The NRA pushed the limits of civility in its unhinged attacks on the president but managed a modicum of restraint. Then, on Jan. 17, high profile NRA board member and aging rock star Ted Nugent took the organization down a rabbit hole.
Nugent, who admitted in a 1977 interview he went to disgusting lengths to avoid the draft and Vietnam, has never had mass appeal. At his peak, he attracted mostly socially stunted adolescent boys who dealt with their insecurities by emulating Nugent’s wild-child personae.
Those boys are now middle-aged men and, in their dwindling numbers, they still show up at Nugent’s concerts to hear his mediocre jams.
Nugent also loves to kill animals with his many guns, which evidently qualified him for a seat on the National Rifle Association’s board of directors.
Like Nugent, former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr is a high profile NRA board member but that’s where the similarities would seem to end.
While Nugent was singing his violently misogynist “Stranglehold” (“I got you in a stranglehold baby/that night I crushed your face”), Barr was getting his legal education at the prestigious Georgetown Law School. Later he was appointed U.S. Attorney by President Ronald Reagan and then served in Congress.
I don’t agree with Barr’s politics, but he is an honorable and distinguished American.
Barr is running for Georgia’s 11th Congressional District seat and has announced Ted Nugent will be campaigning for him, according to GaPundit.com.
Assuming Barr was unfamiliar with Nugent’s Gun.com interview, I emailed him the comments Nugent made and asked for his reaction. Barr’s campaign manager acknowledged passing my email along to the candidate:
“I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod,” said Nugent, “if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago Communist raised, Communist educated, Communist nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America. I am heartbroken but I am not giving up.
“I think America will be America again when Barack Obama, Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton, Dick Durbin, Michael Bloomberg and all of the liberal Democrats are in jail facing the just due punishment that their treasonous acts are clearly apparent.
“So a lot of people would call that inflammatory speech. Well I would call it inflammatory speech when it’s your job to protect Americans and you look into the television camera and say what difference does it make that I failed in my job to provide security and we have four dead Americans. What difference does that make? Not to a chimpanzee or Hillary Clinton, I guess it doesn’t matter.”
Nugent can say whatever he likes — as a private citizen. But in virtually every interview he does, Nugent is introduced as a member of the NRA’s board of directors, which irrefutably makes him an NRA spokesman, not a private citizen.
Nugent’s vilely dishonest caricature of President Obama, his despicably racist “subhuman mongrel” and “chimpanzee,” and his outrageous allusion that the president be put to death reflect directly on the NRA, its executive staff, its members, its sponsors, the gun industry and its entire board of directors.
Unless they are forcefully disavowed, Nugent’s views are also the views of the NRA.
As a candidate for the 11th District, where he would be representing everyone including many Obama supporters, Barr doesn’t have the option of ignoring Nugent’s scurrilous diatribe.
Barr can condemn Nugent or Barr can say nothing, thus giving his tacit approval to Nugent’s disgraceful words.
Mr. Barr, we’re all waiting.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.