Time for Good Republicans to Oust Whacko Republicans

In Arizona, the Republican Party plans to raffle off a Glock handgun, the same brand used to kill six and wound 13 others -- including Gabrielle Giffords -- in January

RTXR28I.jpgCarlos Garcia Rawlins / Reuters

In September 2008, then US Senator Lincoln Chafee did what many other smart, sensible Republicans should do today.  He distanced himself from the pugnacious, anti-informed, increasingly deluded and violence-hugging wing of his GOP party. In a talk I moderated at the New America Foundation, now Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee called Sarah Palin "a cocky whacko."

Today, the too silent majority of Republican Party members who are decent, believe in classical conservative values of decency and fair and honest work, who shun flamboyance, and want to see the nation move ahead for everyone need to stand up and knock back the idiots in their party who are celebrating and breeding thuggery and promoting violence.

In Arizona, the Republican Party plans to raffle off the same brand of pistol*, a Glock 23 .40 caliber handgun, that killed six people, and wounded 13 others including US House Representative Gabrielle Giffords who was shot at point blank range in the head.

How can this make sense to any sensible manager of the GOP's political outreach?  This is not only offensive, but this kind of thing actually telegraphs a green light to other tightly wound fanatics that it's OK to target their political rivals.  It's an outrageous move.

According to a New York Times accounting by Marc Lacey, the 'interim' chairman of the Pima County, Arizona Republican said "the raffle of the Glock pistol would go on."

Lacey further reports Shaw's comment:

"Had I known the reaction was going to be this strong, I would have taken that into consideration," Mr. Shaw said. "But we've done handgun raffles in the past and we'll do them in the future. We're not trying to offend anyone."

President Obama says that he didn't intend to steal the spotlight away from the NBC/Politico Republican Presidential Candidate debate next week either -- but let's just admit for a moment that while talking a real jobs strategy is vital now -- the President really did want to razz the GOP.  That out on the table, the White House then had the decency to back off and respectfully gave House Speaker John Boehner his preference of a speech the next night.

Interim Republican Party Pima County Chair Mike Shaw should do the same and end this gun raffle.  That Glock belongs in a hall of shame for the time being -- and his "principles" in wanting to remain on track with a $10 per ticket raffle is the move of a "cocky whacko."

There are many GOPers who I know are disgusted by this.  It would be good to hear from them -- and also good to hear which standing Members of the US House of Representatives -- Democrat and Republican -- think that auctioning a Glock in the same district where their colleague was shot is a healthy, swift move for the country and the GOP.

This sort of reminds me of the cruel internet guy who extorted money from people so as not to kill a cute bunny he broadcast over a webcam.

The legal lines in these cases may put the protagonists in the clear, but sick is sick -- and many of my Republican friends need to do their part in calling out those in positions of party responsibility who are promoting violence.

UPDATE:  My friend and fellow blogger James Joyner corrected me that while the same brand, the Glock is a different model.  Thanks James.

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Steve Clemons is Washington editor at large for The Atlantic and editor of Atlantic Live. He writes frequently about politics and foreign affairs. More

Clemons is a senior fellow and the founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, a centrist think tank in Washington, D.C., where he previously served as executive vice president. He writes and speaks frequently about the D.C. political scene, foreign policy, and national security issues, as well as domestic and global economic-policy challenges.

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