Remember when right wingers and gun enthusiasts chided the President for exploiting the tragedy in Newtown and the memories of those children for political purposes? Yeah. Well. In another instance in the continuing saga of "It's OK If You Are Republican," the tables have turned in Anne Arundel County, Maryland:
The 8-year-old Anne Arundel County boy who was suspended for biting a pastry in to the shape of a gun received standing ovation and a lifetime membership to the National Rifle Association Wednesday night.Oh, how cute. How droll. How...disgusting. Below the fold are more details.
At a fundraiser for Anne Arundel County Republicans, House Minority Leader Nicholaus R. Kipke presented Josh Welch with the membership, which cost $550, during a tongue-in-cheek presentation that involved a Pop-Tart fashioned into pistol and gun safety tips.
Back in March, Josh Welch was suspended from his elementary school for chewing his pop tart into the shape of a gun, which of course set Fox News followers into a crazy fit about the overreach of public school zero tolerance policies. Mind you, not a lot of people were agreeing with the decision of the school...indeed, most found it stupid and wholly unrelated to debate on gun control. But that doesn't stop the GOP and NRA's unholy union on the train to crazyville.
Immune to irony, the Anne Arundel GOP decided to have David Keene, NRA President, as their keynote speaker at their annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner (named after two Presidents who just happened to be victims of gun violence). But, that not being enough, they decided to up the ante and exploit an 8-year-old kid who suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and seemed as though he'd rather be somewhere else:
Josh, who was 7 at time he was suspended for two days, gave the NRA certificate to his parents at the Glen Burnie event and returned to playing games on a cellphone.Well, the NRA and GOP sure made sure people will keep asking Josh about it, won't they?
"Everyone keeps asking me why I did it," Josh said. "I don't know why I did it. ... I wish people would stop asking me about it. It'll probably go on for 45 years or something."
Josh said he didn't know what the NRA was or what it meant to have a membership, but chimed in when his parents were asked whether anyone else in his family belonged to the NRA.
"Nope, only me," he said.
It hasn't gone unnoticed by local Democratic politicians. Democratic County Councilman, Jamie Benoit released a statement and a nice little counter offer to the GOP's tactics:
“This latest asinine publicity stunt by certain local elected officials appears, on the surface, to be part a systematic effort to transform the GOP from a credible major political party to a sideshow in our public discourse. It’s embarrassing.” Benoit said.Well put, Councilman. As the saying goes, the more the monkey climbs up the tree, the more you get to see of its ugly side. And while it's hard to believe, the GOP is showing more and more of its ugly side every day.
Benoit added, “in an effort to diffuse the exploitation of an 8 year-old by County Republican Party, I plan to make sure the youngster is afforded an opportunity to understand another point of view. No one should tolerate the attempt by Anne Arundel County’s Republican leadership to indoctrinate 8 year-olds into extreme ways of thinking.”
“Therefore, I am offering to fund a membership to the ACLU in an effort to avoid the brainwashing of a child by clown-car politicians who seem determined to convert the party of Lincoln and Reagan into some kind of cult.”
"Obviously, only Democrats in Maryland would think this is dangerous," Kipke said as he wielded the pastry on stage. "Always remember safe handling of your Pop-Tarts. The Democrats will be outraged by this, but too bad."
6:15 AM PT: And even more from the Sun...at least one Maryland Republican, and a gun rights advocate to boot, sees this for the idiocy it is:
Objections also came from Republican state Sen. J.B. Jennings, a gun-rights advocate who, after Josh's suspension, introduced legislation to limit how administrators can punish children for what Jennings described as "playground behavior."Kudos to you, Senator Jennings.
"We're trying to get this off the kid's permanent record, and this completely makes it a political issue," said Jennings, who represents Baltimore County and voted against Maryland's new gun law. Jennings said Republicans were using the boy as a "political pawn."
"This isn't about gun control," Jennings said. "I'm just shaking my head that all of a sudden he's being used as a poster boy in the gun debate."