It was only a matter of time before conservative media rallied behind National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent. In the space of a few days, he has garnered support from CNN contributor Dana Loesch, Fox News host Mike Huckabee, and frequent Fox guest Lars Larson, who have defended the firebrand rocker and Washington Times columnist for recent comments he made about the Obama administration. Those comments alarmed the Secret Service enough to seek a meeting with Nugent. (The Secret Service has since announced that "the issue has been resolved" and the agency "does not anticipate any further action.")
During the NRA national convention on April 14, Nugent accused Obama of having a "vile, evil America-hating administration" that is "wiping its ass with the Constitution" and told the crowd that "[w]e need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November." He added: "If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."
Those comments, by the way, have now been scrubbed from the organization's official YouTube account and from the NRANews.com website.
Loesch, Huckabee, and Larson have denied that Nugent was making any kind of threat -- Nugent himself has disclaimed this point -- and by way of defense, have offered their own interpretations of what Nugent, whom they all referred to as a friend, was really saying. But in casting doubt and trying to deflect attention from the inflammatory comments, these commentators are fueling an old myth that Obama is a "gun grabber" out to "take away" Nugent's freedoms and Americans' guns.
Regardless, why would it be OK for Nugent to stoke fears that Obama will come for Americans' guns and liberties -- and that people will die as a result? How this is acceptable is anyone's guess.
On his nationally syndicated radio show today, Huckabee claimed that what Nugent was saying is that "he's more afraid Obama's gonna be coming after him. He fears for his liberty. So he figures, OK, I may be in jail or I may be dead. He never said anything about threatening the president." Huckabee added that progressives are "having to fabricate some things that Ted did not say in order to make it somehow kind of work."
Indeed, on Huckabee's show yesterday, Nugent called the claims that he threatened Obama "preposterous, outrageous, deceitful, [and] dishonest." He also stated: "I've never threatened anyone's life in my life," adding, "I certainly wouldn't threaten the life of the president or anybody in public office or anybody anywhere."
He accused the Democratic leadership of trying to silence him and called several female congressional members "maniacal" for denouncing his comments. Nugent went on to say: "So this has been going because I have the audacity to use the First Amendment, Mike, and they want to shut me up and it ain't gonna happen."
In trying to explain his NRA comments, Nugent pointed to "the level and increasing corruption and abusive power in the federal government right now," which he claimed was "off the charts":
On April 17, Nugent appeared on Loesch's radio show, saying that he stood by his comments and that he was being attacked with the "Saul Alinsky Rules for Radicals playbook."
Loesch accused Democrats of "using" Nugent "to distract" from current issues affecting the administration and agreed that Nugent is being used as "a scapegoat." She added: "They're trying to suggest that you said something that you emphatically did not say." She later concluded:
LOESCH: You made this statement that well, "if Barack Obama becomes president in November again, I'll either be dead or in jail by this time next year." I think, quite honestly, most -- every conservative would be in jail because we wouldn't be going along with the Obamacare mandates.
On Fox today, Larson invoked the 1995 film Braveheart to explain Nugent's comments, saying:
LARSON: It was clear from what he was saying there that he was using the Braveheart metaphor: ride into battle, chop their heads off. It's a metaphor, folks. It's a figure of speech. It doesn't mean literally chop Hillary Clinton's head off, and its not a threat to the president's life.
When asked to explain Nugent's "dead or in jail" reference, Larson replied:
LARSON: Now there are a number of ways to understand that. I mean, you could assume that what he's saying is that if Barack Obama is reelected, I'll try to kill him and then I'll be thrown in jail for it. Or what he could be saying is this: Both the president and his attorney general, whom Nugent named, are anti-gun folks, gun grabbers -- the way we call them.
Those of us who believe in the Second Amendment believe that in his second term, this administration will come down -- hard on gun rights and will try to take guns away from people. And I think that in the context of where Nugent was speaking, to a bunch of freedom-loving, Second Amendment-loving folks at the NRA, what he's saying is he could end up in jail because there are a lot of us who said we don't care what the government does, we are not gonna have our gun rights interrupted by a president who clearly doesn't believe in the Constitution.