The two major parties haven’t even held their conventions but the mayhem and madness has already commenced. This weeks campaign controversy was provided by an aging rock star, a well known Liberal from MSNBC and a pair of dogs. Considering that we are still six months from the election, the upcoming campaign season has all the indications that it will provide some very strange moments and some outlandish, crazy behavior.
Leading the crazy parade was gonzo hunter, all around tough guy and self proclaimed uber patriot, Ted Nugent, who let fly with both barrels at the NRA convention in St. Louis this past weekend. Nugent has made no bones about his contempt for the Democrats and Mr. Obama. He led off with an attack on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC Chairperson, with his comment, “Wasserman Schultz is such a brain-dead, soulless, heartless idiot that I could not be more proud that this soulless, heartless, idiot feebly attempts to find fault with Ted Nugent.”
Perhaps Nugent was feeling the need to hunt for his supper when he doubled down and made his next comment about how he would react to an Obama victory in the fall, when he said, “if Barack Obama becomes the President in November, again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” This incredibly provocative and tasteless comment has certainly gotten the attention of the already beleaguered Secret Service, who told several news sources that they will be investigating Nugent’s comments. Nugent came to the attention of the Secret Service several years ago, when he told a concert audience that “Obama could suck his machine gun.”
Adding to the uproar was MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who took the opportunity to turn the furor over Nugent’s comments into an attack on both Nugent and Romney, when he accused both men of “evading the draft” and called them “warmongers.” O’Donnell said, “Ted Nugent’s homicidal rantings are obviously just figurative. He clearly does not have what it takes to aim a firearm at a human being and pull the trigger. He was offered a big opportunity to do that during the Vietnam War, and like his candidate, Mitt Romney, he managed to completely evade the draft, completely avoid military service — and then, of course, grew up to be a Republican warmonger in favor of all wars that don’t demand their services on the battlefield.”
Mr. O’ Donnell was born on November 7, 1951 and he was also draft eligible during the Vietnam war. Like Romney and Nugent, O’ Donnell received a deferment to continue his education. Neither Romney or Nugent evaded the draft and O’ Donnell should be reminded to choose his words carefully since draft evasion is actually a criminal offense. We might also point out that O’Donnell’s candidate of choice, Obama, never served a day in the military and he is now Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States.
Needless to say, Lawrence O’Donnell was over the top with his “draft evader” rant but we must also question Romney’s judgement in seeking an endorsement from Nugent in the first place. Romney, according to extensive fact checking, has never supported any gun grabbing legislation and is a supporter of the Second amendment. Why he feels the need to pound away on this issue and accept an endorsement from a loose cannon like Ted Nugent is nothing short of baffeling. Mr. Romney comes across as desperate, not Presidential, when he consorts with extremists like Nugent.
Rounding out the madness is the Obama vs. Romney dog debate, which has reached the point of absolutely ridiculous. First, there was the outrage over Romney putting his dog in a crate on the roof of his car for a 12 hour trip that he took 29 years ago. Even after the dog became ill and his kids spotted dog waste dripping down the back window, the dog remained on the roof. The Boston Globe reported the incident this way: “As the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway. It was a tiny preview of a trait he would grow famous for in business: emotion-free crisis management.”
What was obviously an error in judgement and possibly animal abuse by Romney, turned into a field day for the Democrats. Back in January, 2012, Obama insider and campaign strategist, David Axelrod, tweeted a photograph of Obama and his dog, Bo, riding together in the Presidential limo. Axelrod drove the point home mercilessly when he commented: “@davidaxelrod: How loving owners transport their dogs.” The attack on Romney for being cruel to his dog has been quite effective, with many pet lovers posting highly critical comments on the internet.
Ever on the lookout for an opportunity to even the score, the Republicans struck back and took the whole dog dispute to a new level of tastelessness, when they reminded us that Obama ate dog meat as a young man in Indonesia. The Daily Caller ran a column on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, titled, “Obama Bites Dog.” The article gleefully pointed out that in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father, Obama wrote, “With Lolo (Step-Father, Lolo Soetero), I learned how to eat small green chill peppers raw with dinner (plenty of rice), and, away from the dinner table, I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher), and roasted grasshopper (crunchy).” The writer, Jim Treacher, concluded the column with this gem, “Update: I know the Secret Service has a lot to deal with right now, but are they protecting Bo? From Obama, I mean.”
The Presidential election of 2012 is one of the most important elections in American history. One can only hope that the pundits and the candidates will rise above “Gotcha” politics and stick to the issues. The country is in serious trouble and deeply divided. America needs a President who will truthfully discuss the issues, propose workable, fair solutions and unite our nation. A candidate who ignores the issues and resorts to character assassination will run the risk of alienating voters. If we have learned anything in the last three years, it is that the American people are sick and tired of politics as usual.
Conflict, Manipulation And Fear – Politics In The Modern World is a Twice Weekly Column by Wolff Bachner about Government, Leadership and the Pursuit of Power.