When Duff McKagan speaks, his dedicated fan base listens.
The former Guns N' Roses bassist has a message for President Obama. On Thursday, in a regular column he writes for the Seattle Weekly, McKagan lambasted Obama about U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
“Uh. President Obama. Let’s get...out of there now,” McKagan wrote.
The rock god’s words came after a trip last week to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center where he performed at a concert in conjunction with Wounded Warriors, the USO (to which Charlie Sheen recently gave a $1 million donation) and Monster Energy Drink.
While there, McKagan, who was also a founder of the supergroups Neurotic Outsiders and Loaded, visited with men with amputated limbs who had recently returned from Afghanistan.
“President Obama: Make our withdrawal from Afghanistan as important as the economy and health care. My two cents,” he wrote.
McKagan is hardly a dimwitted rock star ignorant of current affairs. The author of a best-selling autobiography, McKagan has studied business and economics and started a wealth management firm for musicians. He also writes a weekly column for ESPN.com as well as for Seattle Weekly. Oh, and he is the namesake for Duff beer on “The Simpsons.” And he has written frequently about this country's VA hospitals.
McKagan wrote, “Bin Laden is dead, right? The Taliban will seemingly never go away, but they have always kind of been around. I thought it was al Qaida that we were after. I know that missions can change or whatever, but it is a hard thing to reconcile when you go and
see the human damage. On both sides, I am sure.”
His advice may not be what the president wants to hear during this election year. A Pew Research Center study last November showed that Generation X, which grew up with McKagan showing hourly on MTV, is on the fence about an Obama second term.
Even younger voters aren't a gurantee for Obama. A Gallup poll released last Friday said voters 18 to 29 who say they will “definitely vote” in November is down 20 percent in comparison with October 2008.
One rock star can’t make or break an election, of course. But McKagan’s words will echo with cynical Generation X, many of whom may be tempted to stay at home on Election Day watching Guns N' Roses videos.
Suzi Parker is an Arkansas-based political and cultural journalist and author of “Sex in the South: Unbuckling the Bible Belt.” Follow her on Twitter at @SuziParker