“We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. I’m here to say we’ve had enough of that.”
– Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal,
in a speech to the Republican National Committee
“I’ll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year. Why are you laughing? Do you think that’s funny? That’s not funny at all. I’m serious as a heart attack….
“… it isn’t the enemy that ruined America. It’s good people who bent over and let the enemy in. If the coyote’s in your living room, pissing on your couch, it’s not the coyote’s fault. It’s your fault for not shooting him. So, it’s an important time. So, you’re talking about exhibits, you’re talking about hardware and ammo and everyone’s fondling sporting goods and everybody’s got a big old sexy grin on their face ’cause they’re surrounded by ballistic celebration — that’s cool. But what I feel in this room, is I feel this: I’m not taking this crap anymore.”
– Ted Nugent, NRA board member, gun enthusiast and ex-rock star, speaking to the NRA convention in April, shortly before a visit from the Secret Service
WASHINGTON – Musician and gun advocate Ted Nugent will be Congressman Steve Stockman’s guest at Tuesday evening’s State of the Union Address by President Barack Obama. Nugent will be available to speak to the media before and after the Address.
“I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama,” said Stockman. “After the Address I’m sure Ted will have plenty to say.”
To schedule an interview with Nugent, contact Senior Communications Advisor Donny.Ferguson@mail.house.gov.
– A press release issued Monday by Stockman’s congressional office.
The optics are not hard to predict. At some point in tonight’s State of the Union address, President Obama will bring up the tragedy in Newtown in which 20 young children were murdered. The cameras will pan to a Newtown teacher who survived the mass shooting, or to the first two Newtown police officers to arrive at that horrific scene, or to other invited guests linked to that tragedy. And then they will pan to Nugent and Stockman, asking the viewers an implied question: Which side are you on?
So no, Jindal’s plea notwithstanding, the GOP apparently is not ready to stop being the stupid party.
To be fair, a lot of Republican leaders must understand just how stupid it is to allow Nugent to become the personification of their party’s policy on gun control, especially in counterpoint to the victims of Newtown. They have to recognize that while the Motor City Moron’s presence at such an august event may thrill the hard-core gun crowd, serving as the equivalent of a very public middle finger extended in the direction of the president, it does not help a party trying to shed its extremist image.
Yet to date, I have seen no elected Republican official or party leader dare to say that publicly. I have seen no criticism, implied or otherwise, of Stockman’s decision. I have seen no attempt to put distance between Nugent and the party. I do not believe that would be the case if the situation were reversed, if a Democratic congressman had shown the extreme bad judgment of inviting a rapper who had strongly implied violence against a Republican president.
That silence doesn’t mean that Republican leaders necessarily endorse Stockman’s move or Nugent’s antics. However, it does mean that they lack the political courage and judgment to confront those destructive elements in their own party and to try to distance themselves from it. As a result, their political fortunes will continue to suffer.
– Jay Bookman