. . . from the outset in large part due to a generalized lack of interest in politics. Though, some of my reluctance to enter the fray has to do with the fact that there are people supporting Bevin whom I like and respect. God knows, when I do comment on politics, I tend to do so in a way that rankles — and, well, I just don’t want to alienate any friends.
The simple fact of the matter is, I long ago decided I’d be voting for Mitch McConnell in the Kentucky US Senate primary this May. (Pause for boos and catcalls.) And I’ll be voting for him again in November. I won’t get into the weeds of defending my choice; it’s been made and, barring the emergence of the proverbial dead girl or live boy, that’s just how it’s going to be.
Now, let me hasten to add that I don’t have anything nasty to say about Matt Bevin. I know little about him beyond what’s been reported in the press — and we all know how reliable that is. Still, I’m just not angry enough at Mitch McConnell to feel compelled to put on a “Ditch Mitch” shirt in favor of a man who has lambasted him for his support of a massive bailout package after having benefited from it.
And I don’t say that as a slam against Matt Bevin. There are lots and lots of people who benefited from TARP to some extent — some of whom are working stiffs who hope to be able to retire someday, rather than be wheeled out of the workplace on a gurney. Surely not all of them are parasitic moochers.
Still, I have a hard time rallying behind a guy who does so and then uses it as an avenue to gain political advantage against his opponent. And, given the sum total of what we know about Matt Bevin’s political career, the only conclusion we can draw from it is that he’s willing to stand on principle when he’s in a primary election fight. But, then again, aren’t they all? We have no idea what he’d do when safely ensconced in the clubby atmosphere of The World’s Greatest Deliberative Body®. We may think we know, and we may hope for the best — but that’s about it.
In any event, that’s all I have to say on that particular issue. This post is actually a continuation of what I wrote about yesterday, and it’s not to hang any of the blame for my extreme distaste for politics on Matt Bevin. As far as I can tell — and, again, I haven’t been paying a great deal of attention to politics lately — he’s run an honorable campaign, and his “attacks” have been relatively standard fare for anyone trying to mount a credible challenge to a longtime incumbent of the same party. Bevin is not the issue here.
This is the issue:
Now, before you start in with the “LEAVE MITCH ALONE!!!” wisecracks, let me just say that the ad above would be just as mindlessly juvenile had it been directed at any other candidate in any other race. And you can be sure that, if it had been directed at Ted Cruz or Mike Lee or any other Tea Party-backed politician, I’d find it just as sophomoric — because that’s what it is.
And the sad fact is that it perfectly symbolizes much of the conservative infighting I’ve seen so much of over the past few years. It encapsulates the mindset Ann Coulter discussed on Hannity this past Wednesday night. Yes, that Ann Coulter. And she’s right; the Tea Party is slowly being co-opted by “shysters and con men” out to make a fast buck and grab a piece of that sweet, sweet D.C. careerist pie.
Now, obviously, the rank-and-file of the Tea Party movement are generally well-meaning people who just happen to be sick and tired of the way business is done in D.C., and angry that the cost of doing that business inevitably comes out of their own pockets while they accrue no measurable benefit from it. It’s perfectly understandable and honorable to feel that way; they are put-upon.
But, the people who have appointed themselves as the “leaders” of the movement are keenly aware that the anger is out there in such abundance that, once tapped into, it can release a massive payload of dollars. And they also know that the best way to tap into that anger is to promise a good, old-fashioned donnybrook with anyone who arouses it. And the nastier the fight, the better.
Enter Ted Nugent:
“I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America,”
Now, obviously, Ted has no designs on the D.C. cocktail circuit or the filthy lucre that gets doled out within it. He’s his own man with his own opinions and plenty of his own money. It’s just that he happened to be stumping on behalf of Texas gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott when he went off on that ill-advised rant.
It should go without saying that Greg Abbott didn’t write the script for Terrible Ted, and there’s no reason to believe he endorses the expressed sentiments. Plenty of other conservative politicians have let their disapproval of Nugent’s words be known. My own junior senator has called on him to apologize for his remarks. Whether or not he will remains to be seen, but I’m not holding my breath.
But, at the heart of this problem is the fact that there are too many conservatives willing to excuse Nugent for what he said out of the misguided belief that he’s showing the proper instinct to “fight”. That’s what much of the activist right is consumed with right now: Fight, fight, fight! Even if you have to lead with your chin, just get out there and fight! To yet again abuse an analogy I’ve often abused in the past, Ted Nugent is the perfect distillation of the Tex Cobb wing of conservatism.
Now, you may be saying to yourself, “I thought you were done with politics, Walt. Shouldn’t you be out there taking your pretty little pictures and plucking around on your fancy guitar?”
Well, yeah. You’re probably right. But, you know, I can’t help feeling that somebody should have told Tex Cobb it was a bad idea get in the ring with Larry Holmes. And, in all likelihood, a few people did. And, in the end, he probably still believes it was worth it. He definitely showed he had the chin, legs, and heart of a champion even if he did lack the skills.
Still, no one who watched that spectacle came away from it elevated in any sense — quite the contrary. But, boy, did they ever get their money’s worth.