There are slow news days, where there are no new big issues, and no sudden reversals in old issues, when the news folks try to deepen their coverage of what’s going on in the nation, and lose audience. Everyone has made up their minds about this and that – George Zimmerman is guilty of second-degree murder, or he’s a much put-upon young fellow who merely defended himself from a young black thug, or a young black man who might have been a thug, as you never know with these people. No deepening of the issues there will change anyone’s mind. Everyone is dug in. And it’s the same with Israel deciding to bomb everything even remotely threatening in Iran. Either they have a right to do that, in the name of existential self-defense, and that Jew-hating coward, Obama, should send massive waves of everything we have that flies and carpet-bomb Iran into a smoldering moonscape – or maybe this could start a new world war, this one religious, and wreck the world’s economy for generations, so we ought to be careful here. Here too no background stories, investigating options and consequences, will change anyone’s mind. Sides on this issue were chosen long ago.
And one more deep-background story on Europe’s economic mess is not going to change anyone’s mind. The way out of a severe debt crisis, like the one in Greece or Spain or wherever, is total austerity – stop all spending and lay off government workers and generally shut down the economy, creating massive unemployment and collapsing all consumer demand for any goods and services at all, creating a deflationary spiral that causes whole industries to fail – yes, just stop spending money you don’t have and learn to live with the consequences – or accept high inflation and deficits for five or ten years and spend that money you don’t have, as an investment in growth. Build roads and dams and schools and whatnot, as in classic economic theory you actually grow your way out of such crises. But there’s no talking about this either. Everyone is dug in there too.
And there’s no point in one more story about how the super-rich over here don’t pay anything like the taxes everyone else pays, as when you get rich your tax rate drops to next to nothing. Is that fair? Maybe not, but no one is even going to discuss it, as the Senate Republicans just successfully filibustered bringing the Buffett Rule to the floor. This is not open to discussion. The news folks have nothing to cover now. And did you really think anyone was going to change his or her mind about this? Almost all Republicans have signed that pledge to Grover Norquist – they swore on their honor never to vote to raise taxes, ever, on anyone. It’s a solemn oath, so there’s no more to say about it. Solemn oaths remove any options, so there’s no news to report. So some news days, and in fact many, have no real news. Generalissimo Franco is still dead.
And Tuesday, April 17, 2012, was a slow news day. But that’s okay – it was the day taxes were due and people were busy, and the post offices jammed. Here in Hollywood there were sirens in the distance all day – people having heart attacks no doubt. And anyway, all the cool news was in the past, as on April 17, 1521, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. That was a big deal. And on April 17, 1875, the game “snooker” is invented by Sir Neville Chamberlain. That’s amusing. And on April 17, 1961, our CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched that unfortunate Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, in an attempt to overthrow the government of Fidel Castro. That didn’t work. But it was news.
And what did we get this year? We got Ted Nugent:
The U.S. Secret Service is looking into a violent rant by “Catch Scratch Fever” rocker Ted Nugent in which he denounced President Barack Obama and his top advisers as “evil” and urged National Rifle Association members to help “chop their heads off in November.”
“I’ll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent said. “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?”
Nugent, speaking at the organization’s annual gathering over the weekend, praised NRA members but warned that if they did not “get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don’t even know what you’re made out of.”
Yes, that was the big news story of the day – Israel didn’t nuke Iran and the Republicans didn’t decide to stop using everyone else’s money to keep the rich as rich as possible. A second-rate rocker from the distant past – see the Wikipedia details – seemed to call on someone, anyone, to assassinate Obama and the rest of them:
“If the coyote’s in your living room, pissing on your couch, it’s not the coyote’s fault. It’s your fault for not shooting him,” he said. He also denounced the administration as “criminals” and said a Democratic victory in November would mean “we’ll be a suburb of Indonesia next year” – an apparent reference to Obama’s boyhood time there.
Romney, who had long sought Nugent’s endorsement, was a tad embarrassed, and had his people issue a statement:
“Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil,” Andrea Saul said by email.
Yes, it was an email. No one spoke. Romney said nothing. No one on the right said anything. The week before they had been all over Hilary Rosen saying Ann Romney had never worked a day in her life – and they scoffed at the notion Rosen was not associated with the Obama campaign and was in no way an advisor to Obama or his campaign. It didn’t matter. She spoke for him, really, somehow. And they would have to make the same argument about Ted Nugent – that Nugent wasn’t a Romney spokesman or, really, anyone at all. The political gods were playing a joke on them.
CNN, however, reported another key sentence:
“If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent said, according to a video posted on YouTube by the NRA. “If you can’t go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil America hated administration, I don’t even know what you’re made out of.”
And Ed Kilgore comments:
I don’t know if this means we need to put Ted on suicide watch come November 7 if things don’t turn out his way, or just let the police know he’s threatening to do a crime so he can get himself incarcerated. But it’s a fine reflection of the wingnut mind at its deepest that he seems to think us godless socialists care enough about his ravings to persecute him.
