s and ’60s, a time before Medicare, when 35 percent of seniors in America lived below the poverty line.”

Evidently Mr. Bauman is determined to make sure that social programs, like rock ‘n’ roll, are here to stay.