Oliver Anthony Doesn’t Love Republicans Back

The far right may need a new favorite singer-songwriter. After Oliver Anthony’s song “Rich Men North of Richmond” summited the charts as a conservative hit, Anthony is now distancing himself from the right. In a video update, the musician said it was “aggravating” to be championed by conservative media and figures, who “act like we’re buddies and act like we’re fighting the same struggle here.” He went on to address his song prompting the first question at this week’s Republican presidential debate.

Anthony’s comments come after an August 23 Fox & Friends interview where he advocated for community and said the diversity of the U.S. is “what makes us strong” — to the disappointment of some racist conservative fans, as Stereogum reported. “We need to learn to harness that and appreciate it and not use it as a political tool to keep everyone separate from each other,” Anthony said.

If you’ve only heard of Anthony’s song because it was lauded by the far right and has lyrics trashing people on welfare, you might be confused. But there’s a pretty simple explanation here. In a previous video, Anthony said he’s “pretty dead center” politically — so he’s never claimed to be a Republican himself. And in his new video message, he also distances himself from those on “the left” who claim he’s anti-poor for those welfare lyrics, saying “it’s obvious that all of my songs that address class defend the poor.” So let’s go back to what else “Rich Men” is saying. Most of the song just amounts to a distrust of politicians (“Lord knows they all just wanna have total control”) and a hatred of taxes (“‘Cause your dollar ain’t shit and it’s taxed to no end”). Even the anti-welfare stuff really goes back to taxes.

So if Anthony isn’t on the left or right, and doesn’t like the government or taxes … he’s a libertarian, right? Look at the introduction post he made on Facebook: “MILLIONS have died protecting the liberties we have,” he wrote. “Freedom of speech is such a precious gift. Never in world history has the world had the freedom it currently does. Don’t let them take it away from you.” Too bad he’s not even the best libertarian folk singer-songwriter currently around.“It’s like, I wrote that song about those people, you know?” he said, adding that the song is “a lot bigger than Joe Biden.” (At the debate, Florida governor Ron DeSantis spun it into an attack on Congress: “Those rich men north of Richmond have put us in this situation.”)



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