(A review of Ted Nugent’s latest book Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto from Regnery Publishing, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company.)
I love this book.
If Ted Nugent were a founding father in the days of the American Colonies, he would’ve been the sort of fellow that entered Independence Hall clad head to toe in buckskin; parked out front of the hall would have been Ted’s wagon and in it would have been an 18 point buck that he had dropped and an Indian guide waiting for the man to get back out to the hunt. He would have addressed the delegates with a bow and quiver of arrows slung over his shoulder, a Stratocaster leaning against the door and his message would echo that of Patrick Henry: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death.
Any fan of rock ‘n roll is already familiar with Ted’s guitar virtuosity, with the Amboy Dukes and his solo creations like “Stranglehold,” “Wango Tango” or “Cat Scratch Fever.” Ted Nugent kicks ass — of this there can be no question.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that while I have never spent any time with Ted Nugent, my wife has — sort of. During the 1980s, my wife was employed by Chrysalis records in the A &R department. While there, she was charged with babysitting an up-and-coming band called Broken Glass. Ted was rehearsing across the hall with Damn Yankees and got into an argument with the punk guitarist of Broken Glass. My wife, all 5 foot 7 inches of her, was forced to referee a match worthy of the WWE. She prevailed on the wannabe rock star to settle down, and the band was never heard from again. To this day, Sherri remembers Ted’s machine gun-like delivery of threats and insults to the punk.
The only time I ever saw Ted Nugent personally was at WABC Radio in New York. I was working for Rush Limbaugh, and Ted was doing promotion on an earlier book. He was bouncing around like a cannonball, ricocheting from wall-to-wall, alternately high-fiving and hugging, greeting and engaging the radio station staff. The guy seemed to make time for everyone. The man has energy that could power a city. Ted, White and Blue harnesses that same kind of energy. In it, Ted Nugent opines on subjects as varied as crime, personal responsibility, religion, the military, taxation, and the failure of gun control.
Ted Nugent is a thinker– a man who loves life and who is thoroughly comfortable in the person he is. Brutally honest, the reader will find themselves struggling to disagree with Ted’s truth.
Ted uses his patented Crowbar Logic to pound you into rhetorical submission — his words cut right to the core conservatism — right to the core value of liberty. From the opening introduction by radio legend Bob Coburn, the host of “Rockline,” and across the nearly 300 other pages, Ted takes you topic by topic across his blueprint for America — his “contract” with America.
An early nugget is his desire to mandate that the movie “Old Yeller” be shown to children from elementary through high school to teach the vital lessons of our relationship with animals. From there, it’s off to the races with Ted describing in rapid-fire fashion his day in the life — it goes on for six pages. Many in this country don’t have a six-page week, and sadly some don’t have a six-page life — Ted Nugent does. Ted Nugent is a non-stop living, rocking, shooting, hunting, arguing, thinking machine — a man equally comfortable ripping it up in the rock studio, on the rock stage, or quietly sitting in a blind getting ready to drop his prey.
Ted is honest about his later-in-life political awakening and the fact that this rock ‘n roller who made it through the 60s and 70s avoiding the classic addictions of drugs and alcohol (and he condemns those rock stars who would embrace that lifestyle) wasn’t always as dialed in as he is today.
Ted reveals that his awakening didn’t come until November 4, 1979, when on the road he discovered what was being perpetrated against American citizens in Tehran, Iran at the American embassy. Ted relates the story of how he woke up at that time and understood just what was at stake in the world — that our enemies want to kill us and that they must be completely vanquished and destroyed. This 60-year-old man has lived that commitment ever since — going on to tour with the USO on numerous occasions to places in Afghanistan and Iraq alike. One memorable tale in the book comes when he talks about boosting the lock on a Humvee that becomes jammed in the war zone outside of Fallujah.
In Chapter 3, “If I Were President”, Ted describes what he would do if he were running things. These are some real conversation starters. Among the lengthy list are the following: take appropriate oil and gas from Mexico in the Middle East as payment for all debts we are owed by them and all foreign aid except for cases of extreme natural disasters; refuse to fund health care for people who don’t care about their health and who choose to live lifestyles universally considered unhealthy, like intentionally ingesting poisons like tobacco to the point of cancer, drugs and alcohol to the point of cirrhosis, bad food to the point of obesity, etc.
President Ted would also decree that the second amendment is a national concealed weapons permit for all non-felon Americans. He would limit gun-free zones and announce globally that anyone who is armed and who invades America through unauthorized ports of entry would be shot on sight.
Additionally, President Ted would institute a national castle doctrine encouraging all American citizens to shoot to neutralize any and all unauthorized invaders of their homes and places of business, and then he would give presidential medals of freedom to those who do. OK, Nuge, where do I sign up?
One of one of the more thoughtful passages in Ted’s book is his discussion of the soulnessness in America and the fact that so many among us are soulless people who purchase bling-bling, tobacco, booze and excesses, then claim they can’t afford a sandwich and an apple for their kids’ school lunch. In terms of spirituality, Ted discusses the inherent hypocritical notion of the big opulent church and that he stayed out of them because they remind him more of “cashed strapped businesses” and “faith for sale scams” rather than houses of worship. While Ted certainly doesn’t condemn anybody for participating in this kind of system, he says that on a Sunday morning, he prefers to sit quietly in the forests and fens, climb trees in the woods or take natural, soul-cleansing predator stalks in his gardens while watching the sun peek over the horizon and into his soul.
Ted Nugent thinks like one of America’s founding fathers. He is a true conservative, one who seeks to conserve not just the individual’s liberties but also to conserve nature itself. Ted is a visionary, a man who would have been just as comfortable sitting alongside Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, and Washington as he would be doing a third encore with “Cat Scratch Fever” at a rock festival.
Yes, you could have easily spotted Ted in the mural at Independence Hall, covered head to toe in buckskin, chowing down on a venison burger with a battered six string slung across his back and a Tennessee squirrel rifle at his side.
He’s the one grinning because, in his mind, we already whooped the redcoats and ended their tyranny.
Ted, White and Blue: The Nugent Manifesto is a must read — especially if you’re looking for a fresh set of eyes on the modern world. Get this book; you’ll be glad you did, and you will come to understand that the artist sometimes creates art not just on the stage or on the canvas, but also in the realm of the political and philosophical. This is the art of the free thinker.