Doyle asked Merle Haggard about President Obama, and the traditional ‘stone-country’ singer said he enjoyed meeting Obama and found the President to be quite different from what he had seen in the media. At one point, Haggard gets very straight-forward:
“It’s really almost criminal what they do with our President. There seems to be no shame or anything. They call him all kinds of names all day long, saying he’s doing certain things that he’s not. It’s just a big old political game that I don’t want to be part of. There are people spending their lives putting him down. I’m sure some of it’s true and some of it’s not. I was very surprised to find the man very humble and he had a nice handshake. His wife was very cordial to the guests and especially me. They made a special effort to make me feel welcome. It was not at all the way the media described him to be.”
Doyle asked, ‘What’s the biggest lie out there about Obama?’
“He’s not conceited. He’s very humble about being the President of the United States, especially in comparison to some presidents we’ve had who come across like they don’t need anybody’s help. I think he knows he’s in over his head. Anybody with any sense who takes that job and thinks they can handle it must be an idiot.”
When Doyle asked if Haggard talked to the President much, the interview took a much lighter tone:
“I told him, “You and I have something in common: our wives are both taller than we are.” And he said “No! She’s got on 3-inch heels! And she is not that tall!” He was like me. He grabbed that real quick.”
Republicans shame themselves and this nation in their spite of the president of the United States. Reading Haggard’s words again is like a glorious breath of fresh air – an affirmation and validation of the thoughts many of us have been feeling.
Merle Haggard was 73 at the time the Rolling Stone interview. That night he stood alongside other living legends like Sir Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey. And this was not his first invitation to the White House. Merle Haggard has also been the guest of both President Nixon and President Reagan.
It’s easy to see why Merle Haggard is loved by millions. He’s real. Having been involved in the music industry in Nashville, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Haggard years ago – a truly charming man. It’s as if that rough exterior he shows, from once leading a very rough life, just sort of melts away when you shake his hand. You can feel his warmth. And looking into his eyes, you can almost see through to his beautiful heart.
Thank you, Merle Haggard. You are very loved.
(Story cross-posted on Daily Kos and Liberals Unite)
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.