Ted Nugent's promise to be "either be dead or in jail by this time next year" if President Obama is reelected only highlights the conspicuous lack of a manly man's men in the 2012 presidential race.
For one month last year, it seemed like there was a good chance Texas Gov. Rick Perry would serve the yeehaw-finger-guns role, as a second even manlier helping of George W. Bush. He was compared to cowboy-hat-wearing presidents both real and imagined by Hollywood, his Air Force photo was placed next to Obama's college picture on message boards as an example of the cultural superiority of conservatism. But now Perry's presidential campaign is reimbursing donations instead of seeking them. Few outlets remain for the expression of macho conservatism, and Nugent is a poor substitute for Perry, not just because he's not actually running for public office. It's also because Nugent is not much of a real manly man.
Sure, Nugent will have to talk to the Secret Service after his threatening comments at the National Rifle Association convention this week. But the last time Nugent talked to the president's protectors, it was because they wanted to shoot at targets in his yard, Mother Jones' Josh Harkinson reports. At least, that's Nugent's version of the story -- he also said that he initially thought he was being raided: "I said, 'I've got a bunch of guys with McMillan assault rifles trained on the back of your head, so if this is a raid, you can just turn right back around.'"