Greitens goes full authoritarian in bizarre "RINO Hunter" campaign ad

Generally, when a gun appears in a campaign ad from a Republican, it’s accompanied by a pitch from the candidate vowing to protect the right to own one. These ads aren’t exactly unusual, and even candidates with a track record in support of gun control have been known to use firearms in ads to play down their anti-gun past.

Former Missouri governor Eric Greitens, who’s leading a crowded field in the Republican primary to replace retiring U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, has decided to turn that narrative on its head with the release of a bizarre campaign ad that doesn’t feature a shotgun-toting Greitens describing how important it is to protect our right of armed self-defense, but instead shows him and what appears to be a group of government agents or members of the military smashing down the door of a home without a warrant in order to hunt down “RINOs”.

I have thoughts, but first you need to watch the video for yourself.

I don’t know about you, but if I were running for office and hoping to win the support of gun owners and Second Amendment enthusiasts, the last thing I’d want to do is cut a campaign ad featuring me leading a squad of heavily armed men as they smash through the door of a private home looking for those they disagree with politically. Generally speaking, gun owners are usually opposed to government tyranny, while Greitens’ ad wholeheartedly embraces it.

“Join the MAGA crew, get a RINO hunting permit,” Greitens declares in the campaign spot, adding “there’s no bagging limit, no tagging limit, and it doesn’t expire until we save our country.”

They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, but I have a feeling that Greitens’ ad may put that adage to the test. Yes, people are definitely talking about it (and him) today, but for all the wrong reasons.

You should also read my RedState colleague Susie Moore’s take on Greitens’ “complicated relationship” with the right to keep and bear arms, which includes an abortive attempt to ban concealed carry at the Missouri state capitol when he was governor as well as his bashing of the state’s Second Amendment Preservation Act, which he said was backed by “career politicians” and those awful “RINOs”.

That’s right. Apparently if you support SAPA Greitens and his squad might be coming to break down your door at some point in the future.

I also can’t help but notice that in the ad, Greitens and his team of what I guess are supposed to be Navy SEALs didn’t actually find a RINO inside the home they entered after using a battering ram on the door, which seems like a missed opportunity in my book. Is there a “director’s cut” of this ad somwhere that features Greitens aiming his shotgun at a squishy Chamber of Commerce-type huddling in a bedroom closet or maybe just waterboarding a RINO for their political blasphemy? After all, you’re not much of a hunter if you can’t bag your game, right?

I’m a Second Amendment advocate before I’m a member of any political party, and one of the big reasons for my support for the right to keep and bear arms is my opposition to authoritarianism. Greitens’ ad is a not-so-subtle pitch to those Republicans who, rather than being concerned about an overreaching and all-too-powerful federal government, would prefer to try to weaponize it against their political enemies instead.

Not every candidate who holds a gun in their campaign ad is a true defender of the Second Amendment, and when they’re boasting about carrying that gun to hunt down their fellow Republicans, I’d say that protecting or promoting the right of self-defense isn’t much of a concern for them at all. Greitens is the aggressor in this ad. He’s not shown protecting himself against a violent home invader, but actually invading someone’s home. Are we supposed to be impressed because he’s holding a shotgun or (incorrectly) identifying himself as a Navy SEAL (he was once, but no more) before storming into a private residence looking for those suspected of disloyalty to the MAGA agenda?

I’d like to think that most of the conservative voters in Missouri who see this ad will have the same “Oh hell no” response that I did, but as of today Greitens is leading in the polls in the Republican primary. Maybe this will be the wake-up call that voters in the Show Me State need, because Greitens has now shown us all what he thinks about our rights; not just to keep and bear arms, but to speak our mind as well.