I saw this ad for Texas Republican Lt. Governor hopeful Todd Staples a couple of weeks ago when it first hit the intertubes. I didn’t think much of it – except that it reminded me of West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin’s campaign ad. You know; the one where the then-future author of the post Newtown universal background check bill used a hunting rifle to shoot the Cap and Trade bill while touting his NRA ‘A’ rating and promising to protect his constituents’ Second Amendment protected rights. Anyway . . .
today’s New York Times is aghast that candidate Staples would aim a gun in a gun store while promising to “fight Obama’s liberal agenda.” Here’s the outrage from the Times’s carefully selected outrager, one Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the left-leaning Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and “an expert on political discourse.”
Though several of the Texas ads feature candidates with guns, Mr. Staples’s is perhaps the most striking, showing him taking a gun off a rack and aiming it as he vows to “fight Obama’s liberal agenda.”
“The question is: Why would need a gun to fight an agenda? You don’t shoot a policy or shoot an agenda — you fight an agenda with words,” Ms. Jamieson said. “It’s either a gratuitous visual, or trying to suggest that he takes this very seriously, and centering a gun is a metaphor.”
Mr. Staples said his 30-second spot was simply intended to underscore his willingness to fight for states’ rights and stand up to government overreach.
“What was so inflammatory was his proclamation during the State of the Union that he will run around Congress issuing executive fiat,” Mr. Staples said, referring to Mr. Obama’s promise to use executive actions to circumvent Congress when possible. “These are fighting words to Texans.”
The footage of him with the gun, he added, was simply an allusion to his promise to defend the Second Amendment rights of Texans. “We want to remind those in Washington that the best 911 is a .223,” he said, referring to a .223-caliber rifle.
Yay! The Times got it right! The caliber bit, of course. The rest of it, well, they found someone to conclude the article in a way that paints this anti-government “grumbling” as Texas “extremism.” Note to the Times: I don’t think so.
But don’t expect to see the tone of Texas ads thaw anytime soon. Running in a Republican primary in Texas, said Will Feltus, senior vice president for research and planning at National Media Inc., a Republican media-buying company, “is just as extreme as running in a Democratic primary in San Francisco.”