Gun Nuts Firing Blanks in Power Play

Depleted GOP no "paper tiger — it’s a paper muskrat"
By Mat Probasco,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2009 5:52 AM CDT
William Kostnic wears a 9mm pistol as he stands outside a town hall meeting on health care held by President Barack Obama.   (AP Photo/Joel Page, File)
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(Newser) – Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn has some gall. The fact that he can defend gun nuts calling for blood to "water the tree of liberty" after terrorist Timothy McVeigh wore the same Thomas Jefferson quote on his shirt in the Oklahoma City bombing infuriates New York Times columnist Frank Rich. When asked about pistol-packing protesters, "Coburn blamed not the nuts but the government," he writes.

"Coburn's implicit rationalization for far-right fanatics bearing arms at presidential events cannot stand," Rich fumes. The gun nuts and their supporters are part of a growing, ugly undertone of violence in current protests, writes Rich. But their "big guns" belie health-care opponents' true power, he adds. President Obama still "towers over his opponents" with the public and has the clout to pass meaningful reform, Rich notes.