The White House released a photo of the president firing what looks to be a 12-gauge Browning. The whacked-out fantasists of the moment are "skeeters" -- Obama critics so unhinged that they have trouble imagining that a president who promotes gun safety would ever actually touch a gun. That's got the gun lobby rattled. They're claiming that the skeet-shooting pictures are "a ploy" to advance the cause of gun control.
Cross-posted from The Nation
Obama the skeet-shooter. (Flickr/White House)
Forget the "birthers."
The tin-foil hat crowd demanding that President Obama produce evidence of his American birth is so 2011.
The whacked-out fantasists of the moment are "skeeters" -- Obama critics so unhinged that they have trouble imagining that a president who promotes gun safety would ever actually touch a gun.
When Obama mentioned in a recent interview that, like millions of responsible gun owners, he enjoys skeet shooting, it was open season for the skeeters. So incredulous were they about the notion that the president might actually enjoy shooting clays that a Republican congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), went on national television to join what was referred to as "a chorus of skeptics who questioned President Barack Obama's recent comments about his hobby of skeet shooting, a sport where participants fire shotguns to break airborne clay disks."
"If he is a skeet shooter, why have we not heard of this?" grumbled Blackburn in a CNN appearance that mocked the president. "Why have we not seen photos? Why hasn't he referenced this at any point in time?"
So the White House released a photo of the president firing what looks to be a 12-gauge Browning.
Obama's stance may not meet Olympic skeet competition standards. But he looks comfortable enough with the gun. So comfortable that the photo might ease the concerns of a lot of gun-owning Americans who -- like most National Rifle Association members -- appreciate their firearms but are coming to accept that some regulations are necessary to protect against illicit trafficking in weapons and gun violence.
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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.
Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers.
Nichols is a frequent guest on radio and television programs as a commentator on politics and media issues. He was featured in Robert Greenwald's documentary, "Outfoxed," and in the documentaries Joan Sekler's "Unprecedented," Matt Kohn's "Call It Democracy" and Robert Pappas's "Orwell Rolls in his Grave." The keynote speaker at the 2004 Congress of the International Federation of Journalists in Athens, Nichols has been a featured presenter at conventions, conferences and public forums on media issues sponsored by the Federal Communications Commission, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Consumers International, the Future of Music Coalition, the AFL-CIO, the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the Newspaper Guild [CWA] and dozens of other organizations.
Nichols is the author of the upcoming book The Genius of Impeachment (The New Press), as well as a critically-acclaimed analysis of the Florida recount fight of 2000, Jews for Buchanan (The New Press) and a best-selling biography of Vice President Dick Cheney, Dick: The Man Who is President (The New Press), which has recently been published in French and Arabic. He edited Against the Beast: A Documentary History of American Opposition to Empire (Nation Books), of which historian Howard Zinn said: "At exactly the time when we need it most, John Nichols gives us a special gift--a collection of writings, speeches, poems, and songs from throughout American history--that reminds us that our revulsion to war and empire has a long and noble tradition in this country."
With Robert W. McChesney, Nichols has co-authored the books, It's the Media, Stupid! (Seven Stories), Our Media, Not Theirs (Seven Stories) and Tragedy and Farce: How the American Media Sell Wars, Spin Elections, and Destroy Democracy (The New Press). McChesney and Nichols are the co-founders of Free Press, the nation's media-reform network, which organized the 2003 and 2005 National Conferences on Media Reform.
Of Nichols, author Gore Vidal says: "Of all the giant slayers now afoot in the great American desert, John Nichols's sword is the sharpest."