The Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent, has been invited to attend tonight’s State of the Union address by Republican Representative Steve Stockman. Congressman Stockman felt that having Nugent in attendance, a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment extremism, would serve as a fitting counterbalance to Obama’s inclusion of innocent gun victims in the crowd. This could be the beginning of an arms race of the stars.
In order to counterbalance Ted Nugent, Harry Reid should invite Bruce Springsteen, a rock star with more than one hit song and a public record of supporting reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. Of course, John Boehner might then counter with Clint Eastwood, famous movie star and amateur chair whisperer. That could escalate Invitation-Gate and lead to Nancy Pelosi bringing George Clooney along. At that point, Eric Cantor may have to invoke the nuclear option to get attention – Honey Boo Boo.
The State of the Union address is devolving into a 21st Century Star Wars. The more powerful the guest list, the better chance your message will be heard by the public. It is stagecraft over substance and both sides have become regular practitioners.
I never much cared for the tradition of bringing human props into the SOTU speech, despite its success in illustrating the human side of the President’s policies and goals as outlined in the address. The first time I remember the gallery packed with 15 minute celebrities was during Reagan’s SOTUs. Ron was a master storyteller and a master at stagecraft. He and his advisors knew that the combination of real Americans in the crowd sitting and smiling in validation of his stories was a powerful force in politics.
I understood Obama’s need to humanize his gun control recommendations with actual Americans who have been impacted by gun violence. At the same time I was cringing that children were thought necessary to act as human political shields. His 23 executive orders were fairly benign, and should not have required extra scenery to make them palatable. The public mostly supports his recommendations. However, the kids were trotted out, and visual imagery concerns trumped common decency, which brings me back to Ted Nugent.
Last year Nugent was investigated by the Secret Service after saying at an NRA meeting that if Obama was re-elected, “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
During the same address, Nugent called the president, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “criminals,” said the “government is wiping its ass with the Constitution,” and equated Democrats to coyotes who should be shot.
“If the coyote's in your living room pissing on your couch,” Nugent said, “it's not the coyote's fault. It's your fault for not shooting him."
There is only one reason Rep. Stockman would invite this nut. Whatever comes out of Ted’s mouth will make news, and Stockman must think that there is no such thing as bad publicity. I am not so sure.
A problem for the GOP is that it was only last month that Bobby Jindal spoke at the Republican National Committee winter retreat and begged his fellow party members to “stop being the stupid party”. Rep. Stockman must have been on a bathroom break during that part since he has chosen to highlight the stupid side of his party by placing an angry, white, aging, delusional Ted Nugent front and center tonight. Tomorrow morning, the headlines will not be about Marco Rubio’s official rebuttal. The web and traditional media will lead with whatever dumb and incendiary thing burst out of Nugent’s mouth post-speech.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that liberals were planting Ted Nugent at the speech as a way to drive even more reasonable voters away from the Republican Party. Who better to use as contrast for the reasonable position of more stringent background checks than the Motor City Madman who was investigated by the Secret Service for making what some perceived to be threatening statements against the President?
Here’s the stagecraft: video clips of Ted Nugent in camouflage shooting a flaming arrow across the stage during a heavy metal concert, and then a quick edit to the survivors of the Newtown massacre sitting quietly in their Sunday best applauding as Obama speaks. Which image will resonate with the swing voting public? Will either image help the GOP capture the women’s vote in 2014?
Boehner thinks Obama is trying to destroy the GOP by dividing it. I think Boehner should look at his own party of saboteurs. The official GOP rebuttal by Rubio will then be rebutted by Rand Paul as the token Tea Party representative. I thought Rubio was a Tea Party darling, but perhaps his insistence that work gets done in Washington has cast him as today’s RINO du jour (pardon my French).
I will listen to Rubio and Rand Paul rebut the SOTU, but I really can’t wait to hear what Ted Nugent has to say. Is that what the GOP wanted?
“Please proceed, Mr. Nugent.” This is the TED Talk we've been waiting for.