I guess now we know that of all of Hank Williams Jr.’s rowdy friends, President Barack Obama isn’t one of them.
I guess we know that.
In an entirely expected turn of events Tuesday, Williams issued an apology one day after ESPN pulled his introductory song for Monday Night Football because the singer (if that’s what you call it) used an analogy involving Adolph Hitler and Obama to make a political point on Fox News.
You’ve no doubt heard Williams’ ramblings on Fox News by now; there’s no need for me to take you through all of it here. In part, though, he said of Obama’s summer golf outing with House Speaker John Boehner: “It’d be like Hitler playing golf with (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu.”
Asked to clarify, Williams most certainly did. “They’re the enemy,” he added, adding that by “they” he meant Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
Williams issued his apology in a statement posted on his Facebook page. And we all know that if you apologize on Facebook, you really mean it.
“The thought of the leaders of both parties jukin and high fiven on a golf course while so many families are struggling to get by simply made me boil over and make a dumb statement,” Williams wrote on Facebook and on his website: dumbcountrysingers.com. Just joking about that; I have no idea about his website. “I am very sorry if it offended anyone.”
It’s one of those non-apology apologies. Williams didn’t write that he was sorry for saying what he said. He wrote that he was sorry if anyone was offended. Get the difference?
Oh well. In a country divided as sharply as America, this kind of stuff comes as no surprise. I am, however, somewhat surprised ESPN pulled Hank’s song, although it was definitely the right thing to do.
I’m not going crazy over this one. Williams never compared Obama to Hitler. He didn’t go that far. But if he’s not aware that any reference to Hitler in comparison to almost anyone is out of bounds, then it’s probably too late to set him straight.
I don’t know much about Williams, except that his father is one of the legendary figures in country music. Hank Jr., has done well, too, I suppose.
Personally, I was happy when Obama and Boehner got together for a round of golf. The division in Washington, D.C., is a bad thing for the country, I believe, and efforts to diminish the polarization of the parties is a welcome sight. I’m also not naive enough to believe 18 holes of golf between the House Speaker and the President are going to resolve the nation’s ills. But how can it be a bad thing?
Williams certainly thought it was in a statement he issued through his publicist Monday night.
“Some of have strong opinions and are often misunderstood,” he stated. “My analogy was extreme – but it was to make a point. I was simply trying to explain how stupid it seemed to me – how ludicrous that pairing was. They’re polar opposits and it made no sense. They don’t see eye-to-eye and never will. I have always respect the office of the president.”
Nothing says respect like a Hitler reference.
Williams is a singer. I’m a columnist and blogger. Neither of us really belong in the political arena.
Bottom line: Be careful before comparing anyone to Hitler, one of the worst people in history. Probably best just to avoid any references to him.