That’s the equation, say progressive bloggers who are annoyed that the news media has yet to turn its full frenzied attention to recent remarks made by rock icon and firearms aficionado Ted Nugent at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention.
Among other things, Mr. Nugent — who has officially endorsed Republican hopeful Mitt Romney — characterized Obama administration officials as “vile, evil and America-hating” and “criminals,” later predicting that he’d be “dead or in jail by this time next year,” should President Obama win re-election.
The musician also characterized the 2012 presidential battle between Republicans and Democrats in vigorous terms, suggesting to his audience, “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”
Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul later dismissed Mr. Nugent’s enthusiastic rant as divisive language, and “offensive,” underscoring Mr. Romney’s belief in public civility.
Mr. Nugent, meanwhile, is set to meet with the Secret Service on Thursday to clarify his remarks.
“I’ve never threatened anybody’s life in my life. I’ve never threatened. I don’t waste breath threatening,” the musician reassured radio host Glenn Beck during an appearance on Tuesday.
But that is not the end of the story for progressive bloggers, who remain fixated on the press storm last week around Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen after she said that potential first lady Ann Romney’s role as a stay-at-home mother of five did not qualify as “work,” and gave her no economic expertise.
“The mild remarks of Hilary Rosen get transformed into an icon of Democratic indifference to the needs of ‘real women’ while the vile, eliminationist rhetoric of Nugent, who claims he got a personal vow from Romney before giving his endorsement last month, goes mostly unmentioned,” said Daily Kos contributor Meteor Blades.
Media Matters for America now claims that Mr. Nugent “may have been compensated by the National Rifle Association for incendiary comments he made,” at least according to the organization’s analysis of a an NRA expense memo released to its membership during the weekend meeting.
But some observers also point out that Mr. Nugent, who writes a column for The Washington Times, is perhaps more entertainer than campaign official.
“Relax, Democrats. Ted Nugent’s just a rock ‘n’ roller,” advises Los Angeles Times columnist Jon Healy.
“I won’t defend Nugent’s comments at the National Rifle Association convention in St. Louis; they were hyperbolic and irresponsible. He skates right up to the edge of calling for violence against the president, so it wouldn’t surprise me if the Secret Service decided to pay him a bit more attention,” Mr. Healy continued.
“But Nugent is no more a surrogate for Romney than the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. is for Obama. Just because someone with a microphone urges people to vote for a candidate doesn’t make him or her a ‘surrogate’ for the campaign.”