Seeger is most often revered on the left for appearing on the "Smothers Brothers" comedy show on CBS in 1968 to sing his song "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy." It contained a very obvious rhetorical knifing of President Lyndon Johnson for being a moron to keep American forces in Vietnam: "Waist deep! Neck deep! Soon even a tall man'll be over his head, we're waist deep in the Big Muddy! And the big fool says to push on!"
"Where Have All the Flowers Gone?" contains the same arrogance about the military-industrial complex wasting our stupid soldiers: "Where have all the soldiers gone? Gone to graveyards every one / When will they ever learn?" Colbert could only see this work as a hook for a joke that the song could be used as a jingle by Miracle-Gro.
Seeger fanatics will declare, as one Occupy Wall Street protester named Larry Manzino declared last October to The New York Times, "He's a guy who never caved, a guy who had integrity, a guy who stood up and said no when he had to." Seeger's clearly a man who always hated America at war. In 1940, he was singing, "I hate war, and so does Eleanor, and we won't be safe till everybody's dead." And: "Wendell Wilkie and Franklin D. / Both agree on killing me." Even FDR was a "big fool" in the "big muddy" when Hitler was on the march.
Guess who wasn't a "big fool" to Seeger? The writer Ronald Radosh was delighted to discover in 2007 that Seeger had written a song opposing Joseph Stalin. "I should have asked to see the gulags when I was in (the) USSR," he wrote to Radosh, but he had never written against that inhumanity when it mattered. Instead, he wrote a tribute song to Vietnamese communist dictator Ho Chi Minh.
Colbert should have read Mark Steyn before booking (and slobbering over) Seeger. In the Washington Post, he wrote, "with its usual sly elan, hailed him as 'America's best-loved Commie' -- which I think translates as 'Okay, so the genial old coot spent a lifetime shilling for totalitarian murderers, but only uptight Republican squares would be boorish enough to dwell on it.'"
Stephen Colbert is supposed to be that boorish Republican. But he's ignoring the historical reality alongside every other Seeger-adoring, left-wing whitewasher. They are big fools, indeed.