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NRA Leaders Speechify – Aloha Akhbar?!

For a weekend conference designed to celebrate and protect Americans’ second amendment rights, the Leadership Conference at the annual convention of the National Rifle Association sounded a whole lot more like a fire and brimstone tent revival to quash the political aspirations of future Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.


Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana

“The leader of the vast left wing conspiracy will be announcing her candidacy,” said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, during an unscheduled moment with the press before the event started. Jindal described this event in vague terms as an unholy alliance between big business and the Hollywood elite.

It’s hard not to notice that somehow “big business,” the GOP talking point formerly known as “free enterprise,” has suddenly been relegated to bad guy status. It wouldn’t be the only time a speaker made the ambiguous yet menacing reference to the awfulness of “big business” and the Hollywood elite. And it wouldn’t be the first time that members of the press corps looked at each other with quizzical faces, wondering to which Hollywood elite and which big business the speakers were referring – certainly not the big business of the gun manufacturers. That much we know.

Jindal also let us know that the media and liberals just don’t get the Pope. They are eager and happy to misrepresent what Pope Francis really means. Because of course, Bobby Jindal has a pipeline to the Pope – a popeline, if you will – and knows the real story, unlike all you other regular Catholics. And yes, I ratted out Bobby Jindal to the Pope on Twitter.

He gave a couple parting shots for good measure: The only group the left says it’s ok to discriminate against is evangelical Christians; and the media are bullies, and they don’t like the first amendment. Yeah, just like the NRA doesn’t like the second.

Chris Cox, Chief Lobbyist for the NRA

Then we were ready for the event to begin with a stomach-churning announcement from the NRA’s Chris Cox. The invocation, we were told, was going to be delivered by a “genuine American hero” who had to his credit two purple hearts, and a silver and bronze star. A gushing introduction was followed up by the revelation of the name of this hero, this credit to his country, this stellar example of patriotism… Lt. Col. Oliver North.


Oliver North.

(eye twitch)

Apparently the NRA decided that “guns for hostages” was a close enough tie to the second amendment that they overlooked his role in the Iran/Contra scandal and the fact that if justice existed in the universe, Oliver North would be sitting in a prison rec room watching the NRA convention on a TV bolted to the wall.

North went on to praise Jesus the King, and God the Creator, and peppered his prayer with vague references to making mistakes and forgiveness. The crowd forgave, apparently, but we’ll leave it to Oliver North to make it right with his creator. Good luck with that.

Cox came back and noted that the media was on the “safest assignment in the world today because of all the NRA members who were carrying. Guns were prohibited from the exhibition hall due to restrictions by the venue, but conference goers were free to pack heat in other areas of the convention. The NRA shelled out a cool $200k to pay off-duty law enforcement officers to work security during the 3 day conference. He asked the crowd to turn around and wave to the media on the platform. It was a surreal moment as thousands of smiling faces faced the back of the room and waved at those of us on the press platform. Cox asked that they wave with their entire hand and not just one finger, which I thought was a nice touch and a real measure of southern hospitality. “We’re counting on you to be fair and honest,” he said to us as the crown erupted in laughter. The slams on the media were somewhat pervasive as the afternoon wore on, and I fantasized about having a giant mic and bellowing into the sound system, “We can hear you, you know!” I’m not sure exactly why they thought skewering the media in front of the only media who was actually covering the event was a good idea. The analogy about shooting themselves in the foot writes itself.

“We are here to celebrate American values and lying isn’t one of them,” he said, so we weren’t going to be hearing from some people. Cue a video of President Obama, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden and others stating that they support the second amendment. “Lying,” seemingly does not apply to Oliver North, although in all fairness, according to him he just “couldn’t recall.”

Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President of the NRA

The best-known public face of the NRA, Wayne La Pierre, entered to a standing ovation. “It’s important that we are participating in this celebration of American values,” he said. And it’s also important, he said, “that you are participating in the effort as the Republican party chooses a Presidential candidate.” Here’s where we should note that the National Rifle Association is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization. What that means is that to maintain its tax-exempt, non-profit status, it must be strictly concerned only with the business of education, and NOT… definitely NOT in the business of politics.

[Paging the IRS! Come in please! Meep meep meep!]

