Stephen Stills On Obama Vs. Romney: “Blazing Saddles”
“At least Bush was affable,” Stills writes. “I don’t care if it’s a debate and you’re running for office. It’s not right to be that rude to the President of the United States, let alone anybody else. Also, you don’t get offended when you get corrected.”
It’s a surprising turn for Stills, who tends to be the most politically level-headed member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. In an interview with CBS Local in June of this year, Stills expressed regrets about CSNY’s politically-charged film Deja Vu, which documented the band’s 2006 “Freedom Of Speech” tour, as they were promoting Neil Young‘s Living With War album.
“I quite frankly detested that movie that we made,” he told CBS Local. “First of all, it was personal, I was 40 pounds heavier! But I thought it was (politically) just a little over-the-top, and it got a little unnecessary. It went to a certain point, and then it went over it. I didn’t care for it.”
Young’s Living With War included songs like “Let’s Impeach The President” (aimed at then-serving President Bush), and the tour’s merchandise included flip-flops with George W. Bush’s face on them (a reference to the song’s lyrics, which accuse Bush of “flip-flopping” on various issues). Stills says that the flip-flops were funny, but the “flip” side to doing a concert with such a partisan message is, “You get beer chucked at you! You just ask, ‘Does this help?'”
Addressing the current state of political dialogue in America, he told CBS Local, “Everybody’s gotta just calm down. The vitriol out there is just insufferable. I can’t shake the feeling that I’m on the set of Blazing Saddles!”
Stills extended that metaphor in his op-ed: “I feel like I’m watching a long, drawn-out version of Blazing Saddles – all of the characters are there. At last, Obama found the Waco Kid. That’s Bill Clinton. Karl Rove is Hedley Lamarr, and the Republican caucus is the guys from the fire scene. They’re all in there. I swear.”
And although he lamented the amount of vitriol in America’s political discourse in June, he has a bit for the Republican candidate in his op-ed: “He’ll be whatever he thinks he has to be in order to win. He is just raw ambition with no real ideology. Great, he’s got ambition. I have the ambition to play quarterback for the New York Jets. It’s not gonna happen…I never in my lifetime thought I would see a creepier politician than Richard Nixon, but in the last few days, it became clear that Willard Mitt Romney is really, really creepy. ‘Icky creepy,’ as my granddaughter would put it.”
As for the current president, he says, “I think that President Obama has done the best he possibly could during the first term considering that his opposition was willing to do whatever necessary to destroy him, even if it meant damaging the country in the process. I love Obama’s calm and dignity. A lot of people confuse that with being aloof.”
Read the entire op-ed here.
– Brian Ives, CBS Local