Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why Are So Many Conservative Politicians Brandishing Guns?

Yes, we know it's all a show, that it's all about appealing to (appeasing) the NRA crowd, and demonstrating that a buttoned-down insider like Mitch McConnell is really one of the guys. Fine. But I have to say, there's something about it that just feels sinister.
OK, so John Kerry pandered too in 2004, with his whole hunter shtick, but McConnell did something very different at CPAC this past week. He brought a gun to an explicitly political gathering (he then handed it to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), as part of presenting Coburn with an NRA lifetime achievement award). Now, it's not like taking out your Colt .45 and laying it upon your desk on the Senate floor, but it's one more example of the mixing of politics and implicit violence that conservatives are deploying more and more often.
Among countless other examples, last month we saw Todd Staples, a candidate for lieutenant governor in Texas, run the following TV ad:
"You're not a king, and Texans bow to no one," Mr. Staples says, looking directly into the camera and addressing the president, before he is shown picking up a gun at a store, aiming it over a counter and vowing to "fight Obama's liberal agenda."(snip) [Staples] ends on an equally aggressive note: "So, Mr. President, if you still want to mess with Texas, we've got a saying for you: Come and take it."
In response, Kathleen Hall Jamison, the head of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, asked: "Why would [sic] need a gun to fight an agenda? You don't shoot a policy or shoot an agenda--you fight an agenda with words." Great question.
It doesn't appear that any of the other candidates criticized Staples (who ultimatelywon just over 16 percent of the vote in the Republican primary) about this ad, which clearly evokes the notion of violent resistance to the duly elected president of the United States.
That's a pleasant thought, isn't it?


  1. Ah yes, it clearly evokes that...or maybe it was just intended to be a shot of him looking at a gun since part of the president's agenda includes some forms of gun control...

  2. Stop pushing gun control, and these displays will be less frequent.

    1. Again with the failure to assign responsibility where it belongs. You waffle back and forth depending on who's doing it. You're all for personal responsibility unless it's some asshole politician brandishing a gun or some CT gun owner deciding to disobey the law.

    2. We all have a moral responsibility not to harm innocent persons. But what is being done in these incidents is not harm. And it's not brandishing. You're playing word games with something that has a precise legal definition.

      You also are insisting that we are under some obligation to obey evil laws. While there are practical reasons to comply, there is no moral duty to submit to tyranny.

    3. Not brandishing? Really?

      1 : to shake or wave (as a weapon) menacingly
      2: to exhibit in an ostentatious or aggressive manner

      I think what they do qualifies for "ostentatious," don't you?

    4. It was in a video, not out in public or in the presence of the person referred to.

    5. Besides being fucking stupid it was ostentatious, one of the qualifiers for being called brandishing.

      It's funny how you're a stickler for definitions when it's convenient.

  3. Guns have replaced Christianity as the method the right is using to get people to vote against their interest. People who are familiar with Christianity know that it is a religion of social justice, not the "Gospel" that the "religious right" tries to push.

    Guns are better and work on the emotion of fear. Toss in that it is easy to take the Second Amendment out of context by ignoring the first clause. Thus, the right can claim that they are "defending the Constitution" while their militaristic stance shows that is Bullshit if you read the Constiution as a whole: See

    The NRA conducted a massive get-out-the-vote effort on behalf of George W. Bush. Chuck Cunningham, a former director of voter education for the Christian Coalition, led that effort for the NRA. Before working for the Christian Coalition, Cunningham was executive director of the anti-union New England Citizens for Right-to-Work.

    Charlton Heston, former president of the NRA, supported the National Right-to-Work Committee in 1994 when it lobbied Congress to defeat S.55 / H.R.5 Anti-Strikebreaker Bill. This would have prohibited employers from permanently replacing striking workers (an act which is illegal in other industrialized countries). Heston appealed to union members to "put freedom first" and support NRA-endorsed candidates, and yet the right to strike is a most basic and essential freedom. Heston personally appealed to members of Congress to defeat pro-worker legislation that would prohibit strikebreakers and produced a video on behalf of the National Right-to-Work Committee, which called him their "world famous ally."

