At This Rate, Kid Rock Will Be President Soon. What Are His Foreign-Policy Views?
Kid Rock is a true “American Bad Ass” who will never back down from a fight. Maybe that's why some Republicans think he should run for Senate.
Michigan Republicans are reportedly mulling a Senate run for heartland heartthrob Kid Rock, a country and rock star, who loves to “sit in the backyard sun and drink beer with dad,” according to his autobiographical song, “Drinking Beer With Dad.” Once unthinkable, Kid Rock for Senate is hardly unthinkable now: A professional wrestler has served multiple terms as governor of Minnesota, Christine “I dabbled in witchcraft” O’Donnell ran for the GOP Senate seat in Delaware in 2010, and Donald Trump became president in November.
Trump’s candidacy calcified an urban-rural divide among voters. Trump is New York-born and raised, but he got a pass because he does not exhibit “New York values.” Kid Rock, on the other hand, is not from New York, as another autobiographical song, “New York’s Not My Home,” attests.
In fact, Michigan is his home, and some Republicans think he’d be the perfect man to represent the state on Capitol Hill.
It wouldn’t be the self-proclaimed “King of White Trash’s” first foray into Republican politics. Rock was one of the first (and only) prominent celebrities to back Trump in his presidential bid, after initially supporting failed presidential candidate Ben Carson.
Rock, whose real name is Robert James Ritchie, hasn’t made his foreign-policy views known in detail, and his publicist did not respond to several requests from Foreign Policy for an interview or clarification of the rocker’s stances on international affairs. So we are left to puzzle over his public statements to try and piece together what a Kid Rock Doctrine might look like.
Be it North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, we can surmise that Rock is a true “American Bad Ass” who will never back down from a fight, which could set him apart from many of his colleagues in the upper chamber. When Tommy Lee sent Rock a bunch of “horrendous” messages using the Blackberry of his estranged wife, Pamela Anderson, Rock didn’t hesitate to clock Lee at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2007.
He’s likely strong on defense. His official biography states he is a “passionate supporter of those who serve in the US armed forces.” He also told the Guardian in 2015 he liked weapons and owned many, including a “Civil War cannon.”
Like Trump, the rock star may not be too bullish on supporting U.S. allies in Europe, however, if past statements are any indication. Kid Rock called the European dream his “nightmare” in an interview with Fox News in 2010, saying the American dream wasn’t what it used to be.
“It just reminds me of Europe,” he said. “I have nightmares that I’m going to wake up and everyone’s driving a Prius and living in a condo and we’re all getting health insurance.”
If he were to run for office, though, he would have to mind the obligatory baggage, including legal troubles. In 2005, he was charged with assaulting a DJ at Christie’s Cabaret, a strip club in Nashville. And in 2007, he was charged with battery for his involvement in a brawl at a Waffle House restaurant. Luckily, he’s already gotten his peccadilloes out of the way: His infamous sex tape, which hit the internet ages ago, is already old news.
Despite his run-ins with the law, he is reportedly a deputy reservist in the Oakley, Michigan police force.
He wouldn’t be the first celebrity to run for office, or even to win. Arnold Schwarzenegger, lead actor in Junior, a 1994 comedy in which he plays a male scientist who becomes pregnant, served as governor California. The star of Bedtime for Bonzo, the beloved 1951 comedy about a college professor stealing a lab chimp, Ronald Reagan, served as U.S. president from 1981 to 1989. And rapper Waka Flocka Flame ran a failed presidential bid in 2015.
However, like other crossover stars who are trying out a political career, Rock doesn’t take kindly to criticism.
“The problem I got is when people are like, ‘F*ck Kid Rock, he’s a piece of sh*t, white-trash whatever.’ I’m like, ‘You wouldn’t say that to me in a f*cking bar. You’ll get your f*cking wig peeled back. So don’t sit behind your computer and type it,’” he said in a 2011 interview.
Still, Rock is ready to debate the issues, but doesn’t get too bogged down in the details. He described his typical media diet to the Guardian in a 2015 interview.
“I turn on my computer and look at porn a little bit, see what’s going on in the news, but that’s about it,” he said.
Correction: This article initially incorrectly stated Tommy Lee was the bassist for Mötley Crüe. He was the drummer.
Photo credit: TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. @robbiegramer