Denton, TX has been at the center of Texas politics recently. Specifically Texas REPUBLICAN politics.
On Tuesday, Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Greg Abbott hosted a campaign event at El Guapo's Restaurant in Denton along with rock musician Ted Nugent followed by an afternoon stop up US-287 in Wichita Falls.
Nugent is considered a hero in Republican/right wing circles given his stances on firearms. Let's take a look at some of the things that Nugent has said in the past.
In a 1977 interview with High Times magazine, Ted Nugent claimed that in order to avoid the draft for the Vietnam War he went without bathing for a month and defecated in his pants during his Army physical. According to Nugent he received a 4-F rating. Dee Snyder, frontman for the group Twisted Sister, in a Huffington Post article brought this story to the forefront when it was announced that Nugent was a guest of Rep. Steve Stockman (R, TX-36) during the 2013 State of The Union. In the Huffington Post article, Nugent says that he made the story up and Snyder is lying.
VH1's Behind The Music interviewed Ted Nugent in 1998. The interview shifted towards his relationships with women. Nugent was married to his first wife in the early 1970s, but the two split due to their various addictions; his first ex-wife having addictions to drugs and alcohol while for Nugent it was young women.
As in very young women. As in under the age of 18.
In 1978, Ted Nugent entered a relationship with 17-year old Hawaiian Pele Massa.
Nugent was 30 years old when he entered in the relationship.
In order to date their daughter, Pele's parents signed over documents making Nugent HER LEGAL GUARDIAN.
Pardon me for editorializing: ewwwwww....
Ted Nugent is not a fan of either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or any number of Democratic politicians. In this 2007 video, Nugent is seen on stage during a concert in California while brandishing what is assumed to be props of firearms screaming such things like:
"Obama, he's a piece of shit and I told him to suck on my machine gun!"
"Hey Hillary! You might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch!"
"Barbara Boxer, she might want to suck on my machine guns!"
"Hey, Diane Feinstein, ride one of these you worthless whore!"
Nugent clearly displays his lack of knowledge about history. Senator Diane Feinstein (D, CA) was on the board of supervisors in San Francisco from 1970 until 1978. Then-supervisor Feinstein discovered the bullet riddled bodies of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk. One other thing about Moscone and Milk: they both served in the Navy. Nugent talks tough, but as shown in his Army physical story he is nothing but a coward.
This wouldn't be the last tirade Nugent had towards President Obama. During the 2012 election, not only did Nugent endorse Mitt Romney but Nugent also said this during an interview at the National Rifle Association (NRA) convention:
"If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
- Ted Nugent, 17 April 2012
In that same interview, Nugent also advocated for decapitating the heads of elected officials. Because of his statements, Nugent received a visit from the Secret Service and the Army canceled a scheduled concert that was to take place at Fort Knox, Kentucky.
After President Barack Obama's re-election in November 2012, Nugent took to twitter to express his displeasure in the election results the day after with such statements as:
"Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America"
"What subhuman varmint believes others must pay for their obesity booze cellphones birthcontrol abortions & lives"
"Goodluk America u just voted for economic & spiritual suicide. Soulless fools"
Speaking of twitter, Ted Nugent took to the social media platform after he bailed on an interview with CNN regarding Nugent calling President Obama a "subhuman mongrel" in a video interview with Guns.com that took place in January 2014.
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer was found to be correct that the use of the phrase "subhuman mongrel" is rooted in Nazi Germany terminology.
Once again when the pressure is on, Nugent bails.
This has also caused the Greg Abbott for Governor campaign to retreat. Attorney General Abbott did not respond to questions when asked about the most recent statements that Nugent made.
Bud Kennedy's column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram seems to go with the observation of that Ted Nugent overshadowed Greg Abbott. Already the press is taking notice of the attorney general allowing the rocker join him in the campaign.
Governor Rick Perry and Abbott's primary opponent Lisa Fritsch have condemned Nugent's comments. Ms. Fritsch even went as far in an interview with CNN noting that these statements don't grow the Republican Party.
It should also be noted that Governor Perry invited Ted Nugent to play at his 2007 governor's ball where the rocker wore a confederate-flag shirt and demeaned Texas' non-English speaking residents.
And I, given my own political leanings, agree with Ms. Fritsch.
Could this be the Clayton Williams moment of the 2014 Texas Gubernatorial Campaign?
Too soon to tell. Election Day is 4 November 2014 and there are many more stories that will shape the election.
But I will say these things about the campaign event.
This was nothing more than grandstanding.
Attorney General Abbott does not have much of a platform to run on. His main point: "I go into the office, I sue Barack Obama, and I go home."
Right... spending $2.58 million to win only 4 cases in 27 tries against the Obama administration while only filing three against the Bush administration. Again forgive me for editorializing with this sarcastic remark: That's the basis of a gubernatorial run.
Attorney General Abbott does not have a formidable challenger in the upcoming 4 March primary but he something to rally support for his campaign. This will backfire as noted by Paul Burka of Texas Monthly's Burka Blog:
It reveals Abbott, at the very least, as someone who doesn't have acute political judgment. Nugent is political dynamite. He can blow sky high at a moments' notice. And if Abbott truly believes that he needs Nugent to establish his 2nd Amendment credentials, as if they were in any doubt, then Abbott must believe that his own record doesn't speak for itself. You can't have it both ways. The likely next governor of Texas should be better than that.
I think Republicans should be worried. This is exactly the kind of brashness and bravado that turns voters off -- in particular women voters -- and it may drive some Republican voters out of their party. In my opinion, at least, Abbott and the Republicans are a lot closer to the precipice than most Republicans realize. Yes, Texas is still a red state. But even in Texas, there are limits to what you can say. Ted Nugent put his mark on Greg Abbott. That mark is going to be indelible.
This is the problem that the Republican Party today. It has been the problem of the Republican Party since
January 2013 6
November 2012 20
January 2009 4 November
Today's Republican Party is appealing to the lowest common denominator. It did bring them short term success in 2010 by riding the anti-incumbency wave, but the party is facing electoral doom in future elections where states like Colorado, Nevada, and Virginia are trending blue while three new battleground states could play a role in the electoral calculus as early as 2016. Those three states: Arizona, Georgia, and... Texas.
This stunt might play well among Abbott's supporters and in Denton County where the Republican Party is strong, but it will backfire when the electorate gets to be more diverse. The event is already drawing scorn from the press in Texas and nationally. The Daily Beast's Michelle Cottle sums it up best about what the event in Denton was about:
Abbott’s snuggling up to Nugent is not about the Second Amendment or the Fourth Amendment or any part of the Constitution. It is about courting and stoking the absolute ugliest, most paranoid, most ass-backwards elements of the GOP coalition. We’re not talking here about garden-variety gun lovers or small-government enthusiasts or evangelical values voters. We’re talking about people who find it quaint when Nugent starts raving about how black people are lazy or how disgusting he finds gays or how Hillary Clinton is a “toxic cunt” and “a two-bit whore for Fidel Castro.” We’re talking about people who find it hilarious when Nugent waves his little guns around and froths, “Hey Hillary! You might want to ride one of these into the sunset, you worthless bitch.”
Texas voters will have a choice in the upcoming November election. Do they want a governor who will make sure that schools are well funded along with key infrastructure projects in order to promote an actual business friendly environment instead of one that Governor Perry promotes? How about a governor that believes that all Texans are treated fairly?
Or do you want a governor who will associate himself with someone with a well documented history of statements that demean people and questionable behaviors?
It is a good idea to know who you associate yourself with.