LaPierre continued, “You are worried. Something has gone wrong. Our values have been diminished by our political leadership. Kindness, generosity, and civility have been replaced by lying conniving and building wealth.” And let’s not forget the “fawning media.” Truth no longer counts, he said. The political class, and the media class have stopped giving us their best.

“Is Hillary Rodham Clinton the best we can do?” he called out.
“NO!” came back from the audience, and I wondered if they realized how many progressives would have been calling “No!” just as loudly if asked that question.

In all honesty, the booing and hissing and overall reaction to Clinton was not as vehement as I would have anticipated. But just for good measure, the lengthy clothesline of Clinton dirty laundry was stretched across the venue, like stalking and seducing a White House intern, and engaging in a smear campaign against the victim. It was pretty impressive how quickly the right seemed to go from slut shaming Lewinski to blaming Hillary Clinton for doing it.

Her history of scandal and controversy is almost endless, he said, and the laundry list kept coming: WhiteWatergate, cattlegate, Lincoln bedroomgate, travelgate, troopergate (←—HEY, that’s Sarah Palin’s!) file gate, Paula Jonesgate, Vince Fostergate, coffeegate, pardongate, Monicagate, Benghazigate, emailgate, wiped servergate… I missed a few. “She has more gates than a south Texas cattle ranch, and Americans know it.

“Some day we will have a woman president who will be elected not for her gender, but for her character integrity and moral fitness. That is how a candidate should be judged and that’s how a president should be elected. We will elect our next president of the United States and it will not be Hillary Rodham Clinton!… Our Bill of Rights will not become Hillary’s new server to be wiped from the pages of history!”

It’s hard to argue with the history of drama and scandal that follows the Clintons, but here we are all in a room – ready to hear from practically the entire list of possible Republican contenders for the Presidency. So, the logical question is… what have you got?

Senator Bob Corker, Tennessee

We started off with Bob Corker, Senator from Tennessee and Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. He let everyone know that Iran is the largest exporter of terror. Man is Saudi Arabia gonna be mad…

“You are looking at the most relaxed public official that will address you during this conference,” he said. “I’m the only public official not running for President, and I don’t have to tout my second amendment record.”

Alright then. NEXT!


Governor Scott Walker, Wisconsin

“The current President seems to forget he took an oath to preserve and protect the Constitution,” he began. He asked vets to stand. He got emotional over “the dignity of work,” and got a standing ovation. Another for taking a hard stand against Islamic terrorism. Another for supporting Israel. He wore no jacket, just a blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a tie. The crowd adored him and he got a couple of standing ovations and wild applause. I was left a little stunned by the warm reception, the strength of his oratory, and his ability to work the room. The left likes to characterize him as a buffoon, and for some reason he looks like a total doofus in almost every picture, but having seen him speak to this crowd, I can see how he got elected and I can’t believe I’m saying that…


Rick Santorum, former Senator, Pennsylvania

Rick Santorum spent the first half of the speech talking in great detail about how he refuses to politicize his daughter’s grave illness. You know, the one he quit the Presidential campaign for, the one he wrote a book about, and the one he spent 20 minutes not politicizing in a speech in front of thousands of NRA members… because that would be awful to do. The book is available in the lobby.

Freedom is under assault by the left in America, not the gays, he posited. I’m sure the gays are happy to be taken off the hook. The left is not looking for tolerance, they’re looking for conformity, and they won’t be tolerant of any dissent he said. It’s a fight about freedom. The second amendment is there to protect the first. One platitude after the next.

Oh, and his wife wanted ammo for Valentine’s Day. My brain is throbbing. I don’t even know if this is a lie.

Freedom requires virtue, Santorum said. The less virtuous we are as a society, the less free we will be, because if we act up and misbehave and do bad things, the government finds a reason to come in and control us. And honestly, I have no disagreement with this point. Up until now.

“Virtue requires faith,” he went on. And what is the greatest teacher? I’ll give you a hint: 5 letters, starts with ‘B.’ Take your time.


Yes, the Bible. It’s “the moral code that comes from faith,” so reading between the lines, I’m guessing Santorum believes that only Christians can be virtuous.

And according to Santorum, the most popular textbook in the country was written by Howard Zinn – a Marxist anti-American. The brain slowly bleeds.

