I think we can all agree that the most auspicious figure to emulate from American history is Richard Nixon. With its customary good taste and purity of spirit, the National Rifle Association, has done just this, finding inspiration in President Nixon’s example of compiling an extensive enemies list, and, bizarrely, publishing it on their website.
And who are these enemies, at the zenith of their cultural and political power, trying to accomplish nothing less than the total annihilation of the U.S. Constitution? Obviously, *NSYNC and Boyz II Men. (Which leaves me wondering, Just what are the gun politics of NKOTB and the Backstreet Boys, and what designs might they have on the integrity of the Founding Fathers’ vision?) Mary Lou Retton, you crazy S.O.B, why do you hate America? Chaka Khan, j’accuse! Marla. Maples.
In fairness, there are some celebrities on the list whom you have heard from this millennium, though not many. For every Meryl Streep, there are numerous Howard Hessmans (no offense, Mr. Hessman, love your work!); for every Matt Damon, there are two Thomases: both Marlo and Jonathan Taylor (no relation… that is, before this list!). Et tu, Britney?
Nora Ephron made the list posthumously. Classy, NRA! I shall refrain from mocking the NRA’s evident desire to arm the nation against the zombie apocalypse.
(This is clearly not the point, but among the outrages arising from this enemies list is how shockingly poorly alphabetized it is. Dennis Quaid shows up between two Quinns; Marc Rosen nestles between Julia Roberts and Tim Robbins, etc., etc. I’m just sayin’. I’d never considered adding the logistics of list making to the (already quite extensive) catalogue of things the NRA gets wrong.)
These enemies of FREEDOM include more than just “celebrities;” there are also public organizations, non-celebrity individual activists, journalists, and corporations. It’s really a very, very long list.
The CFR has covered the ongoing NRA and gun politics debate from several perspectives over the past few weeks. I want to do my part now, and helpfully suggest some additional ways the NRA might continue to honor the memory of President Nixon’s unique record of good works:
My favorite episode of Nixoniana occurred in 1971, when the president and H. R. Haldeman, his chief of staff, directed White House personnel director Fred Malek to count the Jews at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This because, in Nixon’s very own words, “The government is full of Jews, [and] most Jews are disloyal. [… And] generally speaking, you can’t trust the bastards.” Looking to uncover the secret cabal of Christ killers and drinkers of Christian children’s blood Jewish, um, statisticians, Malek then barged into the BLS and announced that the president had sent him to count foreskins. Just kidding! He counted the Jews at the BLS by scanning a list of employees for last names that seemed Jewy. Henceforth, in certain circles — righeous, clever circles — Malek has been known as “Nixon’s Jew Counter.”
The NRA has already called out so many enemy institutions, but how can it know what it’s really up against if it doesn’t know how many Jews there are in, for example, the AARP, the American Bar Association or the National Association of Police Organizations, much less the Anti-Defamation League or B’nai B’rith! The National Council of Jewish Women sure seems like a sleeper cabal to me. Fred Malek is still kicking around Republican politics; maybe he’s got a clipboard and pencil at the ready, and still has his counting pants on. Can someone get his contact info to Wayne LaPierre?
Or maybe the NRA can pass up counting the Jews and take the organization in a different Nixonian direction. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Henry Kissinger would make a dramatic and prestigious new consultant for the NRA. Specifically name-checked by Nixon as among the small number of Jews who could be trusted, hiring Secretary Kissinger could be just what the NRA needs to burnish its Nixon-esque bona fides.
Finally, if the NRA is truly committed to this project, the Watergate Hotel is sitting there, right where it’s always been, just asking to be broken into (and, out of respect for the late former president, covered up). The NRA is in the enviable position of being on the cusp of reuniting Malek, Kissinger, and G. Gordon Liddy. Mazel tov!