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Johnny Cash likely is spinning in his grave

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I’ve always thought it’s unfair to attribute opinions to dead people that they never expressed when they were alive.

That happened last night when some country singer named John Rich said this at a  CONCERT and rally for John McCain in Florida

“I’m sure Johnnny Cash would have been a John McCain supporter if he was still around.”

There was little or nothing in Johnny Cash’s career to suggest that Rich is correct.  Indeed, quite the opposite would seem to be the case.

Cash criticized the Vietnam War, CHAMPIONED the rights of Native Americans, supported Jimmy Carter’s presidential candidacies in  1976 and 1980, and, shortly before he died, asked his daughter Rosanne to tell her concert audiences of his opposition to the war in Iraq.

Johnny Cash would have supported John McCain? Not likely.

Incidentally, John Rich’s singing partner, Kenny Alphin, has endorsed Barack Obama.  I guess we know who’s the brains of that outfit.

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20 Comments

  1. your last line of that shows you have no brains just because some is endosring mcCain their are not stupid wow all this has become is replicans and democracts trading childish insuts grow up

    “Incidentally, John Rich’s singing partner, Kenny Alphin, has endorsed Barack Obama. I guess we know who’s the brains of that outfit.”

  2. I’ll make you a deal, Jason. I’ll grow up if you’ll learn how to spell and punctuate. As for the last line of my post, I thought it was pretty clever. And every word was spelled correctly. Nor did my post run four sentences together with no punctuation, as your comment did. And you say I’m the one with no brains?

  3. As usual Pat, when you cannot come up with a ligitimate argument about someones opinion, you attack the persons spelling and punctuation. This is not the first time you have done this. You might bear in mind that most people have real or normal jobs that don’t allow them to sit on their butt writing articles everyday. Your arrogance might be the reason you get a lot of views but very few responses to your articles.

  4. Look, Paul, this guy didn’t merely take issue with me. He said I have “no brains.” Sorry, but I can’t resist getting snarky with someone who says something like that in a comment that’s so poorly written. Actually, I sometimes engage in relatively polite exchanges with ideological adversaries here. I also have been known to acknowledge mistakes when those adversaries catch me making them. As for the ratio of page-views to comments on this blog, the former are far more important. If I got half as many visitors but five times as many comments, I would be disappointed. Anyway, yours was the 3,602nd comment posted here since Jan. 7. That’s not too bad.

  5. Orlando Clay

    Well, let’s face it: He had to say that, whether it was true or not, since the overwhelming majority of country music fans tend to be far right of center and are not generally tolerant of those who hold opposing views (see: country music establishment v. The Dixie Chicks). Interestingly enough, even though the Dixie Chicks were eventually proven right regarding their views about the decider-in-chief, I never heard of any apologies forthcoming from country radio programmers, Toby Keith, Charlie Daniels, Lee Greenwood, or Bush butt-kisser extraordinaire Sean Hannity. Seems they have trouble admitting when they’re wrong as well.

  6. One other point I should make for the edification of Jason and Paul: I snidely referred to Kenny Alphin as “the brains of the outfit” not only because he’s endorsed Barack Obama but also because John Rich had the gall to declare himself “sure” of how Johnny Cash would have felt, without one whit of evidence to support that conjecture. Indeed, as my review of Cash’s politics would suggest, it seems far more likely that he would have endorsed Obama, if anyone.

  7. Orlando: You make an interesting point about the country music establishment. When Johnny Cash made an album in the 1960s lamenting the mistreatment of Native Americans, the establishment turned on him, and the album couldn’t get airtime on country radio. Years later, Johnny expressed his feelings about the industry establishment with a full-page ad in Billboard magazine that bore the photo you see at the top of this post.

  8. OK, while we’re on the subject of Johnny Cash, a few recollections come to mind that have nothing to do with politics:

    I remember the chills I got when I first heard his voice. It was the spring of 1956, and I put a 45-rpm platter bearing the Sun Records label on a turntable at a local record store. The song was “I Walk the Line.” The voice seemed somehow off-key, but it immediately struck a chord with me. It was the perfect voice for that kind of music.

    A few years later, I saw him in person at a county fair, dressed in black and cool as hell. He grabbed the microphone and in that low voice of his sang this line: “How high’s the water, Mama? Two feet high and risin’.” I’ll never forget it.

    The third observation I have to offer is my opinion that this line from “Folsom Prison Blues” is perhaps the most chilling in the history of popular music, especially as Cash sang it: “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.”

  9. basically what you said, is that anyone for McCain had no brains …. which is a blanket statement thats shows ingorance… you and i know McCain supporters and obama supporters have brains….. everyone has different views in this country… that does not make them stupid.

    all i am saying is that both party calling people names is something that should have ending i high school, which it seems you can’t let go… i know my grammar sucks but my math skills are off the charts

  10. Pat do you realize that John Rich has been one of the best writers of music in the past five years with countless of hits for other artis not even including Big and Rich?

