Ted Nugent under the Secret Service’s eye – UPDATED w/ Romney response.

Note update, below.

Once upon a time, I lived in a foreign land, and in that foreign land, in the midst of a season of threats and dehumanizing rhetoric, that country’s head of state was assassinated.

Anyone who lived in Israel in 1995 knows all too painfully the power of words. Indeed, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin assassination is probably a big piece of why I work so hard to maintain a civil level of discourse on issues ranging from Israel/Palestine to anti-women legislation in the US. After all, Americans know the power of words, too: Just look at the Gabby Giffords shooting. (Or, you know: Kennedy).

And so I am very glad indeed to learn that Ted Nugent’s comment to the NRA that “if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year” has been flagged by the Secret Service.

I’m on record as being constantly afraid for Barack Obama’s life, but I’ll be honest: I don’t really think that Ted Nugent’s about to take up arms against the President of these United States. He has a big mouth, and his life is now largely dedicated to trolling the America left. Whatevs, dude.

But the thing is, Ted Nugent is not the only American nutjob with a gun. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but as a nation, we are fairly bristling with guns, not to mention those who like to use them.

My concern is not that Nugent will storm the ramparts, but that someone listening to him with think that he offers a spiffing solution to the nation’s problems, and oh hey! I have a big gun right here!

There are surely those who agree, and will continue to agree, that political violence is a good idea, especially when they hear the thundering silence from the right that refuses to condemn such rhetoric. But if the Secret Service makes its presence felt? It’ll slow a few hands.

Look, I don’t think we’ll ever rid the world of the violent, the crazy, or the hateful. But we can, at the very, least make it abundantly clear that we as a nation do not sanction and will not support crazy, hateful violence. I don’t know why Mitt Romney has remained silent, but I’m damn glad that the Secret Service hasn’t.

UPDATE: Romney’s campaign (note: Not Romney) made this statement:

Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.

Uh.

Really? That’s it?

The man is talking — loudly, and frequently — about wanting to kill the President? And that’s all you got? “Let’s be civil,” via the tried and true  false equivalency of “both sides of the aisle”?

Dear Mitt Romney: You’re even more craven, and useless, than I thought.

h/t AshCan, in comments.

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45 Comments

  1. baiskeli

     /  April 17, 2012

    This is good. But I’m counting down in minutes to when the Right picks up the cry that this is yet another sign that Obama hates freedom, is a dictator (etc etc ad nauseum).

  2. Unfortunately we now we also have to wonder just how competent the Secret Service is.

    • I have been somewhat re-assured that they’re pretty damn competent, and they’re also very, very thick on the ground surrounding this President — sometimes sheer numbers will do it, if you see what I mean. So I worry less.

      But I do worry about others, who could get in the way or serve as surrogates. No end to the worrying, is what I’m saying.

  3. Ash Can

     /  April 17, 2012

    You’re being very kind to Mitt Romney. You’re a better person than I am. I’m not the least bit surprised he hasn’t said anything; I’d be surprised if he did.

    • (I’m not really being kind at all. I have no expectations – I just can’t understand why that should be, because dude. The dude should be saying something).

      • Ash Can

         /  April 17, 2012

        OK, he didn’t say anything himself, but someone with his campaign did (h/t BJ, LGF, et al.):

        “‘Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from,’ said Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul. ‘Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.’”

        Romney himself is probably trembling in his shoes that even that weak statement doesn’t lose him any wingnut friends.

        • Ash Can

           /  April 17, 2012

          P.S.: And both sides do it, don’tcha know.

          • helensprogeny

             /  April 18, 2012

            Would you mind providing links demonstrating that both sides do it? Because I honestly cannot think of one single instance of a prominent Democrat, either politician, spokesperson or entertainer, calling even indirectly for the death of President Bush, Presidential candidate John McCain or any other prominent GOP candidate.

            • efgoldman

               /  April 18, 2012

              Would you mind providing links demonstrating that both sides do it?
              I beleve Mr. or Ms. Can was exercising his/her right to perform snarkasm on the intartoobz.

              • helensprogeny

                 /  April 18, 2012

                Yeah, I belatedly realized that after I posted. D’oh!! But thanks for making it official. My sarcasm detector was on the blink.

                • Ash Can

                   /  April 18, 2012

                  And no prob.

                  • helensprogeny

                     /  April 18, 2012

                    My apologies. I realized my error about 20 minutes after I sent my reply. I’m usually much, much better than that. 🙂

                • stephen matlock

                   /  April 18, 2012

                  “…on the blink”
                  You probably overwatered it.

                  I crack myself up.

                  • helensprogeny

                     /  April 18, 2012

                    Actually UNDER-watering is my particular gift, hence the dead succulents. It’s a joke at my house that if you’re spectacularly bad in life (say, an ax murderer or a military dictator) you risk being reincarnated as one of my houseplants. I forget to water until the plant has almost expired, then I water for awhile and repeat. The plant dies a slow, agonizing death. Though I think I’ve fixed that issue now.

                    • stephen matlock

                       /  April 19, 2012

                      😉

                      You know of course I kid, I kid.

