Michigan has no shortage of high-profile rockers it can claim as natives, and Ted Nugent is probably the most notorious. So naturally, he’s invioted on “Off the Record,” Tim Skubick’s weekly public affairs show on Lansing TV station WKAR.
Maybe Jack White didn’t return Skubick’s calls.
The show was taped Wednesday for Friday/Sunday airing, but you can watch the two segments at WKAR’s site. The Nuge, or “Uncle Ted,” as he repeatedly calls himself, faced Skubick, along with Chuck Stokes from WXYZ; Zoe Clark, Michigan Radio; and Bill Ballenger of the Ballenger Report (and Friday podcast here at Deadline Detroit).
Uncle Ted was mostly on his best behavior, smiling and friendly behind his beard-stripe, apologizing for the bags under his eyes, mentioning the hearing aids he was wearing and asking them to speak clearly for “the 70-year-old guitar player.”
After that, it was Nugent smiling through his right-wing politics, with a few sound-bite zingers:
♦ “I am a 70-year-old Michiganiac guitar player — husband, father, neighbor, citizen, free man — who has witnessed the politics of this country, particularly my beloved birth state of Michigan, become quite embarrassing. …I love Michigan, but it’s not the Michigan I was born in.”
♦ “(They say) politics is the art of compromise. I’m here to establish that compromise is the art of liberalism.”
♦ “We lost our home to a terrible mold infestation, and as we were being treated in Texas, I realized that everything I want to do in life is legal in Texas.”
That last by way of explaining why he moved to Texas some years ago, though he spends substantial time here.
This being public television, the questioning was polite — so well-mannered that Nugent deployed the time-tested strategy of simply talk-talk-talking through any answer likely to be challenged.
For instance that he dodged the Vietnam War draft. No, no, you’ve got it all wrong, with no reference to the story he once told about flunking his draft physical through, among other things, pooping his pants. (For the record, on “On the Record,” he now says he was enrolled at Oakland Community College and got the same student deferment as college students everywhere.)
Odds and ends:
He endorses Bill Schuette for governor and John James for U.S. Senate, but not Proposal 1 to legalize recreational marijuana.
He believes Islam calls for genital mutilation — it doesn’t — and hence defends calling it a “voodoo religion.”
He doesn’t regret calling Diane Feinstein a “worthless whore.”
When he called two Parkland shooting survivors “soulless” for blaming the NRA for fatal school shootings, he wasn’t calling all Parkland survivors soulless.
Clark was probably the toughest questioner, followed by Skubick, who asked point-blank: “[Schuette is] looking for female voters in Oakland County. Does Ted Nugent help him get that voter?”
“Some of them,” Nugent replied, adding that some women there are “real rock ‘n’ rollers,” without connecting how a vote for Schuette might be connected to a tolerance for “Stranglehold” in a spin-class climbing segment.
One final snicker: In the course of denying ill will toward his fellow man, he said he wasn’t anti-Semitic, because his business partners are Jewish and he “has a candelabra.”
As Ted Cruz said to his fellow Republicans, vote your conscience. Registration ends Oct. 9.