A Lesson in Membership Organizations via Ted Nugent

Much hay is being made of Ted Nugent’s rhetoric at the annual meeting, where he apparently urged members to figuratively “Chop their heads off in November.” Apologizes are being demanded of Mitt Romney for ever haven been within a 1/4 mile of the Nuge, and naturally the Obama Administration is helping play this up, given that the Secret Service has apparently taken some time off from procuring underaged Colombian prostitutes to take a look at the situation.

That said, I’ve never been a fan of Nugent’s over-the-top rhetoric, but that’s too bad, because there’s nothing I can do about it. Uncle Ted is one of the highest vote getters every time he’s up for the Board. Any time he’s around at Annual Meeting people are lining up around the corner to meet him, get autographs, or what have you. Our opponents are constantly telling us nonsense like the NRA leadership are out of touch with their membership. I hate to tell you guys, but the reason Nuge can dominate a board election is because a lot of members like his over-the-top, take-no-prisoners confrontational style. They get to see Ted Nugent say and do things that validates many of their core beliefs, and say it in a way they could never get away with in polite society. It is a difficult thing for our opponents to accept, but if NRA is out of touch with its members, that often runs in the other direction, and not in their direction.

To understand that, is to understand the Nuge appeal. So help me God, I don’t understand it, but a coalition made up of people just like me would be a very small one. Without the kind of people Nuge can fire up and bring to the table, we don’t really have a movement, and that’s an important thing to remember for those of us who are often embarrassed by his rhetoric.

28 thoughts on “A Lesson in Membership Organizations via Ted Nugent”

  1. It’s simple—he’s one of us, not one of “them” whomever that may be. He’s not a fake or someone trying to make the NRA members believe he’s something he is not.

    Whatever the Nuge may be, when he speaks, people believe it.

  2. Nugent is a rock performer. He performs and part of his personae is to be over the top. Personally, I love it and I’m one of those members who vote for him and stand in line to see him. I remember seeing him in concert back in 2000 and I’ll never forget him shouting”Janet Reno can kiss my ass.”

    Pissing off leftist asshats is nothing but good, not so clean, fun.

  3. Uncle Ted was my first concert..He opened up for Skynyrd and blew it up (literally, shot a guitar with a flaming arrow). Anyway, that’s his style..I’ve agreed with him on some occasions and disagreed with him on others…But I love the fact that he says what says.

  4. I’ll always respect a guy for railing against PC doctrine. There are far too many elected officials that are politically-correct and lie straight to your face. (you know, like that open and honest discussion on race that we were promised) You don’t have to agree with Ted, but you have to know that he’s NOT lying to you.

    Ted Nugent for Sec of State.

  5. Nugent’s tone is, sadly, pretty standard for political discourse these days, but that’s no reason not to try better. His rants play directly into the hands of anti-gunners; they don’t even have to monkey with the editing or take it out of context–just roll the tape.

  6. I consider Ted Nugent to be the NRA’s version of Ann Coulter. He’ll probably never win anybody over to our side, but he keeps the base fired up. He often reflects the coarse, broad brush beliefs of the Wookie suit crowd.

  7. I agree with 95% of what Ted Nugent and Ann Coulter say/write.
    I am a lifetime member of the NRA and SAF.

  8. “Firing up the base” becomes a self-fulfilling process when you’ve worked overtime to define exactly what that base will be. In this example, it explains why the majority of legislators our “base” supports are loud-mouth asshats who are longer on cliched rhetoric than on any real understanding of what should be our ideology.

    It’s amusing to see everyone agreeing and applauding that Nugent is a showman, who knows how to work his own “base”, but in the next breath saying “But he’s real! Which is it guys? If you can’t tell on the convention floor, you sure as hell can’t tell in the voting booth, either.

    1. It’s amusing to see everyone agreeing and applauding that Nugent is a showman, who knows how to work his own “base”, but in the next breath saying “But he’s real! Which is it guys? If you can’t tell on the convention floor, you sure as hell can’t tell in the voting booth, either.

      I would argue you can never really tell in politics, since politicians, with rare exception, follow their interests over any principle. The real purpose is to make their interests be to vote the way you want them to, regardless of how they really feel about the issue themselves.

      But as for Ted Nugent, I really have no idea. Sometimes I think he’s crazy like a fox, and sometimes I think he’s just crazy. He throws off cues both ways. I think ultimately he probably likes pissing people off, and generating controversy. I think he’s a true believer, but the over-the-top rhetoric is good for his brand. I guess I lean towards crazy like a fox when it comes to Nugent.

  9. MSNBC’s Bashir on “Lean Forward” did a hatchet job on Nugent today – no surprise. But it does worry me about turning off guys like the anti-LaPierre attendee Sebastian mentioned a day or so ago.

