Only when it fits their narrative will the liberal establishment praise a country entertainer, and when Garth Brooks performed at President Biden’s inauguration, that’s exactly what happened. Jimmy Kimmel even had the nerve to tweet “hats off to Garth Brooks for putting our country first.” The DJs on contemporary country radio chimed in, parroting how beautiful and awesome Garth’s performance was.
I don’t remember the entertainment world voicing such lavish adulation when Lee Greenwood, The Firstmen of Country and Toby Keith, among others, performed at President Trump’s 2017 inauguration, a gig for which Brooks, ironically or not declined, claiming he had a previous commitment and didn’t want to disappoint his fans.
Speaking of Toby Keith, one week before Brooks’ PR stunt he and fellow patriot Ricky Skaggs privately attended a White House ceremony where President Trump awarded both with the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor given to artists. Not surprisingly, partisan critics tweeted their displeasure. Keith, of course, is no stranger to controversy. Remember when Natalie Maines of the group then known as the Dixie Chicks slammed Keith’s patriotic anthem “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)? Well, we know that the Dixie Chicks, who changed their name to the so-called anti-racist “Chicks”, got themselves in hot water among their traditional country fans. Maybe a better name for the group would be the “Red Hens.”
After his performance at the inauguration, Brooks, who claims to be a Republican, appeared to relish his interactions with Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama and former First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.
Like his choice of musical genre (what was that Jekyll and Hyde Chris Gaines stuff all about?), Brooks’ political preferences seem at best to be ambivalent. When Brooks accepted the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award in 1991, he remarked how he loved his Georges (meaning Jones and Strait), and then with a deer in the headlight look realizing another George was there, quipped, “and you too Mr. President” at Bush 41 sitting in the front row. Brooks might be a Republican, but so are RINOs Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse and Pat Toomey.
Unless he sincerely clarifies his reasons for shunning one inauguration and performing at another, Garth Brooks’ music is currently off my playlist. As of this moment, I’m enjoying a video of Ricky Skaggs’ “Highway 40 Blues.” Now I just need to get hold of the official video of the Toby Keith and Cledus T. Judd duet “I Love NASCAR.”