Ted Nugent must be made of Teflon.
There is nothing the rocker and NRA board member can say about President Obama or people of color that would make him off limits to elected Republicans.
Nugent’s racialized language about the nation’s first black president should alienate him from Republicans who are not on the fringe, but with the news of his joint appearance with Republican gubernatorial candidate Gregg Abbott, it seems Teflon Ted is still beloved by many in the Republican ranks.
No wonder the Republican party continues to struggle with people of color, women, young people, and independent voters. The embrace of the controversial Nugent is a signal to the base and a wink and a nod that his comments about the president are just fine. The spineless GOP leadership has let folks like Ted Nugent and Donald Trump attack the president’s legitimacy since he was elected, questioning his birth certificate, college transcripts and intelligence; Nugent’s extremely offensive rhetoric throughout the 2012 campaign was appalling.
Nugent has referred to the president as “a Chicago-communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured, subhuman mongrel like the ACORN community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama” who didn’t win two fair elections.
Apparently to Nugent, winning elections is “weaseling” your way into the the nation’s highest office.
Abbott, who is in the midst of a sexist crusade against challenger Wendy Davis, must think that Nugent’s presence at a campaign event has an upside. And that’s just par for the course with the current Republican party. Elected Republicans give Nugent and his ilk a wink and a nod as they bash the president and his supporters in explicitly racialized terms, referring to the president’s coalition as “subhuman varmint[s].”
Congressional Republicans are no different. Rep. Steve Stockman didn’t mind this kind of rhetoric coming from Nugent either and most recently took the rocker as his special guest to the State of the Union address. Stockman said before the annual address, “I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama.”
No wonder the GOP is in disarray and desperately trying to rebrand itself in time for the midterms to attract people of color and women voters. If the Republican party isn’t going to pass anything between now and the midterm elections and they associate with the Ted Nugents of the world, what reason do hard-working Americans have to vote for them?
It seems that the opposition to the president is at a tipping point where it may finally be time for the GOP to face the harsh reality that Americans struggling to make ends meet don’t have the patience for personal attacks that have nothing to do with policy.
The association with Ted Nugent, Donald Trump, and others is an indication that the GOP is still beholden to the far right and will not allow the extremists to go quietly into the night in lieu of a policy debate. Their cowardice and failure to stand up to the base is hurting the country and may begin to finally hurt Republicans who so desperately want to win back the Senate.
Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter at @ZerlinaMaxwell.