Toby Keith was identified with right-wing politics, but the country singer, who died Monday at 62, was much more politically complex. His choice to become a post-9/11 culture-war champion overshadowed the work of a musician who was funnier, subtler, and more politically nuanced. While Keith was known for his conservative views and pro-troops stance, he also had a surprising alignment with certain Democratic policies.
Released in 2002, "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)" provoked a strong response and became one of Keith's most controversial songs. Its jingoistic lyrics and patriotic fervor resonated with many Americans, particularly in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. However, for many liberals, Toby Keith was seen as a cultural villain, representing a hawkish and nationalist ideology.
Despite the perception of Keith as a staunch conservative, he had a more complex political identity. He performed at Donald Trump's presidential inauguration in 2017, aligning himself with the Republican Party. However, behind the scenes, Keith was known to have supported certain Democratic policies, making him a pro-troops Democrat. This political duality showcases the nuanced nature of his beliefs.