Guns Trump Knives

Remember that famous National Lampoon magazine cover, the one where a revolver is pointed at a dog with the infamous threat: “If you don’t buy this magazine, we’ll kill this dog”?

Some Tea Party folks are adopting a similar strategy.

Take, for example, this chilling quote from a The New York Times story about the Tea Party movement:

And in Indiana, Richard Behney, a Republican Senate candidate, told Tea Party supporters what he would do if the 2010 elections did not produce results to his liking: “I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too.”

Whoa.  Break out the gun Bessy, this here vote is going all wrong.

Yes, many Tea Party folks are mad at Republicans too.  Hell, they’re mad at just about everyone, maybe even each other, but given how the movement is often guided quietly by ninja Republican operatives, if push comes to vote, the Dems lose big.

Democrats are bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Owning the Airwaves

It seems all the likely GOP presidential candidates are getting their own television “news” shows.  At least when it comes to Fox News.

Mike Huckabee, he’s on Fox.  And next on the boob tube and skipping cue cards for an ink-stained palm comes Sarah Palin.  This is exciting news if, like me, you’re a fascinated observer of this political theater of the absurd.  It’s as if the GOP and Fox put their heads together and asked: “How can we make Jon Stewart’s life any easier and give the guy even more material?”

Fox already boasts Glenn Beck, patron saint of the Tea Party movement.  And Sean Hannity, patron saint of those suffering from ROB (Repetitive Obama Bashing) syndrome.  And Bill O’Reilly, who ironically now rises to “the voice of reason” among the Fox talkmeisters.

And where the hell is Mitt Romney?  He’s messing with my theory, not having his own show on Fox News.  What, Fox doesn’t like Mormons?

Obama vs. Congress vs. Everyone

There are rumblings among Congressional operatives that the White House doesn’t get it and is to blame for 2010 looking suspiciously like a replay of 1994.

And there are rumblings in the White House that Dems in the House and Senate don’t get it and they’re costing a Democratic president his chance to repair the mess they see from the Bush years.

The situation is ugly for Dems.  They have no central message, no momentum, just charisma on the part of President Barack Obama and a decided lack of charisma on the part of just about every other Democrat on the planet (and Dems from other planets, such as Nancy Pelosi).

The Republicans have a simple message – it’s Obama’s fault, and throw in Harry Reid and Pelosi for good measure.  The Democrats want to nuance it all, and nuance rarely works in politics.

Okay, So Now What?

If I were Obama or one of his handlers, I’d almost look forward to a Republican Congress.

Of course this may be why I’m a lowly journalism professor and not a highly paid political handler, but I think a GOP Congress gives Obama someone to run against.  Let’s face it, when you’re president, you’re always running.

Remember that episode of West Wing (lovingly called Left Wing by some)?  In it, C.J. Cregg describes how they desperately need someone narrow-minded, partisan, and parochial to challenge the White House to help it win a political fight.

“Am I wrong,” she says (more or less), “or is this a job for the U.S. House of Representatives?”

Same theory here.

Bill Clinton had Newt Gingrich.  Ronald Reagan had Tip O’Neill.  Right now Obama has, well, nobody, except a bunch of television and radio talkers who say whatever they want, whenever they want, to millions of eager listeners and viewers with little chance they’ll have to actually make a serious decision.  It’s a lose-lose situation.

If I were a Dem, I’d work hard to win in 2010 but not be too upset when the election spanking comes.  And that spanking will come – one not unlike the kind the nuns gave me as a bratty kid at Sacred Heart Catholic School.

All we need is a few more television news programs by potential GOP candidates.  And all I need is some popcorn and a comfy chair.

Barry Hollander

Barry Hollander

Former hack at daily newspapers, now hack journalism professor at the University of Georgia, number cruncher and longtime Net user, caffeine addict, writer of weird fiction, and a semi-retired god in an online fantasy world where godhood suits him quite well, thank you very much. He also blogs at