Classic Taibbi, I’ll quote liberally (ha!) here but go read the whole thing. The takeaway: You know that bald dude, the CEO of that Tennessee security company who voted to “start killing people” if the gub’mint dared to even think about taking his guns?
For a political party (Republicans) already losing ground because of its inability to appeal to anyone but angry white men – here’s the new public face of conservatism.
The long game just kills these guys.
Let’s review the basic timeline. First, Political Media, a conservative action group, decided to try to make an appeal to win the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere by declaring January 19th – previously known as Martin Luther King Day, to the rest of us – to be “Gun Appreciation Day.” …
But even before their excellent idea gets out of the gate, it stalls out, as obnoxious reporters check the list of “Gun Appreciation Day” sponsors and find that the “American Third Position,” a group that purports to represent the “unique political interests of White Americans,” is one of the event’s sponsors.
So now, Political Media has not only decided to hold its Gun Appreciation Event on a holiday meant to celebrate the life of a black leader who was a symbol of nonviolent protest and who was killed by a white man with a gun, it’s done so with the financial help of some yahoo white supremacist group. But this doesn’t derail the whole thing, as it’s of course just an innocent mistake. Political Media kicks “Third Position” out and appropriately issues a statement, saying, “We have removed the group and reiterate this event is not about racial politics, it is about gun politics.”
So far, so good, right? Well, then they go and actually hold their “Gun Appreciation Day” rallies all over the country, on Martin Luther King Day. And what happens? Five people get accidentally shot! …
In Ohio, a gun dealer was “checking out” a semi-automatic handgun he’d brought to a show at the Medina County Fairgrounds when he “accidentally” pulled the trigger, forgetting that, while he’d removed the magazine, he’d left a round in the chamber. According to the local police chief, the bullet “struck the floor, then a longtime friend of the gun dealer. The man was wounded in the arm and leg.”
The man was rushed by helicopter to a hospital in Cleveland. I sure hope that dude has private health insurance that he paid for. If it turns out that taxpayers had to foot the bill for a freaking helicopter flight to rescue the friend of some gun-toting conservative who decided to protest the socialist Obama administration by accidentally shooting a pal on Martin Luther King Day, that would be some kind of embarrassing, wouldn’t it?
Come on – with rights come responsibilities. His rights – your responsibility.
Overall, people like LaPierre have fallen into every single political trap that’s been laid for them in the last month, allowing Democrats to paint them as humorless, frustrated and probably dangerous political radicals whose response to Sandy Hook has been to publicly attack the president’s minor children and to propose more guns in schools. Even the surgein NRA membership numbers since Sandy Hook is a net minus for the NRA, politically, because it scares the hell out of normal people and will result in increased pressure on pro-NRA congressional members to distance themselves from people whose response to piles of mowed-down children is to buy more guns. …
I’m not naïve enough to think that just being publicly stupid is going to result in political problems for American conservatives. That’s never been the case before – hell, there are still people out there who think Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. There’s enough popular anger out there toward Barack Obama that someone like Wayne LaPierre could probably shoot skeet on Martin Luther King’s grave and public support for the NRA still won’t drop below 40 percent.
But the behavior of the gun lobby in the last month will, for sure, have an impact on people who are on the fence about gun control. Moreover, there’s bigger game in play here. The Republicans post-2012 have been staring down the barrel of an increasingly desperate demographic problem that will require the party to find some way to market itself to blacks, Hispanics, women, gays and other minorities or else be relegated to permanent minority status.
But after Sandy Hook, the Democrats have skillfully painted the Republicans as the party of scary-looking and scary-sounding white maniacs like Tennessee security-company CEO James Yeager, a shaven-headed, soul-patched anger-sick white loony who posted a video promising to go ape if gun laws are enacted. “If this goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people,” Yeager said.
Conservatives could have dealt with this post-Sandy Hook political curveball in a number of ways, from simply shutting up and working quietly behind the scenes to scuttle gun control efforts (that always worked before) to announcing willingness to engage in some extremely mild compromise (like maybe prohibiting schizophrenics from carrying machine guns near kindergartens).
Instead, they decided to piss all over Martin Luther King Day and then shoot themselves by the half-dozen in the process.
Well done, fellas! You’re well on your way to solving your demographic problems.
I don’t think you understand. OUTRAGE!!!
And seriously – live by the OUTRAGE!!!, die by the OUTRAGE!!!. The OUTRAGE!!! was once a potent political weapon, mobilizing a constituency that once voted largely Democratic, beginning in the late ’80s/early ’90s it propelled conservatism to the dominant political force in this country.
But how many times must we say it? What once made them strong now makes them weak.
In the wake of Sandy Hook, the Republican Party has gotten even angrier and even whiter. Conservatives think this is a good thing.
And the people within the party who despair of all this are elites.
Telling you dude. There’s a reason populism in this country always winds up wrecked on the shoals. And this is it.