Monday, June 05, 2006

The Chicks and Bush

Eugene Robinson had an interesting column in our local paper, "The Daily Progress," about the Dixie Chicks. For those of you who are not country and western fans and have not followed the Chicks and the controversy surrounding them, a little history may be in order.

During the run up to the Iraq invasion, The Chicks were in London giving a concert and Natalie Maines, the Chicks’ lead singer, told the audience, “we’re ashamed that the president of the United States is from Texas.” As a result of that comment, the Chicks were denounced as traitors on right-wing talk radio. Country and western stations refused to play their music and denounced them as well using the rational that their listeners threatened to boycott the stations that dared to play their music. At one point the controversy got so heated that Maines received a threat that she would be shot dead on stage

Then the Shrub got into the act. During an interview with Tom Brokow in April after the war had begun he was asked if he would invite the Chicks to the White House. Bush equivocated and answered by basically endorsing a boycott of the Chicks and their music.

To their credit, the Chicks never backed down. Emily Robinson and Martie Maguire, the other two members of the Chicks supported Maines and all three posed in the nude for a cover of Entertainment Weekly their bodies covered with graffiti supporting free speech and peace.

I don’t think any one would call country and western fans flaming liberals. If anything they are usually considered on the conservative side of the political spectrum. Nevertheless, the Dixie Chicks new album, “Taking the Long Way” opened at number one on the Billboard charts with 525,829 copies sold.

This is especially bad news for Bush and his party. It is another indication that Bush and his war have become unpopular in a constituency which would normally support him. The war has become the defining issue of this administration and the nation’s eroding support for the war has panicked Bush into trying to promote controversial social issues such as the gay marriage amendment to try to invigorate his dwindling political base. But it won’t work. The war is the thousand pound gorilla he can’t shake loose and it will destroy him and his band of neo-cons.

David M Goldberg