Armed and Rudderless

In the wake of less-than-stellar results in the November elections, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is in the process of selecting a leader for the future, with six men vying for leadership of the GOP. Last week, all six candidates appeared together in a debate at the National Press Club here in Washington.

The debate was moderated by the €œradical rightist € Grover Norquist. You may remember Norquist as the man who said his goal for the U.S. government is €œto reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub. €

In addition to being the head of a lobby group called Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist is a prominent member of the National Rifle Association Board of Directors (along with Ted Nugent and other luminaries). So it comes as no surprise that one of the main questions he asked the candidates for RNC was about how many guns they own.

As reported in an entertaining €œWashington Sketch € by Dana Milbank in the January 6, 2009 Washington Post, current RNC Chairman Mike Duncan claimed four handguns and two rifles. Saul Anunzis, chairman of the Michigan Republican Party, boasted of two guns. Ken Blackwell, former Secretary of State of Ohio, reported that he has seven guns-adding, €œand I €™m good. € Chip Saltsman, former chair of the Tennessee GOP, responded, €œIn my closet at home, I €™ve got two 12 gauges, a 20 gauge, three handguns and a .30-06. And I €™ll take you on any time, Ken. €

The image of a six man shoot-out at the GOP Corral is admittedly an intriguing one.

Equally odd was the response when Norquist asked each candidate to name his favorite Republican president. The tally, reported Milbank, was Ronald Reagan 6, Abraham Lincoln 0. Perhaps this helps to explain why candidate Saltsman recently mailed GOP party members a CD containing the parody song €œBarack the Magic Negro. € And why a minority of right wing gun owners continue to cling to the belief that the Second Amendment gives them the right to overthrow our democratic government by force.

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