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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 05/23/2006

Dixie Chicks: Finally In Tune With the Times

By Liz Kelly

(AP/Time Magazine)

Remember the Dixie Chicks? They were rising meteorically in the world of country music until one fateful day in 2003 when Natalie Maines, one-third of the female trio, made an anti-Bush statement (To wit: she said she was "ashamed" that the President was from her homestate of Texas) and became an enemy of the state.

The band was summarily boycotted, threatened with physical harm, labeled as terrorist sympathizers and pretty much disappeared from the country landscape even though Maines later apologized for her remark. One could almost dismiss the Dixie Chicks as a post-9/11 era lesson learned: You're either with Bush or against him; Don't mess with Texas; "Mission Accomplished"; etc.

Not so fast, though. The band has continued to tour and record and, in a new Time Magazine article, Maines takes back her apology and adds that she thinks President Bush isn't "owed any respect whatsoever."

Don't hold your breath waiting for Dixie Chick Backlash, Part 2.

When Maines first spoke out against Bush, the administration was riding a wave of patriotism and hadn't yet drained America's appetite for war in Iraq with non-existent WMDs or a long-term troop presence. At the time, celebrities speaking out against the war were largely of the anti-right wing knee-jerk variety (Sean Penn, Barbra Streisand, Martin Sheen).

Almost three years later, Bush's approval rating has tumbled precipitously and heavy hitters like Neil Young (who rushed an anti-war album into production), Madonna and even -- gasp! -- grandmothers are questioning the administration, the war and Bush's leadership skills.

And the quiet you hear is the lack of public outcry. Which is a good thing. The country is moving back into balance.

There's room for Maines, Young, Cindy Sheehan and all the anti-war grannies one can muster. But there's also room for Toby Keith (Remember him, too? He sang that putting a boot in the a** of our enemies is the American way) and all those other pro-war celebrities falling all over themselves to support Bush.

By Liz Kelly  | May 23, 2006; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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