Political parties are coalitions. So are political movements. In both cases one must first decide which allies are acceptable and if any contain factors sufficient to reject them. Successful single-issue groups understand this, and are often more comfortably aligned with allies from other groups promoting other issues than some of those who share their own issue but have a different take and employ tactics they reject.

A classic example is PETA and the Humane Society. Both possess conflicting political agendas and strategies.

The gun-toting dipsticks at the presidential appearance in Phoenix are for most of us who support the right to keep and bear arms the equivalent of PETA, a group of narcissistic kooks who rely on political flashing to express themselves and are too wrapped up in their own moral superiority to care about what their impact is on others who share many of their beliefs but not their methodology.

The principle instigator for this usurpation of the Phoenix event was Libertarian Party gadfly Ernie Hancock. He's a nutter, best illustrated by his 2006 candidacy for Secretary of State where he advocated non-voting and didn't vote for himself. Which tells you how bad the LP has degenerated.

Hancock has a website/blog (www.freedomsphoenix.com) which presents a variety of views, some pro-freedom others just anti-something, usually the American military and the cops. It's an interesting political buffet where you may find a great political chicken salad parked between a bowl of dog turds and some fried rat. Like other LP remnants, he's got a sorta coalition built around anarchists and anti-war types like Cindy Sheehan. It resembles the Ron Paul team, who raised a lot of money and paid more per vote than almost any other major party candidate, because their coalition had so many deal breakers that it ultimately appealed to hardly anyone.

Hancock upstaged the event by moving the discussion away from health care over to gun rights, done by having a black guy show up with an AR on his shoulder. That immediately deflected the mainstream media, as he knew it would. One thing made clear to anybody watching but hardly mentioned is nobody with or without a gun gets within range of any President. The display was obviously harmless, and it did generate one pay-off for the center- right in the blatant bias of those in the MSM who only covered the gun-toter from the  back and then allowed the anti-gun side to claim "racism." What Hancock mainly accomplished, besides shocking and motivating lots of hoplophobes, was to divert the subject from one the President's team was losing.

Ernie and others like him don't care. They see no difference between Obama and Bush or Obama and McCain or even Obama and Reagan. In the fantasy world in which they reside, all governments are bad, particularly their own. To them, America's last real enemy was George III, the cops are worse than the perps, and most, maybe all, statutes are intrinsically immoral.

We who support gun rights have no obligation to people like Hancock and others who unilaterally decide how to present our case to the general public, a case we have been slowly winning through calm and rational debate. They clearly feel no obligation to us. To bring your rifle everywhere at this point just because you can does nothing to advance the cause of firearms ownership. It now has the opposition introducing new gun bans which we will have to fight off instead of using those resources to reclaim rights we already had abridged. Narcissists and flashers do us no good, any more than PETA really helps animals.

Hear Emil Franzi and Tom Danehy Saturdays 1-4 p.m. on KVOI 1030AM.

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