    In 1996, Charlton Heston championed the most serious threat to the very existence of labor unions. He assisted the National Right-to-Work Committee in a $260,000 ad campaign to lobby Congress to pass a National Right-to-Work Bill which had been introduced.29 Right-to-Work legislation would prohibit unions from negotiating any union security clause in their contracts. Union membership would be totally voluntary, though all workers must receive the wages and benefits negotiated in the union contract and they must be legally represented in any grievances. It has nothing to do with a right to work, but is part of a larger corporate strategy to financially weaken and eventually eliminate unions. Now deceased, Heston was a very effective spokesman for the NRA in distracting workers from the Right’s real agenda.

    Source Wisconsin AFL-CIO "Politics in America: the American Right"

    1. Well, Laci, we've tangled over the law in the past and your ideas have been weighed and found wanting. Are you now going to start reeducating us on the meaning of Christianity by showing the same intellectual skill?

      As for your long listing of fights over the hiring of strikebreakers/scabs, you assume that the right to strike and get your job back is an inherent right, but you do nothing to justify such a right. The closest you come is an appeal to hiring replacements being illegal in other industrialized countries. All this tells us is that other countries have come down on the workers side rather than the employers' side. It's a bandwagon appeal that says nothing about the appropriateness of either choice.

      You seem to think that either it is the proper choice, or it is merely the choice most people should choose in their own financial interest. Of course, this idea of voting only in their own interest discounts that people's principles favor right to work laws.

    2. It's amazing that someone would think employers don't have a right to replace a worker who stops showing up for work. That doesn't interfere with a employee's right to strike. Strike all you want, but you should have some VORP (value over replacement player) to balance your demands with the company's interest.

      Simon, it's great to converse with you again. You were missed.

    3. Well met, T.S. It's been interesting to be back.

    4. Were you away, Simon? I'm serious. I thought you've been here all along.

    5. If you're talking last few weeks, yeah, I've been here with occasional weekends off. I'm guessing TS is speaking of my return after several months' hiatus.

  4. Why would [sic] need a gun to fight an agenda? You don't shoot a policy or shoot an agenda--you fight an agenda with words.

    Apparently U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) gets a pass for his ad shooting the "cap and trade" bill, as a prize for having become a "gun control" hero, by virtue of his laughable failure to ram a "universal background check" bill through the Democrat majority Senate.

  5. I do have to say, that it was cool when Heston did it, but trying to copy him doesn't make you like him. It just makes you a wanna-be.

    "During the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom held in Washington, D.C. in 1963, he accompanied Martin Luther King Jr.

    "Yet, following the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, Heston and actors Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas, and James Stewart issued a statement calling for support of President Johnson's Gun Control Act of 1968. The White House had actually solicited Heston's support. He endorsed Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 Presidential election."

    "By the 1980s, Heston supported gun rights and changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican. When asked why he changed political alliances, Heston replied "I didn't change. The Democratic party changed."

  6. Now here's a guy who deserves whatever criticism gets thrown his way:

    In the video, released on Wednesday, Brooke loads a thick stack of papers into a target and then fires multiple rounds from a pistol, rifle and AR-15 assault rifle at it. None of the bullets manage to destroy the copy of the Affordable Care Act, Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.

    “Well we had some fun and knocked some holes in it, but we didn’t quite get the job done,” Brooke said in the ad. “Looks like we’ll have to resort to more extreme measures to get rid of Obamacare and replace it with a market-based solution.”

    The candidate then loads the stack into a wood chipper to shred the pages in the video’s final scene.

    Does he not know that incendiary rounds are legal on the civilian market? He could at least have tried tracers.

    C'mon, man--gun rights advocates are the adult in the room. Act like it.