Politicians, lay down your firearms.
No, that’s not a mandate for candidates and officeholders to get rid of their guns. Rather, it’s a plea for them to quit posing with them in attempts to show where they stand on gun rights or posturing on gun rights in other ways. Enough already!
We’ve seen examples aplenty — most recently the photo of President Obama skeet shooting at Camp David, released in response to an interview he did with The New Republic in which the president said he goes skeet shooting "all the time" at Camp David.
Apparently White House Press Secretary Jay Carney grew tired of answering question about the "all the time" claim in the interview, so he released the photo of Obama with a rifle shooting clay targets in August 2012 at Camp David. The photo is almost comical in its appearance and has inspired numerous altered satirical photos on social media platforms.
Obama isn’t alone when it comes to politicians being lampooned over statements or photos involving firearms. Republican Mitt Romney, Obama’s opponent in 2012, suffered considerable political "shots" in 2008 when he was seeking his party’s presidential nomination. On the campaign trail, a reporter asked Romney about his hunting experience.
His response: "I’m not a big-game hunter. I’ve always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will. I began when I was 15 or so and I have hunted those kinds of varmints since then." Pundits had a field day with that.
Former President George W. Bush often would hunt doves on his ranch in Texas. The result was a lot of photo and video opportunities, followed by a lot of lampooning. Dick Cheney, his vice president, was often photographed quail hunting — that is until he accidentally shot one of his hunting companions. That episode took on a life of its own.
In Arkansas, it must be some kind of requirement for candidates for public office to send out a mailer or run a TV or print ad with photos of themselves dressed in camouflage and holding some sort of firearm. Often such ads are accompanied by a message touting their endorsement from the National Rifle Association and stating that as a lifelong hunter they will protect citizens’ Second Amendment rights.
A Democratic congressional candidate even tried his best to make an issue of the fact that Republican Congressman Tim Griffin did not have a current hunting license in 2012. Never mind that Griffin was a full-time congressman and father of two young children back in Little Rock.
Please don’t misunderstand. I strongly support the Second Amendment. As a supporter, I want to know where candidates stand on the issue of gun rights. However, I care much more about the candidates’ position and voting record than I do how many guns they own or many times they have been skeet shooting.
Jason Tolbert is an accountant and conservative political blogger. His blog — The Tolbert Report — is linked at ArkansasNews.com. His e-mail is jason@TolbertReport.com.