ZUMA Contract Photographer

Senator Lindsey Graham, South Carolina

“I have never been more worried than I am right now about an attack on our homeland. This is not a time of peace.” The drums of fear began to beat.

“Keep the war over there so it never comes back here again.” He wants to “kill the bastards, and they will feel the wrath of this country.” Standing ovation. “We are at war with radical Islam, people who hate us, who are raping and selling women, crucifying children, setting people on fire. We are at war with some of the most despicable people. We will win and they will lose. Freedom is not free. Radical Islam cannot be appeased – you could close Gitmo and give Palestinians everything they want and they will still come after you. They are trying to purify their religion and eradicate Christianity right in front of you.”

As heated as Grahams rhetoric became, there was one surprise.

“I’m going to say something you’ll never hear anyone else at this conference say,” he said. “I want to thank all the Democrats who support the NRA.” I’d rate the level of applause as “slightly warmer than luke.” But it was there.


I took a little walk around the venue to stretch my legs and drink some water. I heard Rick Perry being piped out into the hallway, and several people who couldn’t get into the main hall were sitting at large round tables watching the speeches from the tables. I jotted on my note pad “Rick Perry will never be President,” but beyond that I don’t recall what he said.


A large conference room was packed with several hundred people, listening to a seminar about the heroes of World War Two. This heartened me for some reason. They could easily have been out at the tables in the hall listening to Rick Perry and the other Republicans bloviating their Presidential propaganda, but they chose a seminar on history instead. I smiled and listened for a minute.

But that didn’t last. On my way back to the Grand Ballroom to hear the remainder of the speakers, I happened upon Donald Rumsfeld who was just finished up with his book signing. He wanted to know if I wanted him to sign a book. “No, I’m ok,” was all I could come up with. A woman approached him with a giant smile and a thick southern accent and said, “Hello, Mr. Secretery, I… I… just wanted to say thank you sir, for your service.” He smiled like he does, and said, “You’re welcome,” and she said, “Thank you sir,” and giggled and turned to her friend and did a “silent scream” like she couldn’t believe she’d just had this brush with greatness.

Donald Rumsfeld has fan girls. It’s something I wish I didn’t know.

He then told a man that if he wanted a great book, he’d highly recommend, “Chicks with Guns” because it had “some really terrific pictures.”

Back to the ball room.

Jeb Bush, Governor of Florida
Jeb Bush ought to have been a hit. He ought to have been relaxed and confident. He ought to have prepared. He ought not to have been hesitantly fumbling over his speech which was written on paper, and not on the teleprompter like everyone else’s. But.

He didn’t sound incompetent. He wasn’t creepy. He was okay, but certainly not what you’d expect from a heavyweight contender for the highest office in the land. He was utterly lacking that fire in the belly, and it was obvious. Not that the visible fire in the belly is necessarily a good thing, or relevant for leadership – but it has a lot to do with winning an election.

Donald Trump, Doofus Buffoon, New York

The Donald looked cringingly out of place, and sounded like he’d spent at least 10 minutes preparing his remarks.

“I love the NRA. I love the second amendment. You’re great people. Good taxpayers. Wonderful Americans.”

Then he said that his sons were really the ones who know all about the shooting, and the guns, and the rifles… So out came his sons and a daughter in law to say hi. They were there for all of five seconds, thanked the NRA, and left.

“If I run for President, and if I win, the second amendment will be totally protected – that I can tell you,” he said and proceeded to criticize the current President saying he is “incompetent” and is making an “inconceivably horrible deal with Iran” and that we’re “going to have nuclear proliferation all over the place.”

“ISIS has the oil now because we have people who don’t know what they’re doing. Putin has no respect for the President, ISIS has no respect for the President,” he said, noting, “The only one who says ‘ISIL’ is Obama. He’s the only one. Just not a good person. I don’t know if he has the interest of the country. He probably does. But the whole group led by the leader is grossly grossly incompetent and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

He ended with a little international diplomacy. “The border is a sieve. They’re sending everybody through the border and we’re taking pictures of them and watching them. Everybody’s coming in illegally and we have to stop it fast. Mexico is not our friend.”

As cynical as I have gotten, I’m happy that I still believe with all my heart the American people would never elect Donald Trump.

