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Baskettcase: Hank Williams Jr. and the Line Between Politics and Music

October 4, 2011

A Column by Jeremy Baskett

As you may have seen in one of my previous columns, I did a report about an upcoming tribute album featuring lyrics that were written by one of country music’s founding fathers, Mr. Hank Williams – though it’s not him that I will speak of today. Rather, in today’s Baskettcase I’m going to focus on his trouble makin’ son, Hank Williams Jr.

The music of Hank Williams Jr. has always taken a patriotic delivery. Notwithstanding, comparing the President of the United States to Hitler is dangerous ground for even the most established identities, as we've seen in this week's fallout.

If any of you has ever seen Monday Night Football, you’ve probably heard Hank Williams most famous song, which is also Monday Night Football’s theme song, “Are You Ready for Some Football?” This has been the anthem that has greeted America’s patriots (and I’m not talking about or excluding Tom Brady lovers) favorite Fall sport for the past 20 years, but that is all done and over with.

So what would cause such a “beloved” song to stop being played before the big game?

Well, comparing the President of the United States to Hitler will surely do the trick.

The tongue-lashing Williams Jr. appeared on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends” to discuss his beliefs on GOP nominees, where he shared his sentiment that  he really didn’t like any of the candidates that were up for the 2012 race for the presidency. Hank then took a turn for the worst when he began speaking about the golf summit. The infamous golf game happened last June, which happened to be at a breaking point in our economy. President Obama, as well as Vice President Biden, teamed against one another with in office Republicans.

Hank was not pleased.

Williams Jr. expressed that the golf game was “one of the biggest political mistakes ever” and then it took a drastic turn for the worst. He said that “It’d be like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu”. He also referred to President Obama and Vice President Biden as “the enemy” and “the three stooges.” When host Gretchen Carlson confronted him, saying that his comments were extreme to compare President Obama with Hitler, Williams Jr. responded by saying, “That’s true, but I’m just telling it like it is.”

ESPN immediately yanked the song and Williams Jr. from Monday Night Football’s broadcast of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers versus the Indianapolis Colts.

Hank, stick to music. Let politicians be politicians. Maybe it’s time to listen to your son, Hank III, who released a comment saying, “The only person out there worthy of mixing political views and music is Jello Biafra.”

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