Toby Keith says he hopes a candidate with no ties to establishment politics wins the 2016 presidential election.
The always outspoken country superstar told People Magazine in March of this year that he’s was excited about the current field of candidates seeking office in 2016. “The cool thing is that the people who are making the most noise and getting the most poll points are non-politicians,” he says. “I hope the whole race turns into non-politicians. It would fix the whole thing if you get somebody who doesn’t have a political bone in their body.”
While Keith — who, somewhat surprisingly, was a registered Democrat for many years before re-registering as an independent around 2008 — didn’t name a specific candidate he would support, he did give some insight into what type of experience he thinks would best fit the bill.
“With a business person who knows the difference between right and wrong, instead of right and left, we’d have a chance to go forward,” he reflects. “With all the division in the world now — we’re polarized right wing, left wing, cops and blacks — it looks to me like we’re headed for turmoil in every way. The world looks like it’s on fire. You’ve got to get the politicians and the agendas out of the way and get somebody in there that might take it over and save old Uncle Sam.”
Short-tempered country star Toby Keith doesn’t back down from anything. He has feuded with the Dixie Chicks, quarreled with ABC anchorman Peter Jennings, stood up for rednecks, bashed the Taliban, and furthered his hawk credentials by taking a swipe at terrorists in the radio hit, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).” Sample verse: “This big dog will fight when you rattle his cage/ And you’ll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A.”
But there is a lot more to Keith than the public really knows, “They automatically assume that I’m a chest-banging, war-drum-pounding Republican with my military stance.” Keith goes on to compare himself to Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut: “a conservative Democrat who is sometimes embarrassed for his party.”
Keith has notched 19 No. 1 country hits — most of which he wrote himself from a classic honky-tonk, not militaristic, perspective.
The country star maintains that he’s “more balanced than what some people would lead you to believe.” For those searching for a full-blown conservative, Keith points to rocker Ted Nugent, with whom he completed a USO tour of Iraq and Afghanistan. “Ted is so far out on the right that I can’t even see him with a pair of binoculars,” Keith says. “I’m probably the most right Democrat in the world, but Ted is so far on the other side that he’s got problems with a bunch of Republicans.”
If Keith sees himself as a conservative Independent, he has no problem hanging with those whose politics are further left. Some of Keith’s better friends in the music business are Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett, both liberals.
Still, Keith concedes there are some entertainers (he won’t name names) who wouldn’t share a stage with him. “I just laugh at those people and I wear that as a badge of honor,” he says. “I’m thinking, `Where do you draw the line on that ?’ If your kid gets his toe cut off with a lawn mower and you rush him to the hospital and you get in there and find out the surgeon is a Republican, do you delay the surgery ?
If you can’t tell by now, Keith can be a bundle of contradictions. He may seem self-centered at times, but he has also raised $400,000 in a golf tournament to help the family of original bandmate Scott Smith, whose 2-year-old daughter, Ally, died last year of cancer. Dealing with an issue of that magnitude made him drop any “kitty fight” with the Dixie Chicks.
Keith had a public feud with the Dixie Chicks over the song “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue”, as well as over comments they made about President George W. Bush on stage during a concert in London. The lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, Natalie Maines, publicly stated that Keith’s song was “ignorant, and it makes country music sound ignorant.”
Keith publicly declared he was done feuding with Maines ‘because he’s realized there are far more important things to concentrate on’ Since then he has appeared with them several times for benefit shows and commercials.
And while Keith may be a hawk on the war against terrorism, he’s also a free spirit “I don’t apologize for being patriotic… If there is something socially incorrect about being patriotic and supporting your troops then that is too bad, because I’m not going to budge on that at all. And that has nothing to do with politics”.