    “Opposing Views” stirred up similar anti-“gun nut” vitriol on their blog today.

    My point is, we have a legitimate cause that is both constitutional and sensible. But its popularity is tenuous. We do ourselves a favor by coming across as thoughtful and sober-minded.

    Respectfully, Arnie

  10. Sebastian, If he’s so in touch with the membership, what does that make you, an anomaly?

    Isn’t it more likely that he’s in touch with only a certain type within the NRA and that many, perhaps most feel like you do?

      1. If I understand you correctly, I’m surprised you feel that way. I would think most members aren’t taken in by his theatrics.

  11. Ted is like Lady Gaga. Gaga wears outrageous outfits to draw attention to herself. Ted uses his mouth. I’m more concerned that NRA pays him to show up.

    1. Anyone who hasn’t already seen the video of Nugent telling Obama to “suck on my machine gun” should watch it so you’ll know exactly what most news outlets will be airing along with the caption “NRA spokesman Ted Nugent.” It is not pleasant viewing. He goes on to use some choice slurs for Hillary Clinton that, while many on the right no doubt agree with them, are not the sort of thing most organizations concerned with their public image want to be associated with. Firing up the base and all that is fine, but beyond playing to the crowd for easy applause lines, the NRA and gun activists in general need to consider how people on the fence or who don’t engage gun rights as a way of life are going to react. I would say having Nugent as an official speaker makes the job of those wishing to paint the NRA as a fringe organization that much easier. After all, the road to political victory is to make converts, not just revel in offending people, no matter how easy it is or how amusingly predictable their reactions might be.

  12. I embrace Ted. He’s not a politician. Don’t expect him to say things that play well on Sunday morning TV.

  13. I haven’t had a chance yet this morning to sit down and look at the TV news, but the top level stuff I did see reported Romney “distancing himself from NRA spokesman Ted Nugent.” Great. The man we all knew the NRA would get behind has to distance himself from our spokesman. That should work out well.

    The people we choose to embrace define who “we” are. Not just in terms of public image, but in fact. As our visible constituency becomes more defined by any given milieu or belief system, those are the people that will be more attracted to it, until they become the dominant majority. (E.g., as director candidate, Nugent is among the biggest vote getters.) That would be fine if it was confined to “people who like guns and believe in gun rights” but when it begins to imply other things — say, people who believe being loud is equivalent to being smart — our fortunes begin to lie with the success of the whole package we’ve embraced, rather than just our single issue, gun rights. To a great extent we tie our single issue to an entire other package, that mostly has nothing to do with it.

    We already have reached a point where many gun rights organizations have discovered that appealing to morons and ignoramuses is the most productive way to raise funds. I fear that as a result we will shortly become a constituency of nothing but morons and ignoramuses. Somehow, putting numbers and dollars aside, I don’t think that will be to our long term benefit.

  14. Oops! It appears Romney has not yet sought to distance himself from Nugent. Guess I heard the TV in the other room with my shooting ear.

  15. Of course you don’t understand Nuge or any of the rest of us wookie-suiters. You’re the ‘reasonable’ voice in the debate. Nevertheless, you need us as much as we need you. When we need someone to put on nice clothes and go to places that put value on the ability to tell the difference between the salad fork and the meat fork, you’re our go-to guy (and gal).
    What you continually fail to grasp is that without us you’d get nowhere. You might not want to ackowledge us, but the folks you speak reasonably to know full well that after you comes us, and we’ll use that salad fork on their necks.

  16. I didn’t have an issue with the “chop off their heads in November”, clearly election talk.

    “I’ll tell you this right now: If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year”

    That’s the one that bothered me. That one goes a bit over the top. Sadly, looks like this will be Ted Nugent’s last performance at an NRA Annual Meeting. Pretty hard to perform from jail, and harder to perform when dead.


    1. He won’t be in jail or dead. Obama will be president again and Ted will be mouthing off at the next NRA convention. That’s my bet.

  17. “Of course you don’t understand Nuge or any of the rest of us wookie-suiters”.

    Actually I do, since I’ve worked both sides and ends of the street over almost 50 years, and if anything my wookie-suit was fuzzier than yours most of the time. And, I still eat with my fingers. If you want to confine wookiism to confrontational (as opposed to “access” oriented) political tactics, I’m with you all the way. But otherwise it’s all sound and fury that makes the wookie base feel hairy-chested good about themselves while accomplishing nothing else; making the choir feel holy, as it were. But what that also accomplishes is to give every political charlatan who wants to spend fifteen minutes learning our rap a free ticket to office, where he’ll stay, because our guys will never notice that for all his chest-pounding about the RKBA he (or she) never initiates anything that counts for much, and never accomplishes anything at all — at least with our issue. But they’ll accomplish a lot for the powers that actually set them up for us to vote for, and we worked tirelessly for them — effectively for free.

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