After proudly and loudly flirting with a run for Senate in his beloved Michigan after the 2016 election, Kid Rock finally put the kibosh on that wide-eyed idea. But as the Grammy winning rocker turned political personality continues making all the wrong headlines, the fact his candidacy was ever taken seriously by anyone in politics becomes an increasingly damning referendum on the state of the Republican party.
On Friday morning, video surfaced of a clearly inebriated Kid Rock monologuing on stage at his bar in Nashville. The issue, to be clear, isn’t Kid Rock grabbing a microphone for more time in the spotlight. Anyone willing to patronize Kid Rock’s Big Ass Honky Tonk & Rock ‘N Roll Steakhouse would undoubtedly be thrilled by an impromptu speech from its owner, namesake, and inspiration, right?
Even more obvious, though, is that at least some of those in attendance last week for Kid Rock’s drunken, definitely-not-racist ramblings found them cringe-worthy enough to elicit laughter at his expense.
What, are random “jokes” about Oprah Winfrey and Joy Behar performing sex acts not amusing? Do you find it incomprehensible instead of funny that a man like Kid Rock feels compelled to drop f-bombs at Kathy Lee Gifford, of all people? And obviously, anyone preemptively pulling the “I’m not racist” card – after attacking one of the most revered black women in the world, no less – definitely does so without any hate in their heart whatsoever.
Kid Rock, he wants everyone to know, apropos of nothing other than his state of mind, is not the bad guy, people.
Unfortunately, Kid Rock’s remarks can’t be explained by a “mental breakdown,” as the disgusted woman in the audience frequently heard on the clip suggests. The casual racism and misogyny espoused at his bar last week have been hallmarks of his surprising late-career evolution into a Republican political pundit.
But until fall 2017, when he announced on The Howard Stern Show that his pointed musings about running for Senate in 2020 were a publicity stunt, there was even a likelier possibility that Kid Rock would run for elected office than seemed fathomable. Why? As he told the Detroit Free Press, Kid Rock was being lobbied by officials within the Trump administration to actually make good on his baseless boasts about running.
“You know, I was hearing from the White House weekly,” he said in June 2018. “There were governors and senators that endorsed me. There were people that wrote me letters from all over … So to those people, I apologize.”
Whether Republicans can oust Democrat Gary Peters, one of two sitting Senators up for re-election next fall in states carried by Donald Trump, remains to be seen. But that the GOP was only saved from itself by Kid Rock finally copping to his bluff is another reminder of how removed from normalcy the party remains leading up to 2020.
Last modified: January 22, 2020 11:41 PM UTC