Everyone who thinks what happened last week was bad for his campaign is just too stupid to see the big picture.
Right about the time Nugent was firing up the second crowd of North Texas voters last week in Wichita Falls, Abbott’s chief strategist, Dave Carney, wondered out loud on Twitter if the campaign’s Democratic opponent, Sen. Wendy Davis, wanted to go mano-a-mano with The Nuge on issues important to Texas voters.
“Wonder if @wendydavistexas would risk a straight up vote,” Carney wrote, using Davis’ Twitter account name. “Her and her views V. @TedNugent and his? I know who would win today!”
A week’s worth of Democratic outrage did nothing to shake Carney from that notion. The longtime consultant, who worked in the first Bush White House, is no stranger to Texas politics. He got his start here in 1993, helping Kay Bailey Hutchison defeat Sen. Bob Krueger, the last Texas Democrat to serve in the U.S. Senate, and he has played a major role in every Republican gubernatorial campaign since 2002.
The Nugent blowback theory, in his view, is yet another fiction spun by liberal elites and their friends in the mainstream media. Just like the fantasy that Sen. Kay “Bailout” Hutchison — who Carney quit working for long ago — was going to beat his more conservative client, Gov. Rick Perry, in the 2010 governor’s race. Just like the myth that a diverse “dream team” of Democratic candidates in 2002 had any chance of tossing out the dominant Republicans.
Never mind that Nugent has acknowledged having “beautiful” affairs with underage girls in his heavy touring days, or that he has called Hillary Clinton a “bitch” and worse. Yes, all that was a bit over the top. And no, the way Abbott handled the flap did not produce his finest hour on the campaign trail, particularly when CNN’s Ed Lavandera tried to ask the candidate about the controversy. After a standard brush-off failed to stop the reporter, an Abbott campaign aide physically blocked him from asking any more questions.
Now even Nugent, in the slightest nod to his critics, has issued a limited apology, not for any misogynistic slurs or engaging in sex with underage girls, but for referring to President Obama as a “subhuman mongrel,” a phrase Nazis once applied to Jews.
Regardless, inside the Abbott campaign, all of the handwringing over the gig with Nugent — and other perceived missteps — is confined to, as Carney puts it, a bunch of “Austin echo chamber” elites who are woefully out of touch with the voting public.
“They’re clueless about politics,” he said in an interview with The Texas Tribune. “This group-think stuff has zero impact on voters.”
So, to sum up:
1. Abbott’s association with Ted Nugent was awesome for him.
2. Anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.
3. Nothing will change until someone loses an election over something like this.
Are we fired up yet? Now go do something about it.