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The 'king and queen of Nashville' stand up to Bush

It's like the Dixie Chicks, part two, but this time, Bush loses.
 
 
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We all remember when the Dixie Chicks had the courage (or gall, depending on your political alignment) to say they were ashamed that Bush was their president. The uproar that ensued seemed ridiculously disproportionate to the relative tameness of their comment. I mean, lots of us are pretty much ashamed to have Bush in the White House, and many of us have voiced much stronger condemnations of the man.

But, owing largely to a) the relative conservatism of the country music world, and b) the relatively higher approval rating of the president at the time, the 'Chicks were roundly booed across the south, even as liberals and progressives flocked to Borders to buy their latest album in support.

All the attacks that rained down on the Dixie Chicks makes this so much sweeter. Yesterday, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, the husband-and-wife superstars of country music, laid into President Bush about his inconceivable bunging-up of the response to Hurricane Katrina.

McGraw:

There's no reason why someone can't go down there who's supposed to be the leader of the free world … and say, “I'm giving you a job to do and I'm not leaving here until it's done. And you're held accountable, and you're held accountable, and you're held accountable.

”This is what I've given you to do, and if it's not done by the time I get back on my plane, then you're fired and someone else will be in your place."

Hill:

"It is a huge, huge problem and it's embarrassing. […] I fear for our country if we can't handle our people [during] a natural disaster. And I can't stand to see it. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out point A to point B ... And they can't even skip from point A to point B. […] It's just screwed up."

Over at HuffPo, Eric Alterman puts it into perspective:

Unlike the Dixie Chicks who spoke their minds on the eve of the Iraq war about being embarrassed to be from the same state as Bush and were essentially banned from country radio stations drunk on patriotism, my hunch is neither Hill nor McGraw will pay any kind of price for criticizing the president and letting an expletive fly. Defending incompetence does not usually arouse deep passion among radio jocks or music fans.

Worse for Bush, the McGraw-Hill public flogging comes just days after an Elon University poll revealed a clear majority of voters in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida disapprove or strongly disapprove of Bush's performance in office. Two days later came the stunning poll results published in the Indianapolis Star that showed Hoosiers statewide giving Bush just a 37 job approval rating, down 18 points in one year. In 2004, Bush won Indiana, a longtime Republican bastion akin to the Deep South, by 21 points over John Kerry.

Is this what it looks like when the base begins to crumble?

Matthew Wheeland is AlterNet's managing editor.