Watters: Nugent’s remarks could help unite Romney base

Arabella Watters

As I experience my first election as a voter I can say that it has been nothing but a bumpy road.

The amount of controversy that has been stirred up combined with the maelstrom of insults and mudslinging thrown around over the past year has been exhausting. It is perturbing to me the way that popularity for candidates ebbs and flows based on scandals in their personal lives and in the media.

In particular, it has been frustrating to try to predict the reliability of both candidates, in that I can never really tell how a situation is going to be handled.

Case in point is the fiery scandal which occurred over the weekend in St. Louis involving rockstar Ted Nugent and some not-so-nice comments – and when I say not-so-nice I mean down right hostile – about President Obama’s reelection.

At a meeting for the National Rifle Association last Sunday, Nugent stated that he “will either be dead or in jail by this time next year” if President Obama were reelected. Nugent also called the president and the administration “vile,” “evil” and “America-hating.” After Nugent met with two members of the Secret Service in Oklahoma about his comments allegedly threatening Obama’s life, the problem has been considered resolved.

In my opinion, a prominent musician is not going to kill the president. We have much larger issues, including a war against terrorism in Afghanistan and the always looming possibility of nuclear warfare.Not every off-hand comment by an enraged and attention – seeking conservative can be taken as a direct attack on Obama.

Not only did Nugent attack Obama, but he also made fiery comments about the liberal members of the Supreme Court, describing them as “evil, anti-American people.”

At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s pretty safe to say that Nugent leans very strongly to the right, in a manner that is stereotypically Republican and casts a bad light on conservatives.

The biggest controversy, and a large problem that has arisen from Nugent’s comments, is the fact that earlier this year he endorsed Mitt Romney as a candidate for president. Romney is walking a thin line in his attempts to appease his voters.

On one hand, he is trying to grab the votes of the moderate leaning liberals. On the other hand, he is trying to unite the Republican Party and bring cohesion after voters spent most of the year debating about Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

While I hate to say it, Nugent’s comments might be galvanizing for the very conservative base, and a way to fight against what it believes are the flaws of the Obama administration.

Is it possible that while Romney’s affiliation with Nugent disgusts moderate- and left-leaning voters, it is somewhat of a draw for the extreme ends of the Republican party?

Though Romney had no part in Nugent’s comments, indirectly he could benefit from the affiliation with such a staunch conservative. While Romney’s views as a moderate are appealing to me, it will be impossible for him to even contemplate beating Obama if he does not choose one side or the other as the election draws closer.

Though off-putting to me, Nugent’s assertions only made it that much clearer how middling Romney is in his stances as a candidate and how much of an impediment that will be regarding election.

I don’t like the idea of Romney gaining impetus from the crazy, slightly terrifying rantings of a fanatic. It is disgusting and off-putting, though maybe it’s just what he needs to gain the favor of the staunch right wing.

Arabella Watters is a Medill freshman. She can be reached at [email protected]