If I hadn’t just read it online, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you the title of a Ted Nugent song. “Cat Scratch Fever” apparently is the best known, just not by me. I’m sure I must have heard it back in the day, but I don’t remember anything about it. I also read a sampling of awful things the “aging rocker” (a common descriptive term) has said on occasion. He really is something.
If you’ve just come down from an outer space trip or an out-of-body experience, you may not know that not long ago the “aging rocker” referred to Barack Obama as “a communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.” You read it correctly: “a communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel.”
If not the worst thing I’ve ever heard anyone say about someone besides Hitler or Stalin, it’s close. I’m OK with the “communist-nurtured” part. That’s not new or unusual — always a little goofy-sounding these days, but not much of an insult. “Subhuman mongrel” though, now that is nasty. I wouldn’t have put up with hearing anyone say that about George W. Bush, with whom I disagreed on many fronts. Heck, I would have taken that bullet for Richard Nixon, if you can believe it.
Criticize vigorously, chastise vehemently, skewer with wit, lampoon till the cows come home, but don’t call a fellow living being a “subhuman mongrel.”
Newt Gingrich, poster boy for the smarmy politician, in my book, tried to defend Nugent by bad mouthing the “liberal media” for not going after Democrats for lame sayings. Joe Biden, during the 2012 elections, said the Republican would put African Americans back in chains if elected. That was rude, crude and stupid, and he was called on it. But compared to Nugent’s diatribe, no comparison, in my book.
Newt, who was doing his girlfriend (while married) and while he was impeaching Clinton for his peccadilloes, then claimed, “Sure, I did it, but I didn’t lie to Congress” about it, somehow thinks that’s the high ground. I get the political thrust and the political motivation. I don’t get the “holier than thou because you are just as bad, and therefore I’m not bad at all” justification.
You just don’t call the president of your own country a “subhuman mongrel.” Free speech notwithstanding. The guy running for governor of Texas (and for whom Nugent was campaigning) said he doesn’t necessarily agree with or even know “whatever Mr. Nugent might have said in the past.” But he’s glad to have the support of a guy who stands up for the Second Amendment, blah, blah, blah. Translation: “I’m glad to have someone say all the s*** I really want to say but can’t, because I still have to appeal to some people who might be offended if I actually said it.”
It’s despicable. It’s repulsive. It’s incivility at its highest point, and there are those who think it’s OK because “it’s true” or it’s “First Amendment rights” or it’s “what the other guys do.” But it’s not any of that. It’s repugnant. And of course the First Amendment allows it because it’s free speech. I’m totally good with that.
Is it good for the country? I’d have to say no, it isn’t. It’s inflammatory and ugly and the kind of thing that appeals to a certain element of crazies who will then take it out on somebody in an IRS office or a post office or local Farm Bureau. It’s the kind of self-indulgent crap that someone like Ted Nugent can get away with because he’s got big fancy lawyers and lives in a compound and has the First and Second Amendment on his side. And he does have all of that.
Does he have “right” on his side? I have to think not. He can disagree with policies. He can oppose this or that law or ordinance. He can object to any number of things he disagrees with while living in his 300-acre compound. But he can’t and shouldn’t get away with calling the president of the United States a “subhuman mongrel.”
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.