Throughout the course of this presidential election cycle, you will be bombarded by outlandish rhetoric from a wide range of surrogates and spectacled speakers from across the political spectrum supporting their candidate of choice.
Take Ted Nugent for example, and many others like him who are sure to follow on both the left and the right. Nugent, envious that his fellow conservative talking heads enjoy the instant viral spontaneity of large media outlets blasting their best knock-Obama routines, looks for a new spotlight. He throws out some instant gems, as seen here in a recent video eagerly released by the DNC:
The Secret Service jumps into it, obviously needing something to shake the paparazzi circus that’s hounded it since Columbia. But, that’s what they’re supposed to do anytime anyone says they’ll be “dead or in jail by this time next year” if the President gets re-elected. What did he mean by that?
This is what happens when you mix politics and entertainment. You get washed-out, no-name celebrities with either too much time on their hands or too much self-inflicted bankruptcy. Or lost entertainers who’ve lost their multi-million record sale appeal and use ideology and partisan snaps to re-inject themselves into the national conversation.
In fact, half the time, you don’t even know them until they say something off the wall about the President or his wife. They eventually end up at National Rifle Association conventions looking for a marketing nut and unknowing working class, trigger-happy average White Joes to follow.
Yet another forgotten rocker or balding real estate mogul taking advantage of the election cycle to boost his brand, perhaps in search of a reality show contract – or to end up on the balding real estate mogul’s reality show. Yearning for attention, he figures he’ll do it at the President’s expense. But, over time, unpredictable surrogates dancing to their own tune will end up hurting the candidates, such as Nugent’s fellow Michiganer Mitt Romney. Not that Romney gets kicks from publicly calling the President “vile” and “evil,” but it can have the unwanted effect of quickly painting the candidate in an unseemly light.
Predictably, the DNC shot back (no pun), pushed it out to media-land, and offered an outraged party chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s statement. “Romney’s surrogates should know better than to rally the troops with outrageous rhetoric that is unacceptable in our political debate,” growled Schultz. “Mitt Romney must condemn Nugent’s violent and hateful rhetoric immediately, as it has no place in our political discourse or this campaign.”
Of course, Romney won’t do that. But, what will happen is an incessant back-and-forth, tit-for-tat over who said what and why – more than likely triggered by wing-nuts on the right with an occasional nut from the left to balance out the news cycle. Sadly enough, there won’t be any real substantive policy exchanges, just political talking point gimmicks, book launch tours and casting calls for cable TV. You won’t know the candidates’ platforms, but you’ll know all about what their supporters said the other day.
Don’t be surprised, though, if Team Romney campaign hacks quietly message test it.