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Ben Folds pays homage to Rod Rosenstein with ‘Mister Peepers’ song

Posted at 2:11 PM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-10 17:10:44-04

Musician Ben Folds has penned a song depicting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s battle with Republicans during the Russia investigation.

The song, published Monday as part of a Washington Post Magazine project on alternative storytelling, draws its title, “Mister Peepers,” from President Donald Trump’s reported nickname for Rosenstein.

Folds depicts Rosenstein as a nerd getting picked on by Republicans like Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, whom he describes as a jock-ish wrestler (and who was a championship-winning wrestler in real life), referring to him as “the distinguished wrestler from Ohio.”

Folds sings in the chorus:

So they call him Mister Peepers

As the thugs all smash his glasses

Going full Lord of the Flies

Burning this island down to ashes

What’s the rule of law if we can’t agree on what a fact is?

There ain’t nothing here to see, folks, move along, move along

The song is a reflection on a House Judiciary Committee hearing in June, when Jordan, one of the President’s most ardent supporters, and Rosenstein, whom Trump has scrutinized, clashed over a congressional request for FBI documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Rosenstein, addressing the production of the documents Congress requested, said what he saw as Jordan’s personal attacks were “deeply wrong.”

“You find some issue with the production or with questions, it doesn’t mean I’m personally trying to conceal something from you. It means we’re running an organization that’s trying to follow the rules,” he said.

In “Mr. Peepers,” Folds sings that “Y’all (Republicans) know he can’t comply” with the requests, “but that’s the point, of course.”

Folds later laments what he sees as the deterioration of democracy, saying, “Right now they’re trying to kill it in broad daylight. Can flashlights really fight bombs?”

He ends his song by singing that “when all those Mister Peepers people fall … Lord help us all.”

Folds, who supported Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign in 2016, has been scrutinized by Republicans in recent months for his support for a Democrat in a tight Senate race.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee called him a member of the “unhinged left” for performing at a fundraiser for former Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, the Democratic nominee for that state’s open Senate seat.

Folds is also an arts education advocate and has held events at the Democratic and Republican national conventions to promote the cause.

Folds told the Post that he decided to write a song about Rosenstein because what he’s going through is “much more real and painful to me than the other stuff, because of the personal position he’s been put in and the position we’re all in at these crossroads — when we find ourselves deciding to stick up for our norms or not.”

This is not Folds’ first foray into political songwriting. He also partnered with English author Nick Hornby to write “Levi Johnston’s Blues,” about the ex-fiancé of Bristol Palin, the daughter of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, released in 2010.