We pose this question to Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Allen who invited his pal Ted Nugent on stage this week at a campaign rally. After appearing with Allen twice on Tuesday, a snowball of criticism followed Nugent all week, calling him out for his most recent round of outrageous remarks about the president.
Nugent is no stranger to pissing people off. He has been an outspoken spokesperson for gun rights as a board member for the NRA, a drum banger for the Grand Ole Party, and a staunch critic of Obama. His incendiary comments have offended women, minorities, gun reform advocates, democrats, and animal lovers.
In fact, Nugent has been blowing up the airwaves since the 1980’s, appearing on talk shows, at rallies, and as a favorite guest on conservative radio. His most recent comments, calling Obama a “subhuman mongrel” among other things in an interview with guns.com, were on the air for a full month before his appearance this week with Abbott, but when criticism required some response from Abbott, his aids countered that they were unaware of comments. They added the fact that Nuget drew a crowd–in one instance tripling turn out when it was announced that Nugent would be appearing with Abbott–so perhaps adding Nugent to the rallies was just as calculated a move as it seems to be.
Nor is Abbott the first politician that Nugent has rolled out the rock and roll rant for. In fact, there is a list of conservative politicians from Rick Perry to Tom Tancredo who have used Nugent to drum up support. Even as popular-potential-2016-front-runners Ted Cruz and Rand Paul condemned Nugent’s comments this week, you don’t have to look too far back to find them sharing airwaves–and opinions–with Nugent.
The week ended with a predictable round of tepid apologies from both Nugent and Abbott. Let’s be clear: calling Obama a subhuman mongrel is racist. Nugent has been making these comments for long enough that his apology is meaningless. It’s time for his political pals to think long and hard about standing next to Nugent and others who feel free to flaunt their racism on TV and radio.
The GOP has enough work to do engaging women and people of color. Alienating those voters by locking arms with Nugent is an easy mistake to avoid.