Obama and the Queen of England go shooting

You may have heard that Obama claims he goes skeet shooting at Camp David. This information came out as a result of all the gun grabbing control legislation he is proposing. To prove that Obama indeed goes skeet shooting, the White House Flickr account posted a photo of Obama firing a shotgun (amusingly, with strict instructions that the photo “may not be manipulated in any way”). Alas, Twitchy links to about a dozen Twitter users who promptly ignored these instructions. I think the funniest is:

I doubt the Queen of England would choose such words, but she’s definitely packing a bigger gun. It looks like she’s shooting an L85 assault rifle. And when I say assault rifle I mean it in the technical term — a selective fire (as in you can select between semi-auto and either burst fire or full auto or both) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine. This is not to be confused with rifles that meet the arbitrary legal definition of “assault weapon” (like civilian AR-15s, which are generally capable of semi-automatic fire only). “Assault weapons” are simply those which have such flashy features as a pistol grip or bayonet lug (Obama thought bayonets were obsolete for the military, but apparently the mere presence of a mounting mechanism for a bayonet turns a firearm into a deadly, “military-style assault weapon”).

L85 fired by a member of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps (pro tip to Obama: remember that “corps” is pronounced like “core”)

This whole episode is eerily similar to the “Dukakis in a tank” incident. In the 1988 presidential campaign against Republican George H. W. Bush, Democrat Michael Dukakis took part in a photo op with an M1 Abrams tank in order to counter the perception that he would be a weak commander-in-chief and would be soft on defense (everyone already knew he was soft on crime). The photo op backfired as Dukakis came off as a silly posturer, and the Bush campaign ended up using Dukakis’ own photo op against him.

Dukakis in a tank

The reason why Dukakis thought he’d look strong riding around in a tank is that he was copying British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who had been photographed riding in a British tank a few years earlier. In “Iron Lady” Thatcher’s case, the tank photo helped her get re-elected — so Dukakis hoped a similar photo op would also help his election campaign.

Thatcher in a tank

The problem for both Dukakis and Obama is that their political positions reveal their gun-toting photos as obvious (and laughable) propaganda, so no one is buying it. In contrast, the Queen lived through the horror of World War II and Thatcher oversaw the success of the Falklands War, so the martial photos of the Queen and Prime Minister Thatcher are concordant with their reputations — even if it does strike one as slightly silly to see a little old lady firing an assault rifle or riding a tank. The end result is that old British ladies have twice demonstrated more military prowess than male American leftists. I hope leftists don’t stop publicizing these ridiculous photos, though — they make for good laughs.

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