              • Ash Can

                 /  April 18, 2012

                Indeed I was. Thank you.

        • Ok, that’s not good enough. Geez Louise, man, how hard is it to say “Threatening the life of the President, even in jest, is not ok.”

          • (Not that I think that Nugent was in jest, but, you know: Throwing Romney a sop, here.)

            • Ash Can

               /  April 17, 2012

              Obviously it’s too hard for Romney. The sheer lack of intestinal fortitude and basic principle that he exhibits is mind-boggling. He’s afraid to say anything — anything at all — other than “Obama is to blame.”

      • What really scares the bajabbers out of me is the number of family members on my facebook feed who think Ted Nugent is a great America for finally “speaking the truth”. Huh?

  4. stephen matlock

     /  April 17, 2012

    I agree with your point about Mittens. He should come out forthrightly and say it’s dead wrong for Nugent AND ANY OTHERS to talk like this.

  5. dave in texas

     /  April 17, 2012

    Even John McCain pushed back a bit during the last campaign when people would start up with the Muslim, unAmerican nonsense. I’m with Ash Can; I’m not at all surprised Mitt hasn’t said anything. He’s made his entire campaign, insofar as the general election is concerned, about how the president is destroying America.

  6. corkingiron

     /  April 17, 2012

    So y’all probably don’t want to wander over to the Atlantic’s story on what Nugent is reported to have said. Here’s a sample, form a commentator named Susan Wright:

    Hate is a liberal emotion. I’m not a liberal. ‘Pity’ would be a better word.
    If you could slice a liberal open and view their nature like a kaleidoscope, you’d see something black, putrid, rotting, sickly, noxious and festering.
    The spirit of a liberal is something so vile and loathsome, it’s very difficult to relate to them on a human level.

    Oh – and Bill Maher, Debbie Rosen, Unions and the New Black Panthers!!!! Run! Run!

    Oh, one more thing. Apparently one guy is insisting that Obama is White – ooooh – those sneaky libruls!

    • Ian

       /  April 17, 2012

      I’m going to pass on this for the sake of my blood pressure.

    • stephen matlock

       /  April 17, 2012

      It’s the same two or three people commenting – they just keep switching their names.

      I mean, surely there is not more than two or three people who believe those crazy things, right?

    • You are correct sir. I do not want to.

  7. Liz H.

     /  April 17, 2012

    This Nurgent fellow is way off the deep end. He is like a cancer. that will never be cured.

  8. Liz H.

     /  April 17, 2012

    He states if President Obama is elected, he would either be dead or in jail. Sounds like he is planning to assassinate the president. This nugent person needs watching. He may very well get his wish. He may drop dead tomorrow – remember what happened to Breitbart.

    • Nugent’s spoken words certainly imply that he will attempt to assassinate the President. Even if he is ‘joking,’ his words irresponsibly suggest he condones such an attempt.

      Nugent is a ‘has-been’ musician, who sadly uses his waning celebrity platform to spout hateful and dangerous words. The danger comes from his ability to encourage a deranged person to act on what he is suggesting. Remember, Nugent is a right-winger, NRA advocate who sadly has an audience of fringe types. That is the danger he represents.

      For Romney to just make some light weight comments about it not being appropriate to use ‘divisive’ language is woefully inadequate. Romney should make it clear that he wholly disavows the language of Nugent. He is not prepared to do that for some reason. Why? Maybe he doesn’t want to put distance between him and the far right wing of his party.

  9. WTF? Romney’s campaign says “Divisive language is offensive no matter what side of the political aisle it comes from. Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be civil.”
    Offensive? F’ you Romney campaign spokesperson. You need a reality check on what offensive is. Discourse that YOU find unpleasant doesn’t make it offensive. Your campaign statement is ignorant when inserted into ANY context.
    Since when do you think you have a right to never hear anything you don’t like?
    Once again, F’ you Romney campaign. I might just vote for Obama to spite Romney.

  10. Ash Can

     /  April 17, 2012

    All right, this is just too fucking much now, if this is indeed accurate. Courtesy of a commenter at BJ, Andrea Mitchell has tweeted the following:

    “Romney campaign now telling us they did not seek Ted Nugent endorsement. Cant explain why @tromney tweeted it was ‘cool’ on March 2”

    • Oh for the love of God. I DO NOT CARE IF THEY SOUGHT HIS ENDORSEMENT! The man is saying he’d like to kill the President of the United States! That’s the kind of thing a candidate SHOULD CONDEMN!

      :: headdeskheaddeskheaddeskheaddesk ::

      ow.

      • In with the good air, out with the bad. . .This is the same party who said it was unamerican to oppose President Bush, because the office was due that respect.

        Blood pressure rising in Houston too.

  11. It is unfortunate that Mr Nugent was so unclear in his rhetoric. Is he stating a belief, that he will be the victim of an assassin (or an extraordinary rendition to some country where death is a frequent result of imprisonment), or is he stating the intention to kill the President?

