EMBLEM Wyo. — Just 17 days before the Wyoming primary, rocker and controversial conservative pundit Ted Nugent and a former Fox News military analyst revved up a Tea Party crowd Saturday afternoon with calls for President Barack Obama’s impeachment and pleas for people to vote.
Nugent wore his trademark camouflage cowboy hat, blue jeans and a camo shirt. He was joined by Paul E. Vallely, a retired Army major who was a senior military analyst for Fox News from 2000 to 2007, according to the website of an organization of which he is chairman, Stand Up America.
“Obama should be impeached,” Vallely said, followed by cheers and applause from the crowd. “He needs to be replaced. Now, for the life of me, if I was a senator, I would be in (U.S. Senate Majority Leader and Democrat) Harry Reid’s office and I would be stringing him up against the wall.”
Nugent called Obama a bad man who represents communism and a scammer who lacks the credentials to even drive his tour bus.
“He’s not the enemy,” said the Nuge, as fans affectionately call him. “The nonvoters are, and your friends who were too busy to vote are the enemy.”
The event, organized by the Big Horn Basin TEA Party, was held on the ranch of attorney and Tea Party leader Robert DiLorenzo.
While Vallely was speaking, the Star-Tribune counted about 130 people in the audience. Robin Berry, who helped organize Saturday’s event and counted tickets, said more than 300 people attended.
Among the biggest challenges in the United States is the government, Vallely said.
“I’ll tell you, the Republican establishment is just as bad as anybody,” he said. “And they won’t change. That’s why we have to get rid of them.”
Nugent, a longtime board member of the National Rifle Association, encouraged people to join the organization.
“If you’re not an NRA member, you’re not a freedom fighter,” he said.
Roxanne Brewer drove from her home in Basin to the event. She thought the message was perfect ahead of the election. The primary is Aug. 19, and the general election is Nov. 4.
In the 2012 election, Big Horn County’s voter turnout was high, said Brewer, a precinct committeewoman for the Big Horn County GOP. Nugent’s message may energize people and result in more voter turnout, she said.
“I agreed with what Ted Nugent said on apathy in America,” she said. “We need to stand up, take our country back from the progressive socialists.”
The Wyoming Democratic Party took advantage of the rhetoric from the Tea Party to criticize Nugent and the conservative political candidates who attended. It released a statement by Sergio Maldonado, who is running for Wyoming Senate as a Democrat in Fremont County.
"The recent comments from Ted Nugent, an avowed racist and an individual who lacks a soul, (are) unfortunate,” he said. “As a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe and candidate for Senate District 25 representing all the citizens, I denounce his lunatic antics and philosophy.
"Any individual with a modicum of integrity and self-worth will distance themselves from him. Sadly, too many will jump on the bandwagon of racism simply to be seen and heard. Hopefully the voters will remember their poor judgment at election time."
This summer, Nugent has had shows canceled in Longview, Texas, and Idaho, with promoters citing his racist views, according to the Associated Press. In Idaho, the Coeur d'Alene tribe declined to specify which “racist and hate-filled remarks” prompted them to cancel his casino show.
In the past, Nugent referred to Obama as a "subhuman mongrel." Nugent later apologized "for using the street fight terminology of subhuman mongrel,” yet he maintained that Obama is a liar violating the Constitution, the AP reported.
In Wyoming, Nugent touched on the controversy.
Opponents bused in protesters to his concerts, he said, describing them as stoners.
“I called them ‘unclean vermin.’ I was accurate,” Nugent said.
Then the left-leaning media accused the Nuge of saying it about Native Americans, he said. Nugent said he has had a good relationship with tribes across the country for about 25 years.
“I am the best friend to the Native Americans,” he said.
The Big Horn Basin TEA Party invited Republican candidates for statewide and local offices.
A handful attended, including U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, who is seeking re-election, and his GOP opponent Thomas Bleming; Jason Senteney, a candidate for the U.S. House; Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill, who is running for governor; secretary of state candidate Clark Stith and superintendent candidate Sheryl Lain.
Jennifer Young of the Constitution Party attended as well.
Perhaps who was not there is just as telling.
Republican gubernatorial candidates Gov. Matt Mead and Taylor Haynes did not attend, although the Haynes campaign had a tent and supporters greeting the crowd. U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis was not there but sent her campaign manager in her stead.
Enzi left before the tea party ended, and the Star-Tribune was unable to ask him whether he agreed with what was said.
U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said he showed up after many of Vallely’s and Nugent’s remarks. He doesn’t think Obama needs to be impeached.