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Ted Nugent at the SOTU? That’s Bad, but the Problem Goes a Lot Deeper

Inmates running the asylum
Politics • Views: 24,278

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas) wants to impeach President Obama over his proposals for gun control, and since he’s allowed to invite guests to the President’s State of the Union address, Stockman’s guest for the evening will be Ted Nugent. Of course. This is the Republican Party in 2013.

Congressman Steve Stockman (R-TX) has announced that he would be bringing musician and conservative loudmouth Ted Nugent to President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.

“I am excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber to hear from President Obama,” Stockman said on his congressional website on Monday.

Now, that’s a responsible, upstanding member of Congress for ya! Ted Nugent, you may recall, was investigated by the Secret Service after swearing publicly that he’d “either be dead or in jail” if Obama was reelected. Who better to invite to a State of the Union speech?

Nugent’s bad enough, but I have to agree with Greg Sargent here: The Problem Runs a Lot Deeper Than Ted Nugent.

But really, this episode is significant for reasons that go well beyond Nugent. The key actor here who matters is Steve Stockman. The problem lies in all the over-the-top stuff GOP lawmakers say regularly that isn’t quite crazy enough to earn widespread condemnation, as Nugent’s quotes have, but are still whacked out enough to encourage an atmosphere that helps keep millions of GOP base voters sealed off from reality. The problem is the perpetual winking and nodding to The Crazy that is deemed marginally acceptable - the hints about creeping socialism, the claim that modest Obama executive actions amount to tyranny, the suggestions that Obama’s values are vaguely un-American and that Obama is transforming the country and the economy into something no longer recognizably American, and so on — more so than the glaringly awful stuff that gets the media refs to throw their flags.

As Jonathan Bernstein put it the other day, Republican lawmakers who flirt with this type of talk regularly are helping create an environment in which moderate Republicans are forever on the defensive and in fear of the base.

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