The NRA is getting a little of the sweet, white-hot outrage they so crave with a new and deranged ad featuring their spokesperson, pundit Dana Loesch. The ad explicitly positions Real Americans against the violent, lying left, and—given that it’s an ad for a gun lobbying organization—it reads a lot like a call to take up arms against those menacing liberals. But who is Dana Loesch, why is she in my face, and where does this fit in with the proud tradition of batshit NRA ads?
Loesch is a conservative talk radio host usually found on The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s chalkboard-lined panic room. She has a show called Dana, and you will be forgiven for having never heard of it before, and never thinking of it again. Back in February, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre named Loesch a national spokesperson for the NRA, and this week, the internet is captivated by this ad featuring her and a bunch of rhetoric that is profoundly inflammatory even by the standards of the NRA.
The ad isn’t brand-new, but the NRA recently put it on Facebook, which is why you’re suddenly seeing discussion of it. Here’s a full transcript:
They use their media to assassinate real news. They use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler. They use their movie stars and singers and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again. And then they use their ex-president to endorse the resistance. All to make them march, make them protest, make them scream racism and sexism and xenophobia and homophobia and smash windows, burn cars, shut down interstates and airports, bully and terrorize the law abiding — until the only option left is for the police to do their jobs and stop the madness. And when that happens, they’ll use it as an excuse for their outrage.
The only way we stop this, the only way we save our country and our freedom is to fight this violence of lies with the clenched fist of truth. I’m the National Rifle Association of America and I’m freedom’s safest place.
This language, combined with Loesch’s clench-jawed, unblinking, infuriated delivery and the menacing string section underneath, struck many folks as a justification for using violence. It’s incredibly, almost comically divisive (“their awards shows,” “their ex-president”). It certainly appears to endorse police violence to “stop the madness,” as Loesch puts it. It positions public protest—an American right and one of our proudest traditions—as something menacing and treasonous. It also indicates that the “law abiding” citizenry won’t be safe from liberals unless they do .... something. Hmm. What could it be? What could the nation’s largest gun-lobbying organization possibly be advocating?
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Loesch is one of the raft of conservative pundits who washed ashore on the frothy tides of the Tea Party back in 2010, when she started filling in for right-wing radio host Michael Savage. (Loesch has linked her political awakening to 1. Marrying a Republican, her husband/manager Chris Loesch, and 2. The attacks on September 11, 2001.) By 2011, she had showily left the St. Louis Tea Party to devote her time to appearing on your television, and now she appears bound for a promising new super-career as the rage-filled face of terrified white conservative womanhood.
The NRA already featured Loesch in an ad last summer about how women are only safe from rapists and “violent thugs” with guns. She warns them, “Your life expectancy just got shorter,” and adds, “This is what real empowerment looks like: millions of American moms, grandmothers and professional women taking our lives and our family’s lives into our own, capable hands.”
That’s completely in line with the NRA’s rhetoric—shoot every personal and societal problem to death—and it’s worth noting that the NRA’s ads are predictably deranged even when they don’t read like calls for armed violence. Recall, if you will, our favorite one, featuring Charlie Daniels doing a surreal monologue on “flower child” Barack Obama and how he is not a real American like all the people who make a living wrestling alligators.
The newest Loesch ad, though, comes at a time when we’re about a whisper away from full-scale internecine conflict in this country. It’s not surprising that it’s attracting this level of attention, dissent, and disgust. But Loesch herself is furious that anyone would make the subtext of this thing text. She even ludicrously claimed that it doesn’t have anything to do with firearms:
Dana. Girl. Did no one tell you? You were in an ad for the NRA.
Loesch is also busy pointing out on Twitter that her line “the clenched fist of truth” comes from imagery that’s traditionally associated with the left, the raised, clenched fist. That’s true!
But it’s a little confusing what point Loesch is trying to make there.
“That’s not the right’s imagery.... that’s progressive leftist imagery,” she tells her leftist critics in a very long, grammatically adventurous video that’s currently her pinned tweet. “It’s the imagery of the Bernie brothers and the pajama boys and the Hillary Clintonistas.”
In other words, Loesch is telling us that she and the NRA appropriated the imagery of a clenched first, even though when it’s associated with the left, it stands, in her mind, for violent protest or being a whiny loser. She also urges her critics to “take a Midol” and “get a grip,” which is wild advice coming from a woman who made an eight-minute video sitting three inches from a camera yelling about leftists lighting garbage can fires.
This is all indicative of a few key points:
- The NRA makes inflammatory ads for attention, and they succeed, even as their real power lies in the millions of dollars they give to your lawmakers each and every year.
- Right-wing women who want to succeed as pundits have to work very hard and be twice as batshit as their male counterparts to succeed, particularly when they are not blonde.
- Loesch is using the backlash to the ad for attention, for increased fame, and to claim she’s being specially targeted by the left. But she’s also taking a page from our extremely touchy president and a wave of particularly litigious right-wing personalities, by claiming that anyone calling the ad sexist or racist deserves to be sued.
This is the new face of right-wing media: managing to imply, in the same confused breath, that leftists are violent, menacing, and over-sensitive. Meanwhile, brave right-wing pundits are patriotic, strong, and unbothered by PC rhetoric—but they’re also totally about to sue your ass off for calling them names. Congratulations to Dana Loesch for so perfectly embodying our times, and making a quick buck doing it.