Time magazine unveiled its annual list of the 100 most influential people in world on Thursday, one day after the Senate torpedoed several measures to expand gun control. Given the Senate’s cave to the National Rifle Association lobby it should come as no surprise that NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre made the cut.
The leading advocate for gun rights was profiled by none other than divisive rock musician Ted Nugent, who has netted a fair amount controversy himself for making inflammatory remarks in defense of the Second Amendment. (Remember when he said that gun owners of America will become the next Rosa Parks?)
Nugent’s Time piece was yet another unapologetic celebration of gun rights and of LaPierre, who he hailed as “an American warrior,” fighting “in the embarrassing culture war of politically correct denial.”
The 64-year-old rocker thanked LaPierre for his refusal to buckle under public pressure to enhance gun control, a position currently backed by a majority of Americans, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.
Nugent wrote: “On behalf of the millions of American families who still believe in God-given, constitutionally guaranteed individual rights, Wayne stands firm against the insidious tsunami of dangerous anti-constitutional furor that would further infringe on our sacred Second Amendment.”
He then went on to compare LaPierre’s mission to protect gun rights to that of “our forefathers who stood on Concord bridge and risked all to give birth to a truly free, independent America.”
“Wayne’s voice is the modern shot heard round the world,” concluded Nugent, referencing the beginning of the Revolutionary War, a not uncommon comparison heard among gun-rights advocates in defense of their constitutional right to bear arms.
LaPierre has yet to comment personally on the Senate’s defeat of three gun control measures—including a bipartisan compromise to expand background checks for gun buyers, a ban on assault weapons, and a ban on high-capacity magazines—on Wednesday, which President Obama described as “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
Shortly after the Manchin-Toomey proposal expanding background checks fell six votes short of the 60 needed to overcome a filibuster, the NRA released a statement . Not surprisingly, the gun group seemed pretty happy with the result.
“As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools,” said NRA spokesman Chris Cox in a statement. “We are grateful for the hard work and leadership of those senators who chose to pursue meaningful solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems.”
A couple of those senators—Republicans Rand Paul and Tom Coburn—who voted against the background check amendment, were also included in the Time 100. Sarah Palin wrote the profile on Paul, who she called, “A voice of reason awakening the public to what must be done to restore our prosperity and preserve the blessings of liberty for future generations.”
But Coburn was profiled by a somewhat more surprising champion: Barack Obama.
“Tom Coburn and I don’t always agree on the issues,” wrote the president. “But after we entered the Senate at the same time, our wives, Michelle and Carolyn, hit it off at an orientation dinner. Pretty soon, we did too…Each of us still hopes the other will see the light. But in the meantime, we’ll settle for being friends.”