  11. sorry, artist

  12. I dont know if I would say that Kenny is the brains of the outfit

  13. Ryan: Yes, I’m aware of John Rich’s success, but I would guess that most of my readers were not until now. Country music is like rap music in that some stars are known only to big fans of that particular genre. So-called crossover artists sometimes become known to the general public.

  14. Incidentally, a 40-year-old documentary about Johnny Cash airs Tuesday night on PBS. Here are the details:
    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080731/D9292L2G0.html

  15. I would venture to state that Johnny Cash would be more in favor of Barack Obama than he would be of John McCain. Johnny Cash showed time and time again that he was socially liberal.

    I remember the Johnny Cash Tribute after his death, and it was hosted by Tim Robbins. The country world went nuts trying to figure out why he would allow a liberal like Robbins to host the event.

    Perhaps, Johnny Cash and Tim Robbins were friends. The friendship started during the filming of “Dead Man Walking”. Both Cash and Robbins had many social beliefs that were in common.

    Pat, you were spot on with this topic.

  16. Your are quoted as saying “I’ve always thought it’s unfair to attribute opinions to dead people that they never expressed when they were alive.” Yet, you clearly have an agenda here and that is to show that (based on Cash’s own history) he would champion the liberal candidate. But actually that’s water under the bridge. What I wanted to make sure you knew is that did it ever occur to you that Cash may have voted for Jimmy Carter because it was his wife’s cousin. Ponder that for a while. I would probably vote for my wife’s cousin for president as well regardless of political affiliation. Family before business or politics. I must presume you did not know Jimmy Carter was June Carter Cash’s cousin or you would have clearly denoted this very important fact like all honest, reputable writers would.

  17. Mr. Cunningham, I have one more thing for you to investigate since you investigate your stories so well. On page 129 in Bill Miller’s book “Cash, An American Man” there is a reproduction of a letter to Johnny Cash from President Reagan in which Reagan wrote “Since I have the chance, I also want to thank you for the enthusiastic support you have given to various public causes over the years and in particular to the Republican Party.” This makes your ammunition to make your point seem very silly and trigger happy. I do agree with you that nobody should attribute an opinion to a dead person when they never expressed that opinion. I never heard Johnny Cash ever mention the name of John McCain. But, in order to make your point, you needed to back yourself up and in that you failed. In essence, I disagree to agree and I agree to disagree. Food for thought.

    P.S. Please don’t burn all your Johnny Cash albums now that you know he supported the Republican Party. We both know he always will be one of the greatest rock stars.

  18. Tony: Thanks for your comments. With regard to the Reagan letter mentioned in Bill Miller’s book, I could find only one other citation for it on the Internet (here: http://tinyurl.com/5a34ez). I’m sure it’s legitimate, but I can find other confirmations that Johnny Cash was a Republican. I did find this piece (http://tinyurl.com/5j7y4z) claiming that he was NOT a Republican, but it includes no convincing documentation. Notice, please, that I never said in my post that Cash was a Republican. I merely said that it seems unlikely, on the basis of his past support of the downtrodden and his opposition to the Vietnam war (and, according to his daughter, the Iraq war as well) that he would support John McCain’s presidential candidacy. As for the fact that Cash’s wife was related to Jimmy Carter, I knew that and absent-mindedly failed to include it in my post. Thanks for correcting the record. I still think it was presumptive of John Rich to say he was “sure Johnnny Cash would have been a John McCain supporter if he was still around.”

  19. I do know one thing that we both can agree on…Johnny Cash was an awesome performer even though he did sing off key at times. The point of liking Johnny Cash is not because he is/was a singer involved with all the minor technicalities of music but rather he was a singer such that when he sang a song to you, you believed it. Now that is something we should all respect. No matter his political leanings he is greatly missed.

  20. John Veer

    Hello Pat. Just something i wanted to share per JohnRich/Johnny Cash episode. This is an article from CMT.

    On Aug. 1, 2008, country artist John Rich, was quoted at a rally for John McCain as saying, “I’m sure Johnny Cash would have been a John McCain supporter if he was still around.” The quote ran on CMT.com. Since then, Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash sent CMT.com the following statement:

    “It is appalling to me that people still want to invoke my father’s name, five years after his death, to ascribe beliefs, ideals, values and loyalties to him that cannot possibly be determined and to try to further their own agendas by doing so. I knew my father pretty well, at least better than some of those who entitle themselves to his legacy and his supposed ideals, and even I would not presume to say publicly what I ‘know’ he thought or felt. This is especially dangerous in the case of political affiliation. It is unfair and presumptuous to use him to bolster any platform. I would ask that my father not be co-opted in this election for either side since he is clearly not here to defend or state his own allegiance.”

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