Columns » Hightower

Texas tea party's new sidekick




Ted Nugent, the old rocker from the '70s, is now just plain old — and off his rocker.

A political novelty act for the far right and a front man for the National Rifle Association, Nugent regularly spews venomous, vulgar, race-laced, abusive hate speech about liberals, Democrats, gun laws and creeping communism. In January, for example, he tongue-lashed President Obama, calling him a "communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel."

So, naturally, this scurrilous lout was promptly invited to come to Texas by the leading Republican candidate for governor. It seems that Greg Abbott, currently the state attorney general and a dyed-in-the-wool tea party extremist, thought it would juice up his far-out GOP flock to have the rabidly nutty Nugent come campaign with him. Ted came, even embracing the gubernatorial wannabe as his "blood brother."

But the brotherhood gambit backfired. Even Republican leaders wondered aloud why Abbott would, as one put it, "keep company with a noted misogynist and bigot." In addition to Nugent's disgusting "subhuman mongrel" slur, the old rocker is also well-known for being a sexual predator of underage girls.

The issue, however, is not Nugent's sordid character, but Abbott's. Hugging an infamous predator and hate-monger for political gain is both morally repugnant and politically stupid. Yet, Abbott continues to cling to Nugent's embrace, tersely (and cluelessly) saying: "It's time to move beyond this." A campaign aide even tried to paint Nugent's endorsement as a positive: "We appreciate the support of everyone who supports protecting our Constitution."

Everyone? Sexual predators, overt racists? Shouldn't a candidate for governor — even in Texas — draw a sharper moral line than, "He loves the Second Amendment?"

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit

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