Politicians love to portray themselves as good ol' country boys and girls who are just like you -- they grew up in a small town or on a farm, and they grew up with hunting and shooting. They'd have you believe that they continue to have an undying respect for the Second Amendment and firearms.
In truth, they regard bumpkins like us with suspicion, they left the small town or farm as soon as they could get the hell away from it, and they haven't picked up a gun in decades, let alone gone hunting or target shooting.
The latest "gun-loving" ploy was that of President Obama, or "The Emperor," as I prefer to call him, firing an over/under shotgun while supposedly shooting skeet at Camp David. From his stance -- elbows too low, gun butt way too high in his shoulder -- it looks like it is the first time he ever picked up a shotgun. And it may well have been. But you're supposed to believe that Obama is one of you, that he is looking out for your Second Amendment rights, when just the opposite is the case.
Last year before the election Vice-President Joe Biden let the whole world know that "Nobody is gonna take" his Beretta. He declined to mention that he spent almost four decades trying to usurp private firearms ownership any way he was able.
This sort of thing has been going on for a long time. Remember Bill Clinton holding a shotgun in one hand like it was a rattlesnake and a hapless duck in the other? And how about Hillary, during her run against Obama? My, she was out there shooting guns and hunting all the time with her father, if you believed her. I did not.
And John Kerry, the former Massachusetts senator, who showed up at a trap range and revealed that he had no clue how the game worked, and didn't even know how to hold, point and swing a shotgun. Later, he made some crazy statement about "liking to crawl around in the woods" in pursuit of deer. Once someone showed him how to carry a shotgun, his public relations people filmed him strutting in a field, wearing hunter orange and carrying a semi-auto shotgun. But then, obviously, it came to someone's attention that the virulently anti-gun Kerry had voted in the past to ban semi-autos. So the next time we saw Kerry he was carrying an over/under shotgun.
Last fall Mitt Romney was said to have hunted elk in Montana the previous season, but upon questioning it became obvious that he didn't know an elk from a moose. Just trying to curry favor with hunters...
This sort of nonsense happens all over the country, usually during elections, but always when politicians want you to believe that they are "homespun" types. In Montana during his successful run for the U.S. Senate half dozen years ago, Jon Tester, who is an organic farmer from Big Sandy, Mont., posed with a bird dog while he was holding a saddle rifle! Trouble is the media flaks who ran his campaign didn't know enough about guns or hunting to realize that you don't hunt birds with a rifle so the picture was posted everywhere.
One woman who teaches at a Montana university, and is a transplanted Maryland liberal, reminded voters repeatedly during her successful campaign for the Montana Senate that her grandmother grew up in eastern Montana. This woman also shot a modest whitetail buck (or says she did) one time. She just about wore out the antlers, dragging them around for photo ops prior to the election.
George W. Bush did a little quail hunting on his Texas ranch, Lyndon B. Johnson shot deer on his ranch, Dwight Eisenhower owned a Winchester Model 70 in .22 Hornet and a couple Colt revolvers, but to my knowledge none of them proclaimed to be avid hunters.
That status alone belongs to Theodore Roosevelt, who hunted in many places in the Rocky Mountain West, owned a ranch in western North Dakota, and embarked on a nine-month safari in Africa in about 1909. He wrote books on his hunting adventures (I have read them all), owned many firearms, and was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions with "The Rough Riders." "T.R." was a genuine outdoorsman, hunter and shooter.
The rest of them are frauds and imposters. Don't forget that when you see Obama "do skeet shooting," as he puts it.
Bernie Kuntz, a Jamestown native, has been an Outdoors columnist for the Sun since 1974