KISS’s Gene Simmons: ‘I’m Very Conservative,’ Regrets Voting for ‘Unqualified’ Obama
Appearing as a guest on CNN’s Parker-Spitzer, rocker Gene Simmons of the rock band KISS and the TV show Family Jewels related to viewers that he is "very conservative" on fiscal and foreign policy issues, voiced his support for President Bush and the war on terrorism - including "nation building" in Iraq - and declared that he wishes he could take back his vote for President Obama from the 2008 election.
As he later explained that he normally does not talk about politics because he believes entertainers are not qualified to speak about such matters, he also took a jab at Hollywood liberal Sean Penn and suggested that politically outspoken celebrities are "morons."
Simmons, who has a history of declaring his love for America because of the rescue of his mother from Nazi concentration camps, also discussed his visit to the house of Holocaust victim Anne Frank and its inclusion in his TV show Family Jewels.
When asked by co-host Kathleen Parker about his support for President Bush and the invasion of Iraq, Simmons revealed some of his voting history:
Well, I'm like most Americans, we don't vote by party, we both by the person because a person is bigger than the party, which is why sometimes the Democrats get in and sometimes the Republicans get in. I voted for President Bush, I voted for President Clinton, and, although I do want my vote back, I voted for President Obama.
After Simmons declared, "By the way, as a wake-up call to all of you, al-Qaeda doesn't care what political party you are, they want you all to die," co-host Eliot Spitzer brought up the issue of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, leading Simmons to expand on his foreign policy and political views:
I don't care about that. ... No, I don't care whether there are or not. And politicians lie every day. I believe clearly that if you don't deal with a nuclear Iran now, and if you don't deal with al-Qaeda before it gets its hands on dirty weapons and if you don't stop the nonsense there, and, yes, I think there's got to be some nation building. I'm a very conservative foreign policy person. Fiscally, I'm very conservative. I don't believe in welfare states. I believe in giving people jobs. Most importantly, I believe I'm like most Americans, I'm socially liberal.
After Parker asked why he regretted voting for Obama, he suggested that he was caught up in the historical significance of Obama’s candidacy but now believes he was "unqualified" for the job:
Because I voted because the man that was running was a moment in history. I, in the back of my mind, I wanted to show the world that America - the land of slaves, the land that tortured its black population for hundreds of years - is also the place of hope that could give an African-American a chance to lead the most powerful place on the face of the planet. However, if you take a look at the resume, you couldn't find somebody, in retrospect, more unqualified - two years in public office, never ran his own company. So, I'm, after the fact, I was questioning the qualification.
When asked why he does speak out politically more often, he ended up sarcastically taking a shot at Sean Penn and other political celebrities:
What I discovered, however, by reading the Wall Street Journal but especially by seeing all the pop culture news is, I never knew that in America that our foreign policy was actually decided in Malibu. I never knew that. I didn't know that Sean Penn was our foreign policy expert. It's a revelation. That's what you want to hear is morons who are actually in movies and playing guitars.
During the Iraq war debate in April 2003, Simmons, whose mother survived the Holocaust after nearly all her family were killed, declared his love of America for rescuing her as he wrote on his Web site a response to anti-war liberals who were trashing America. In an April 17, 2003, posting, Simmons wrote:
America is the world's only hope for a bright future. Yes. I mean that. Yes, I know you live in another country and your country is cool, too. But, America is the only Superpower. There are no others. And that means, the world is a better place. Because if Nazi Germany or Communist Russia were the only superpowers, we would all be either dead or forced to live under their regimes. America is not interested in ruling your country. If you think it does, smoking crack may be your answer.
I wasn't born here. But, I have a love for this country and its people that knows no bounds. I will forever be grateful to America for going into World War II, when it had nothing to gain, in a country that was far away...and rescued my Mother from the Nazi German Concentration Camps.
She is alive and I am alive because of America. And, if you have a problem with America, YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ME.
During his appearance on Parker Spitzer, he also talked about his visit to Holocaust victim Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam and its inclusion in his Family Jewels reality show. Simmons:
I will tell you initially we went there and I thought it was going to be sort of a sad day and just a sort of a historical overview, but it impacted me so much that I broke down because when I looked at the face of Anne Frank, a 13-year-old Jewish Dutch girl, I immediately saw my mother who, at 14 years of age, was herself dragged into the concentration camps and saw her whole family wiped out.
And the problem with ... information and history and schools is you think of it as far away. It's in the history books, the Holocaust. It's just a phrase. And the truth is it happened yesterday. It happened to my mother. I never met my grandmothers or my grandfathers. They were all wiped up in the gas chambers of Nazi Germany. And the phrase, if we don't learn from history, we're doomed to repeat it, actually means something. And I would urge everybody out there in all seriousness, if you haven't read a book by a 13-year-old girl while she was alive, you must read the Diary of Anne Frank because it's an inspirational book about life.