Merle Haggard has been so enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton that he wrote a song about her. Time’s Joe Klein, however, sees the country singer’s endorsement as much more than your typical celebrity nod.
Haggard, he writes, is just the kind of white male who has fled the Democratic party over the past 30 years, turning to Ronald Reagan and later George W. Bush.
Klein writes, “Is it possible now, with the Republicans diving into foolish militarism and the indulgence of Thou-shalt-not killjoys, that Reagan Democrats might be tempted to come home?”
Haggard was moved to “change labels” because of when Klein calls a “vague populist annoyance with big stores and big shots.”
Haggard says, “The folks don’t have a say-so anymore. They’re being force-fed—music, yeah, but every other darn thing too. I supported George W. I’m not exactly a liberal. But I know how that Texas thing works, who those oil folks are and what they wanted in Iraq… I’m a born-again Christian too, but the longer I live, the more afraid I get of some of these religious groups that have so much influence on the Republicans and want to tell us how to live our lives.”
“The thing that gets under my skin most about George W. is his intention to install fear in people,” Haggard said. “We’re proud. We’re not afraid of a bunch of terrorists. But this government is all about terror alerts and scaring us at airports. We’re changing the Constitution out of fear. We spend all our time looking up each other’s dresses. Fear’s the only issue the Republican Party has. Vote for them, or the terrorists will win. That’s not what Reagan was about. I hate to think about our soldiers over in Iraq fighting for a country that’s slipping away.”