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Want To Get Into Politics? Learn How To Shoot An Assault Rifle.

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              Way back in 2000, Charlton Heston stood up at the annual meeting of the NRA, raised a plastic version of a flintlock musket over his head and vowed that in order to take away his gun, the government would have to take it from his “cold, dead hands.”  I was at that meeting, but I didn’t attend Heston’s speech. What I do remember is that after the speech, lots of kids and even some adults went walking past my booth with a clenched fist in the air and shouted, “from my cold, dead hands.”

              The use of a musket to represent what makes America ‘great’ has been a fixture of American culture for years. After all, it’s how Davey Crockett ‘kilt’ him a bar when he was only three.’ Or maybe he was six. I don’t remember which was which.

              Then of course there was the Alamo where Crockett, James Bowie and William Travis held off Santa Anna’s Mexican Army for almost two weeks with their trusty flintlock guns.

              But time moves on and things change. And one of the things which appears to be changing is the use of AR-15 rifles as prop in campaign ads for candidates from both sides.

              As of last week, six Republicans have announced their intention to run in the 2022 election to replace Missouri’s retiring GOP Senator, Roy Blunt. One of those candidates is none other than Mark McCloskey, the idiot who stood in front of his house and waved an AR-15 at some BLM protestors who were marching by. He and his wife, who was waving a pistol at the crowd, copped a misdemeanor plea last week so McCloskey immediately went out and bought himself another AR-15.

              How do we know he now owns another AR-15 to replace the gun taken from his ‘cold, dead hands’ as part of his plea deal?  Because he immediately posted a pic of himself with the gun on his Twitter page, where else?

              It goes without saying, of course, that McCloskey’s Senate campaign will probably be based on trying to get every gun-nut in Missouri to show up and vote to protect their 2nd-Amendment ‘rights.’ I mean here’s a guy who used a gun to defend himself, his wife, and his home from a Black ‘mob.’ Which trigger-head in Missouri wouldn’t vote for him?

But let’s not sit back, my fellow members of Gun-control Nation, shake our heads in dismay and assume that only members of the red team believe that using a gun as a stage prop is a quick and easy way to pile up the votes.

Back in 2017, Montana held a special election to fill a House seat vacated by Ryan Zinke who was picked to run the Interior Department for Trump. Both candidates ran TV ads showing them shooting guns. But the guns in their ads were old-style, lever-action rifles right out of the Old West. You don’t see guns around like that anymore. Those lever-action guns are just as old-fashioned as the flintlock that Charlton Heston held over his head.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming, however, that it’s usually a GOP candidate like McCloskey who runs campaign ads featuring what the gun industry calls a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ even though it’s really just an assault rifle known as the AR-15.

Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District is currently represented by a Democrat named Conor Lamb. The 17th District is about as rural and country as you can get. What kind of TV ads did Lamb run when he won his Congressional seat in 2018? An ad showing him banging away at a shooting range with his trusty AR-15.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a gun as a prop in ads for political campaigns. But that doesn’t mean we have to let civilians own those guns. After all, nobody who saw Charlton Heston raise a flintlock over his head at the NRA show went out and bought one of those guns to keep around the house for self-defense.

    

   What Is An Assault Rifle?: Weisser, Michael R.: 9798728410980: Amazon.com: Books

      

        

         

       

     

Don’t make the mistake of assuming, however, that it’s usually a GOP candidate like McCloskey who runs campaign ads featuring what the gun industry calls a ‘modern sporting rifle,’ even though it’s really just an assault rifle known as the AR-15.

Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District is currently represented by a Democrat named Conor Lamb. The 17th District is about as rural and country as you can get. What kind of TV ads did Lamb run when he won his Congressional seat in 2018? An ad showing him banging away at a shooting range with his trusty AR-15.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a gun as a prop in ads for political campaigns. But that doesn’t mean we have to let civilians own those guns. After all, nobody who saw Charlton Heston raise a flintlock over his head at the NRA show went out and bought one of those guns to keep around the house for self-defense.

Is This A Real Political Campaign?

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              It was Karl Marx who said, “History repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce.” As far as I’m concerned, this year’s election certainly proves Marx to have been correct. 

              Let’s go back to 1988. George H. W. Bush runs against Mike Dukakis, the latter starting off with a huge lead. Bush is a nice guy but he’s no Ronald Reagan, even though that’s who he pretends to be.

              So what does Bush do?  He demonizes the opposition by running an entire campaign around a decision by Dukakis to grant a furlough to a lifetime felon named Willie Horton who left the penitentiary in Massachusetts and celebrated his release by committing armed robbery, kidnapping and rape.

              The Bush campaign began running an ad which had Bush saying he supported the death penalty followed by a picture of Willie Horton and a voice-over which said that the bad guy was released from jail because of a furlough program devised by then-Governor Dukakis who also had refused to sign a death penalty bill.

              Bush’s numbers began climbing from being 17 points behind in August to a victory in which he got 53% of the popular votes and carried 40 states. You can read a good column about this race written by Adam Nagourney in The (failing) New York Times.

              The 1988 Presidential campaign is considered the first national election campaign that was basically won by using attack ads. Which is exactly what Trump did in 2016 against Hillary. His entire campaign was just a series of personal swipes against her, including but not limited to the so-called ‘corruption’ of her husband’s foundation, the emails, the death of Vince Foster and everything else.

              Trump also got some last-minute help from James Comey, whose announcement about more emails re-invigorated the issue that dogged her entire campaign.

              Clinton spent the entire campaign reading from various briefing books that contained voluminous research on all sorts of policy things. Nobody cared at all. The 2016 campaign was devoid of even the slightest bit of debate about policies, it was simply a question of who could make more noise.

              So what Marx said about history first repeating itself as tragedy is a good way to understand what happened in 2016. We ended up with a President who not only didn’t get a majority of the popular vote, but received the lowest number of electoral votes since the 1960 election which produced the ill-fated Presidency of JFK.  

              What did Trump do after he started lying about the size of his inaugural crowd? He spent the next three years holding more than 90 mega-campaign rallies until the virus shut down his road show back in March. And at every rally he went on and on about how he was leading a growing ‘movement’ to bring America ‘back again.’

              Here’s a guy who, thanks to Ross Perot, gets elected with the smallest percentage of popular votes since Clinton’s first campaign in 1992. And he’s leading this big, new political movement? Covid or no Covid, Trump was a sitting duck.

              What do you do when you really can’t get past the fact that not only did the pandemic occur on your watch but it’s getting worse every day? You do what George Bush did back in 1988 – you demonize the other side.

              This time history’s repeating itself not with tragedy but with farce. And the reason this campaign’s a farce is what I heard both Trump and Rush Limbaugh say yesterday, namely, that Joe is a ‘tool’ of the ‘international Communist movement.’ Is there anyone alive except me who even remembers when there was a Communist movement anywhere at all?

              We’ve known the importance of social distancing to control pandemics since Boccaccio wrote The Decameron in 1348. But when the President of the United States wraps an entire campaign narrative around the idea that we don’t need to do anything about the pandemic because we’ve already ‘turned the corner’ without a vaccine, we’re not engaged in a political campaign.

              We’re engaged in a farce.

              VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN!

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