Pubdate: Sun, 02 Sep 2007
Source: Waco Tribune-Herald (TX)
Copyright: 2007 Waco-Tribune Herald
Author: Carlos Sanchez


If you call it political commentary, it's delivered in a way that 
only a Madman would dare.

For 59 seconds, Ted Nugent, known as the Motor City Madman, assaults 
a howling rock audience and YouTube viewers with a nasty and 
dangerous diatribe against Democratic presidential candidates Barack 
Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Holding up what appears to be two semi-automatic weapons on stage, 
Nugent unleashes first on Obama, saying, "You might want to suck on 
these, you punk." Then he goes after Clinton, holding up a weapon and 
saying, "Hey, Hillary, you might want to ride one of these into the 
sunset, you worthless b--."

The tirade is ugly and unconscionable. That applies even if one could 
portray it as a commentary aimed at people who, like Nugent, place 
themselves in the public eye.

The irony is that this rant took place within weeks of Nugent's 
denunciation of a "nut job," a liberal blogger who wrote, "I've got 
dibs on Rush (Limbaugh) as soon as it's legal and lawful to shoot 
him. Whoever wants Ted Nugent is welcome to him."

"The hate speech that this guy spews is of grave concern to my 
family," Nugent said at the time. We share Ted's concern. Which makes 
his recent concert rant equally offensive and troubling. It's 
irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it probably gave Ted's new rock CD 
great publicity.

So, why am I adding to this publicity?

Because the Trib plays a unique role in giving Nugent a forum for his 
political views. For the better part of a year, Nugent has written a 
weekly Sunday column for this paper. We recognized that this 
celebrity who moved to Waco might have some interesting things to 
say. We were right. He has things to say about hunting and firearms 
rights, about the courts, about the war in Iraq. He's anti-drug, 
pro-military and vehemently opposed to government assistance programs.

He's also a presence in the Waco community, participating in various 
worthy causes. By all accounts he's a good citizen and neighbor.

Interestingly, our interest in having him write for the Trib began 
with another concert controversy. Nugent had been at the receiving 
end of a media dust-up for comments made while performing for Gov. 
Rick Perry's inauguration.

We asked Nugent if he wanted to weigh in on the controversy. We were 
suitably impressed when he turned in a well-written column in a 
matter of hours.

When we asked if he was interested in making the arrangement more 
permanent, he immediately agreed.

Immediately his column became one of the most highly read 
commentaries that we offered. He routinely generates discussion and 
provokes debate. That's what good opinion pages do.

Sure, people write to tell us that they hate Ted and his views, and 
urge that we pull his column immediately. That's not going to happen.

Ted the columnist has been called an embarrassment to Waco and to the 
Trib. We have heard comparable appeals with the same remedy suggested 
about any number of contributors to this page, including the one who 
edits it, John Young.

So, now, what to do about the YouTube flare-up and Ted the act?

No one can be shocked that Nugent doesn't support Clinton or Obama. 
But I was shocked and offended by the venomous attack unleashed 
on-stage. He went way too far.

There is simply no room for talk of violence against political 
leaders in today's society, not even in jest.

Am I being hypocritical for allowing his views to be espoused in more 
shrouded language in our newspaper, then denouncing his YouTube 
performance? Perhaps.

But this public discourse thing is not an exact science.

So I'm left to aim for some lofty goals, balance and civility chief among them.

The safety net beneath these goals is the assurance to Trib readers 
that what might seem fair game at a rock concert has no place on the 
opinion page of the Trib.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake