Down in Texas, Greg Abbot's running for governor against Wendy Davis, and either he or someone on his staff had the bright idea to make Ted Nugent a highly visible part of his election campaign. Either way, nice work, genius. The AP calls it a "rare misstep for Texas GOP," though this is hardly their first unforced error dealing with Davis. The rise of her political star is almost entirely a result of their bungled attempt to force through anti-abortion legislation in the 11th hour, allowing her filibuster to run out the clock. The massive protests filling the Senate building were also a huge embarrassment. Tampongate resulted, where the politicized security apparatus calling itself the Texas Department of Public Safety was made to look ridiculous by confiscating all sanitary devices while allowing people with concealed handguns to exercise their Texas-given right to carry them everywhere. Poopgate soon followed, where they reflexively lied and claimed that such a heavy-handed and one-sided security response was entirely justified, owing to the fact that they supposedly caught dozens of Davis's supporters carrying in jars of piss and shit to bombard the Senate floor with.

Well, this past week Abbot blasted himself pretty good with the human shit bomb that is Ted Nugent. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part, but this might mark the Nuge's exile from mainstream political life. The Texas governor's race is nationally important, and his position on Abbot's campaign brought the spotlight in a way that damaged them both. Out of the many, many, offensive and deliberately provocative things he's said, this is what did it:characterizing Barack Obama as "a communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured, subhuman mongrel." The fallout included CNN coverage where Wolf Blitzer pointed out the fact that the phrases he speaks could be lifted directly from Nazi propaganda.

"That's what the Nazis called Jews to justify the genocide of the Jewish community. They called them 'untermenschen,' subhuman mongrels. If you read some of the literature that the Nazis put out there, there is a long history of that specific phrase he used involving the president of the United States."

The usual laugh it off and pretend ignorance thing isn't working like it used to. Rick Perry tried, starting with "The idea that Ted Nugent said something that's outrageous shouldn't surprise anyone," before being forced into making some vague gesture of opprobrium. Rand Paul tweeted "Ted Nugent's derogatory description of President Obama is offensive and has no place in politics. He should apologize." Abbot pretends that such an apology was made ("I do apologize — not necessarily to the president"), so now it's time to move on and never talk about it again. In perhaps the surest sign that the issue is troublesome for Republicans, Fox News has avoided reporting on it entirely.

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On the other hand, Wendy Davis would prefer that we all talk about it a little while longer and in much greater depth. "This isn't about some aging rockstar way past his prime that simply needs to go away, this is about Greg Abbott. It's about his character, his judgment, his values when he stands on a stage next to someone like that and refers to him as his 'blood brother.'" In the context of an election when someone tweets at him that Davis is "Retard Barbie" and he says thank you for your support, I wonder why he'd want to continue to tie himself to someone as personally repulsive as Nugent. After all, this is guy notorious even amongst rock stars for preying on underage girls, for which he of course remains totally unrepentant. He's also known for calling Hillary Clinton a "toxic cunt" and a "worthless bitch," various other female politicians "dirty whores," and visualizing the archetypal feminist as "some fat pig who doesn't get it often enough."

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Abbot can't repudiate Nugent and he can't defend him, so he's just going to pretend that none of it matters. Beyond that, I see this as the point where Nugent's political toxicity has been publically affirmed. Serious candidates can't afford the kind of questions he brings, and he's never going to be able to make the jump from the outer fringes of the party.