Opinion Brief

Hank Williams Jr.'s 'bizarre' Hitler-Obama rant

The country singer behind the Monday Night Football theme song is in hot water after making unwise comparisons during an interview with Fox News

The video: Are you ready for some blowback? Hank Williams Jr., famous for bellowing, "Are you ready for some football?" each week as the singer of the Monday Night Football theme song, is facing a backlash over his rhetorically extreme criticism of the president. Appearing on Fox News' Fox and Friends on Monday to talk politics, Williams called Democrats the "enemy," and argued that President Obama's peacemaking golf game this summer with House Speaker John Boehner (R) was "like Hitler playing golf with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu" — a statement that dumbfounded the Fox News hosts. (Watch the video below.) ESPN promptly pulled Williams' theme song from this week's Monday Night Football broadcast. The singer has since tried to clarify his "bizarre" comments, claiming that what he really meant was that "working class people are hurting — and it doesn't seem like anybody cares. When both sides are high-fiving it on the ninth hole when everybody else is without a job — it makes a lot of us angry."

The reaction: When a trio of Fox News anchors "are so appalled at what you've said that their jaws drop and they all but beg you to reconsider," you've gone too far, says Jay Bookman at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. That may be true, says James Poniwozik at TIME. But it's also true that Williams is just another "celebrity over his head in the wading pool of politics" — trying to make a point by invoking Hitler as some sort of shorthand for "somebody I really don't like." And while ESPN responded swiftly by booting Williams' theme song, says Dana Loesch at Big Journalism, it's worth noting that the network did nothing when Mike Tyson made graphic comments about Sarah Palin on an ESPN affiliate. Double standard? Judge for yourself:

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