Senator Marco Rubio, Florida

Articulate and reasonable by comparison to his surroundings, Marco Rubio spoke well, but doesn’t have a lot of charisma. He did, in addition to the usual rhetoric – the President is weak, he has acted outside the bounds of the law, he’s the “golfer in chief, ISIS can become a threat down the street overnight” – say something which was considered radical in this group. He acknowledged the existence of “millions of peace-loving muslims” in the world. He may just have kissed his chance at winning a primary good-bye.

ZUMA Contract Photographer

Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas and ordained Southern Baptist minister.

If someone were to break into Mike Huckabee’s house and he felt that his family was threatened, and if he had a gun, he would unapologetically shoot the intruder. Oh, he’d call 911 of course, but he wouldn’t call first and wait to see what happened. He’d call afterwards and “tell them where they could come pick up the body.”

You know, like Jesus would do.

ZUMA Contract Photographer

Senator Ted Cruz, Texas

Well, they knew who to save for last… Ted Cruz. I’d just seen him in the Wasilla Sports Complex a few months ago, and I knew what to expect. Part good ol’ boy, part son of an immigrant, part preacher man, part Harvard grad.

“Is this the ready for Hillary gathering?” Laughter from the crowd.

He spoke easily, confidently, walking the stage, making eye contact with photographers and audience members. No teleprompter, no papers (coughJebBushcough).

He said he’d recently been at Ft. Hood, and recounted the tragic deaths of service members there after the mass shooting from a terrorist who shouted, just before the rampage, “Aloha Akhbar.”

“Did he just say Aloha Akhbar?” I asked the reporter to my right. “I think he did!”

He talked about the infamous letter from the Senate to Iran. “The only thing I regret about that letter, like John Hancock is that I didn’t make my signature bigger, so the Ayatollah could read it without his reading glasses.”

He told the story of how he, and Mike Lee, and Rand Paul were responsible for beating back the public pressure to enact gun control legislation after Sandy Hook, and credited the NRA membership for preventing any of the proposals from the President from passing.

“…heaven and earth descended on the senators who voted no. Thanks to passionate leadership of men and women in this room, when it came to the senate floor every one of [Obama’s] proposals was voted down. That is the power of the men and women here!”

A standing ovation.

“How many of you have cell phones?” Cruz asked. Wild cheering and holding up of cell phones.

“Text the word ‘Constitution’ to 33733 right now,” he said. sking the audience to text the word “Constitution” to 33733,” he said and heads were lowered across the audience as they texted. He never said who they were texting, or why other than to “ignite millions of Americans.” It turns out that the number is to request text alerts from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C.

“I am humbled and proud to stand with you as we bring back and revive that shining city on a hill that is the United States of America!”

And with that, the hall emptied. Four hours had passed – one full hour longer than the scheduled program time. Everyone liked to hear themselves talk – especially Rick Santorum.

Mudflats Awards Ceremony

Creepiest: Bobby Jindal
Most Gigantic Annoying Narcissist: Rick Santorum
Most Surprisingly Charming: Lindsey Graham
Brassiest Balls: Oliver North
Most Bloodthirsty Christian: Mike Huckabee
Best Orator: Ted Cruz, with honorable mention to Scott Walker
Quitter: Sarah Palin



15 Responses to “NRA Leaders Speechify – Aloha Akhbar?!”
  1. Zyxomma says:

    I’ve loved your writing, Jeanne, for a very long time. I’m proud to call you my friend, and not just on FB.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    Rubio musta borrowed Palins baby name generator. Seems he and his missus have a child named Getty Images. I ain’t lying.See- Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., with his wife, Jeanette, and their children. (Joe Raedle, Getty Images).

    Not sure if Getty is a boy or girl or a combination of both.

    Ahem-it appears,according to a text from Dakota Meyer,that he and America’s Abstinence Only Grifter Queen are shacking up in old Kaintuck which rhymes with don’t ?uck until you are married.

  3. Mike D says:

    Fresh off reading Marco Rubio’s announcement that he is running for president, I am pumped. For a while there I thought the American Dream was out of reach, but he’s bringing sexy back. America is back, baby! He played all the right notes: immigration reform, lower taxes, crushing student debt, walk tough and carry a big stick in world affairs, dump the ACA. This man is it. Exploding with cliche’s and glittering generalities, the speech left me breathless and filled with wonder. There is nothing I like more than swollen rhetoric and a complete absence
    of substance. Details are like coffee grounds. They are wet and messy and not good for the garbage disposal.
    Millennials take note. If you can dream it, it’s yours, just like Rubio’s immigrant parents did in the fifties. After all, has anything really changed in 60 years?