As it happens, I saw the Amboy Dukes in concert way, way back in the late 1960s. I guess they were already on the wane, since the venue was the Cobb County Fairgrounds in Marietta, Georgia. I do recall they played their pseudo-psychedelic hit “Journey to the Center of the Mind” not once but twice – so ol’ Ted was a bit of a broken record even then.
But Nugent is digging in:
Ted Nugent stood by his controversial comments about President Barack Obama and Democrats made over the weekend, telling conservative radio host Dana Loesch on Tuesday that he had been unfairly targeted for saying he would “either be dead or in jail” by next year if Obama is reelected.
“I’m a black Jew at a Nazi-Klan rally,” the rock star complained to Loesch. “And there are some power-abusing, corrupt monsters in our federal government that despise me because I have the audacity to speak the truth.”
Nugent continued: “I spoke at the NRA and will stand by my speech. It’s 100 percent positive. It’s about we the people taking back our American dream from the corrupt monsters in the federal government under this administration, the communist czars he has appointed.”
And in less than two years he’s eligible for Social Security and Medicare. But there’s more:
Later in the radio interview, Nugent went after Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who condemned Nugent’s remarks on Tuesday as she called on Romney to answer for the rocker’s rhetoric with a DNC petition and web video.
“Wasserman Schultz is such a brain-dead, soulless idiot,” Nugent told Loesch. “I could not be more proud that this soulless, heartless idiot feebly attempts to find fault with Ted Nugent, because I am on the right track and she just encourages me to stand stronger.”
Nugent also compared Wasserman Schultz and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to “varmints.”
He is a bit over-the-top, but when the Republicans start in again on that Hilary Rosen remark, as they will, saying she speaks for Obama, really, the answer is two words – Ted Nugent. And even though the Romney campaign issued that second-hand written, not verbal, denunciation, Nugent screwed them there:
“I think Mitt Romney’s already denounced my guitar playing because it’s too sexy,” Nugent said. “Mitt Romney knows what I’m saying is true. He puts it in the words for him. I put in the words for me.”
Romney didn’t need this, but it was a slow news day, and on such days such things happen. If only Israel had bombed Iran or something…
But on the left, Maha offers some comfort for Romney:
So I see that Ted Nugent is threatening to shoot members of the Obama Administration if the President is re-elected. Or else he’s threatening to shoot himself; it’s a bit hard to tell. I’ll let the Secret Service sort that out.
So, already people are calling on Mitt Romney to denounce Ted Nugent, just as there have been calls for President Obama to denounce Hilary Rosen and everyone else in North America who has ever said anything that upset the Right.
And y’know what? I don’t bleeping care if Mittens denounced Ted Nugent. A politician should be held responsible for many things; what some brain-damaged gasbag says is not among them, unless the gasbag is on his staff. We’ve got more important stuff to be arguing about.
And the White House is fine with that:
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., who has been attacking Mitt Romney for comments made by supporter Ted Nugent had the rug pulled out from under her by President Obama’s spokesman today.
“We can’t be policing the statements of supporters across the board,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney answered when asked if Obama wants Romney to denounce Nugent, who described the Obama administration as “vile” and “evil,” in addition to saying “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”
Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee, had said this – “Threatening violence, or whatever it is that Nugent’s threatening, is clearly beyond the pale, but Nugent’s not the one running for president.” She wants to know if Romney agrees with him. Mitt has some explaining to do, and not just in an email from one of his flunkies. But she got slapped down:
Obama doesn’t seem nearly as interested. “A lot of this other stuff is noise,” his spokesman said today. “Obama has made the point that we can’t, as a general rule, police the statements of every supporter.”
Smart move – that takes Hilary Rosen and what she said off the table now. These things have a way of evening out.
And the Secret Service can sort this out. Someone might take Nugent seriously and try to be the patriot Nugent says we all should be. Maybe he wasn’t encouraging and actually suggesting an actual assassination, technically, as almost no one takes him seriously. But you never know. Glenn Beck said a lot of things that fellow in Pittsburgh took seriously, that fellow who then killed a few policemen. Beck said that wasn’t his fault – he was just a flight attendant – but this is the sort of thing that keeps the Secret Service worried. Maybe Romney should worry about his own Secret Service detail, assigned to him as candidate. They might be pissed off – see Romney Actively Sought Nugent Endorsement and Agreed to His Demands to Win It – and they don’t need this Ted Nugent crap. They could walk now.
But that’s not likely – they’re professionals, at least when they not in Colombia.
And this is all, generally, nonsense. Rosen says this. Nugent says that. And aside for some possible security issues for Obama, this means nothing. No one changed anyone’s mind, and there is no news. There seldom is.