Just in time for its wingnut-filled annual meeting tomorrow, the National Rifle Association is set to install a new president: an Alabama lawyer who laments "the war of Northern Aggression," calls Barack Obama "this fake president," and fantasizes about "whipping" opponents of the gun lobby's agenda.
Jim Porter of Birmingham, a longtime board member whose daddy's name graces an NRA championship shooting trophy, is expected to take office tomorrow in Houston at a national shindig that will include speeches by Sarah Palin, Rick Santorum, and John Bolton.
In addition to bearing a passing resemblance to Pappy O'Daniel, Porter works at his own law firm, where his areas of expertise include "defense of firearms manufacturers" from product-liability lawsuits. His NRA election announcement also identifies him as a "special assistant attorney general for the state of Alabama," which couldn't be independently verified by publication time. But if true, Alabama must have one of the few governments that Porter trusts, given his views on those scalawag federals.
He laid those views out last summer in a videotaped address, excerpted above, to rod-and-gun enthusiasts in Ulster County, New York. While speaking to residents of that rural upstate region, which saw significant losses in life and wealth fighting for the Union cause in the Civil War, Porter took an unconventional tack. The NRA, he said in a barbecue-licked Dixie lilt,
...was started 1871 right here in New York state. It was started by some Yankee generals who didn’t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to shoot in what we call the 'War of Northern Aggression.' Now, y'all might call it the Civil War, but we call it the 'War of Northern Aggression' down south.
That was apropos of the NRA's original purpose, Porter said: to train civilians to use military-style weapons so that "when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they’re ready to do it. Also, when they’re ready to fight tyranny, they have the wherewithal and the weapons to do it."
Apparently, the time to fight tyranny is now. "The NRA, I can assure you, is dug in," he said. "And I can assure you, we're whipping their ass. Everywhere we can go. Right, left, up and down."
Porter never specified who "they" were in his applause line, but he later ranted against Obama, "this fake president," whose "entire administration is anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-Second Amendment." He reserved special ire for Attorney General Eric Holder, whom he called "rabidly anti-gun, rabidly un-American, involved in trying to kill the Second Amendment at the United Nations."
The speech wasn't a fluke for Porter. At the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference, he told an NRA interviewer of the need to rally "warriors for freedom" against Obama's push not merely for gun control, but for an all-encompassing "European socialistic bureaucratic type of government."
But in spite all those ominous multisyllabic threats, he thought the struggle against gun-reform advocates like Gabby Giffords and Jim Brady was going pretty well: "Like we say down South: When you got all the pigs squealin', you know you're doing something right."