  4. Krubozumo Nyankoye says:

    MFI – yes that is some sweet irony that the NRA is afraid of their own gun totin’ sycophants. The thing that perplexes me though is how anyone can get away with such utter hypocrisy. But they do on a regular basis.

    So something more fundamental must be broken.

    I suppose it is possible that enough lies and enough persistence in repeating lies is capable of convincing a plurality of any contrived ideation anyone could dream up. . We really have not made much progress since the war to end all wars. Which incidentally, it didn’t..

    We are in the epoch of low key conflict now.. The big three, dominionism, plutocracy and oligarchy vie with each other for dominance of the disloyal opposition who without the slightest restraint, will do anything to obtain power. To rule. To compell.

    As I have said previously, I feel grateful to be old.

  5. Alaska Pi says:

    Shhesh. Just reading this gives me the same kind of creeps looking at insects in a book did when I was a kid. I used to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to turn the page without touching it.
    I’m gonna have to start strategizing about how to survive this next election cycle without having to listen to any more of these doofs than i absolutely have to.

    • benlomond2 says:

      Pi…. cancel your cable tv and stop any news subscriptions that are delivered to the house.. not only will you save your sanity, but you’ll save some moola ! ……
      . ben runs for the hills!

  6. Mike D says:

    Just this past year alone, it’s probably accurate to say more people were unable to vote, more people did not receive much needed healthcare coverage, more unarmed black men were shot, and more individuals were discriminated against than the number of Americans who had their second amendment rights taken away for reasons other than committing a crime. But of course that’s the bread and butter of groups such as this, pretending a constitutional right is always under threat.

    No doubt America’s minister of hate Mike Huckabee earned plenty of approving nods with his gunslinging, two-fisted scenario of a home invasion, the point of which completely escapes me. Who wouldn’t defend themselves if they had the means and opportunity?

    The kind of heated rhetoric that comes out of meetings such as this is the kind of thing that so many here take exception to from the extremists of other nations. The problem with all of this, is there is no endgame in sight.
    Who will finally throw up their hands and say, “We were wrong, you were right. We now know our culture and our beliefs are the wrong ones, and so now we’ll change”?

    Hate and fear invent nothing, create nothing, build nothing, improve nothing. It looks the same today, as it did yesterday, and as it will tomorrow.

  7. dowl says:

    Thank you, AKM. Keep up the good work.

  8. benlomond2 says:

    Plenty of good ole Tennessee Bourbon to rinse out the taste of the NRA Clown Circus should be your first action leaving the conventon center… no spitting on the streets allowed,so you’ll just have to drink it down… 🙂

  9. laurie says:

    Thanks for this report. Wish I had known you would be in Nashville. I would have invited you to our rally today. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense had a successful rally at Riverfront Park in Nashville just a few blocks from the NRA Convention. Watch for us on the Nashville news tonight. The convention was one weekend, but these moms are here every day and we are working for common sense gun laws to make our children safer.

  10. mike from iowa says:

    So the Nobody’s Rats Ass concedes the 2nd Amendment doesn’t apply everywhere. The speakers wanted to feel safe from threats so only security was allowed weapons. Thought the whole premise of safety was to arm everybody.

    Excellent write up,Ms Jeanne. Too bad you had to sully yourself to get this story. Got an earful of lies and propaganda. Maybe you should report the NRA for violation of tax exempt status. Several active wingnut pols are violating their oath to the constitution by supporting and not reporting them. But it is all Obama’s fault. And the five letter word that starts with a b was Benghazigate.

  11. moose pucky says:

    Five stars..and two antlers up. Hope this gets read around the world.

  12. RipleyInCT says:

    Oh, how I wish you had said “yes” to Rummy, and then dictated, very slowly, what you wanted him to inscribe. So slow that he didn’t know he was writing an apology for being involved in starting an unwinnable war which killed thousands, all for oil. Eh, next time.

  13. I admire your fortitude…..!?$&