Rocker Ted Nugent says something outlandish during every political cycle.
The Secret Service is investigating Nugent for the remarks he made Saturday at the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis about President Obama, including: "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
On Tuesday, Nugent found fire in his belly again on a radio show. He spewed venom toward Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who condemned Nugent's comments about Obama, and toward Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
“Wasserman Schultz is such a brain-dead, soulless idiot,” Nugent said. “I could not be more proud that this soulless, heartless idiot feebly attempts to find fault with Ted Nugent, because I am on the right track and she just encourages me to stand stronger.”
Nugent then called the two female Democratic leaders “varmints.”
In a year when the war on women rages, Nugent’s words leave a sour taste and conjure up unsettling, violent images. Of course, under the constitution, Nugent has the right to say anything. But, as my mother always says, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s camp tepidly denounced Nugent’s comments about Obama, but has said nothing so far about his comments on Schultz and Pelosi. “Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from,” Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.”
Come on, Mitt. What if Nugent had called Ann Romney a varmint or brain-dead?
Why should Romney, or any other Republican politician, step lightly around Nugent, who makes no apology for his hedonistic rocker ways? Sure, he likes hunting and guns – so do a lot of people – but his inconsiderate rhetoric toward women is right up there with Rush Limbaugh’s comments on Sandra Fluke.
The Republican National Committee and Romney should take a crash course in Nugent 101.
His most famous song, “Cat Scratch Fever,” is about a man with a history of promiscuous sex who cannot control his lustful ways. According to rock historians, the term “cat scratch fever” is likely about a sexually transmitted disease.
Another song that teenaged boys often snicker about whenever Nugent’s name is mentioned has a raunchy title – and lyrics – about a woman’s genitalia. Not exactly family values friendly, is it?
In 2008, Nugent, known as the Motor City Madman, said of Obama and Hillary Clinton: “Obama, he's a piece of sh**. I told him to suck on my machine gun. Hey Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless b****.”
On animal rights activists, Nugent said, “I’m stymied to come up with anything funnier than people who think animals have rights. Just stick an arrow through their lungs.”
For women who don’t like his sexist songs, he says, “If you don't have a sense of humor, you’re not allowed in Ted’s world. I don't objectify women. I'd like to think that I'm optimizing their hardware.”
That’s actually tame compared to more explicit quotes where he has rudely lashed out at women, calling them cringe-worthy names.
He once shot an arrow at a picture of then-Democratic Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm during a concert.
Some columnists have said to shrug off Nugent’s rhetoric because, after all, he’s just a rock-and-roll musician. As someone who loves all types of rock music (and even some that isn’t always politically correct), I’m not so sure Nugent should be ignored.
Fans often mimic rock gods’ actions, and they now follow them on social media and retweet their comments, helping to make their words viral. Nugent is frequently derogatory and hateful, and his words could be considered hate speech.
Nugent tweeted late Tuesday night, “again the soulless subhumans are in a tizzy over too much truth & logic from an actual we the people loving American. Turning up the heat”.
Romney should too. Having had difficulty in connecting with female voters, Romney could use this to his advantage. He could call Nugent what he really is – a misogynist – and strongly rebuke him.
Wouldn’t that be a bold political move?
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