    What is more unfortunate, is that such language has become so commonplace. Recent disclosures indicate that Newt Gingrich had covertly prepared a plan to reorganize the US government, in the name of “preventing terrorism”, which ran to the thousands of pages, and would be introduced when a suitably-scary event happened. 9/11 provided the scare, and we beheld the spectacle of Congressmen voting to pass a statute, that no one bui Mr Gingrich had read…called the “USA Patriot Act”. The Act empowered George W Bush and successors, to detain people without charge, to send people abroad for detention there (rendition), and most importantly, provided financial aid to any 9/11 victims, if those victims first surrendered the right to sue prominent politicians and lobbyists who had protected Osama bin-Laden and his billions, until he had performed an act of war too big to cover up.

    • My point is simply this: We cannot be both at peace and at war. We are engaged in one or the other…never both simultaneously. If assassinating bin-Laden without a trial, is now the normal state of politics (at least when vast fortunes must be protected from lawsuit), we are all in danger.

      The 1995 death of PM Yitzak Rabin, was noteworthy, primarily because a fellow Zionist committed the murder. Had the murderer been Palestinian, it would have been less shocking, because Palestinians are routinely detained for no apparent reason.

      What we Americans need to decide, and quickly, is whether we should allow our government to murder people, without trial. If murder without trial becomes the norm, it’s going to get very ugly indeed.

      I think the USA Patriot Act needs repealing and soon. As for Mr Romney, most of us are justifiably concerned about his lack of candor. A weak President cannot govern. He cannot confront the enemies of the Rule of Law, if he refuses to call a crime, a crime.

  12. The downside to the Digital Information Age, is that the most vile, most cretinous, most reprehensible sorts of characters that you would think walked from the dark corners of a Dickens novel, are given a clear sounding board for their melancholic and malevolent tracts. It is as if, long forced to expostulate loudly upon the failings of the world in secret, around smoky poker tables and in dark-paneled back rooms, suddenly every mountebank, ne’re-do-well, cretinous goon, and ignorant fop with hate in their heart and a litany of bromides at the ready, now feels it necessary to erupt in the faces of decent Americans, like the pus of a societal pimple.

    And as for Nugent himself, would we really think this so unusual? After all, one of his most famous songs is shot through with the refrain “I’ve got you in a stranglehold baby,” as if to his mind, the bloom of love is equatable to choking the life from someone.

    • To point A – That’s the thing. There’s a world of trolls out there, and we are just at the very edges of beginning to know how to respond/not respond in ways that don’t lead to madness.

      To point B – You make an excellent point. :: shudder ::

      • helensprogeny

         /  April 19, 2012

        The upside to this is that the trolls are in fact exposed for who they are. It’s ugly, but the light is shining down upon them and we see the reality of those attitudes and their consequences. Instead of being hidden, the ugliness is right out front, where we *can* deal with it. I tend to believe that light is always a good thing. Not always fun. But good.

        • stephen matlock

           /  April 19, 2012

          I agree that it’s good. The problem is that often (IMO) these commentators come along and derail a discussion. I’m not saying no dissent. I am saying if you’re going to argue, argue in good faith and with your own honest opinions.

          This kind of person (which Emily is discussing) has a microphone (in this case, literally) in which to spew nonsense and hatred. Should he be shut up? Probably no. Should he get the consequences of his “free speech”? Sure, include ridicule, scorn, and if threatening the President, an investigation by the Secret Service.

          The speaker in question asserts he is for Constitutional rights, including famously the 2nd Amendment. I get that. The man this speaker assails is the Constitutationally elected President of the United States. Doesn’t mean the president is above criticism. But I certainly don’t detect the same respect for the president or even the office of the President as I do for that one amendment. The country can’t run if there are people who encourage violence against their duly elected leaders, and given the importance of the presidency (it is without question the most powerful office in the world today), it is something to be carefully guarded.

          The way to change Presidents is through an election, through encouraging others to vote the way you want. Encouraging violence against your leaders (as this person does with his talk of varmit-hunting and cutting off heads) is something not just to tsk-tsk over, but to actively investigate. I’m sure a lot of people thought other crazy people were just spouting off before they started acting crazy. Remember how that one guy thought he’d get Jodie Foster’s attention? That’s what I’m scared of here.

  13. I’m no fan of Nugent and his ideologies, believe me, but we as a country don’t seem to have a problem with crazy hateful violence or just plain hate and hassle when it comes to others who don’t practice the majority’s religion or have a last name that raises red flags and for whom the state is providing harassment rather than protection. Perhaps off subject, but this kind of thing raises my hackles much more than a loudmouth has-been.

    http://www.salon.com/2012/04/16/personalizing_civil_liberties_abuses/singleton/

    • I think that you’re right, and that this isn’t at all off-topic, because I think that it’s all of a piece (aside from anything else, the hatred for this President appears deeply rooted in the other hatreds you’re thinking about). The loud-mouths get our attention, and hopefully our responses to the loud-mouths reach down to quieter cases, as well, and a larger shift happens in the process. Which is of course molasses-slow and so, so deeply frustrating, but it seems to be the way people work. We have to be shocked by something flashy to notice the daily stuff we’ve just been living with.

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