Ted Nugent kicks off his latest tour May 3 at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo–he’s the opening act for co-headliners Styx and REO Speedwagon.
But in his other career, as “America’s most vocal proponent of both the First and Second Amendments” (his self-description) the gun-totin’, hate-speech-spewing Nugent is as big as Justin Bieber.
Nugent’s inflammatory comments about President Barack Obama have been a publicity bonanza for the Nuge, and he probably wouldn’t have it any other way. Gordon Deal of the Wall Street Journal may have boiled the whole thing down to its essence when he began his story with the simple phrase, “Rocker Ted Nugent is getting attention….”
As Reeves Wiedeman of the New Yorker put it:
[T]he smarter takeaway from this is not that Nugent would actually pull the trigger, but that he was hoping that pulling the trigger on this comment might keep him in good stead with the people who frequent his summer concerts, first to hear “Cat Scratch Fever” and “Stranglehold,” and second to be thrown a piece of political red meat.
The big news today was that the Secret Service is indeed planning to meet with Nugent, something Nugent himself told Glenn Beck (as recounted on the Beck-affiliated website The Blaze):
We actually have heard from the Secret Service and they have a duty. I support them. I salute them. And I look forward to our meeting tomorrow. I‘m sure we’ll have a great conversation…bottom line is, I‘ve never threatened anybody’s life in my life. I’ve never threatened. I don’t waste breath threatening.
Nugent also said, “we’re going to have a little barbecue get together.”
If so, as Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones reported, it wouldn’t be the first time:
[Nugent] recounted that Secret Service agents eventually showed up at a BBQ at his ranch near Crawford, Texas. Nugent thought it was a raid. “I was running around,” he recalled. “I thought there was going to be a couple of guys pulling into the BBQ and shooting.”
Nugent expressed no qualms about engaging in a gun battle with the heavily-armed agents. “I said, ‘I’ve got a bunch of guys with McMillan assault rifles trained on the back of your head, so if this is a raid, you can just turn right back around.'”
But it turned out that the Secret Service had just stopped by to play target practice. Nugent said he set up bowling pins a few hundred feet away and took aim with a borrowed government rifle and pretended to shoot the director of Bowling for Columbine. “Before I shot, I went, ‘In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.’ Michael Moore! And I blew him up. Beautiful!”
Threats or no threats, Nugent wasn’t toning down the rhetoric during any of his media appearances. The Huffington Post reported that in an interview with radio host Mike Huckabee, Nugent said “The rules of engagement for the Secret Service is to respond even when someone as maniacal as a Wasserman Schultz or Pelosi or Boxer or Feinstein [complains].”
Obama, Wasserman Schultz, Pelosi, Boxer, Feinstein, Hillary Clinton: Apparently, in Nugent’s mind, there are no white men–or white male Democratic members of the House and Senate–worth insulting. Or he’s never heard of them.
But Nugent sees himself as an oppressed minority. As E! Online reported, Nugent told radio host Dana Loesch that the reaction to his comments made him:
[A] black Jew at a Nazi-Klan rally. And there are some power-abusing, corrupt monsters in our federal government that despise me because I have the audacity to speak the truth.
You can listen to Glenn Beck’s interview with his “close personal friend” below: