The gun selfie is something of an art form in rural America, especially among Republican candidates for Congress. But all good Tea Party Mississippians should be forewarned as they admire the high-caliber, gold-plated, long-barreled gun porn in these 9 photographs from District Attorney Trent Kelly's Facebook timeline.
I have it on good authority that these photographs were taken in 2009. As a member of the nation's activated armed services, that essentially means that Congressional Candidate Kelly was working for Commander-in-Chief President Obama in these pictures.
Working for President Obama!? And now Obama's underling Trent Kelly wants to represent North Mississippi in Washington!? Heaven help us!
And if he is working for Obama in these pictures, what exactly is Kelly doing with these guns? Oh. My. Word. He appears to be confiscating guns, cataloguing guns, and shipping the guns back to some arsenal or stockpile controlled by the federal government. The horror! The horror!
Did you read that last paragraph carefully? Grab your gas masks and hit the bunker, patriots. DA Kelly is coming for your guns!
And this was no one-time offense in the desert outskirts of Iraq. As a District Attorney who must enforce and prosecute our state laws dealing with convicted felons, I hear Kelly even has a responsibility of making sure certain Americans lose their gun rights! Imagine that! You did your time and paid your debt to society for blowing up your Uncle Ray's barn with a shake-and-bake meth lab while having unnatural relations with sheep, but this man -- Trent Kelly -- says you can't even own a gun! And I wonder if he hasn't also locked hardworking Americans up for possessing guns with so-called "felonies" on their records.
And let's not forget the real victims here. You have to feel for these poor guns in the pictures. This sick pervert is smiling like some sadistic Abu Ghraib interrogator as he diddles the triggers of some of my best friends in the whole world. It'd be different if he was going to keep these guns and care for these guns himself, but he's shipping them off to Brother Obama. Now what will happen to these guns' cousins, Smith and Wesson and Kalashnikov and Howitzer, if Kelly becomes Congressman Kelly?
And to think that this man is from the same town, Saltillo, as that most hallowed of survivalist stores, Elmo's Military Surplus. I think I'll go to Elmo's and stock up on gear, guides, camo, and ammo just in case the people of North Mississippi are fooled into electing this gun-grabbing comrade of President Obama………...
All kidding aside, they say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But I think these 9 pictures may be worth at least 9 thousand votes. Other #MS01 candidates have their work cut out for them if they want to come off as tougher than Trent Kelly.
Sam Hall pointed out that the same rural populist voters (Republican and Democrat) who love the prosecutorial persona of another First District Native Son, Attorney General Jim Hood, are likely to appreciate Kelly's role as someone who is also tasked with keeping Mississippians safe by locking up the bad guys.
On top of the gravitas Kelly gets from military tours in Iraq and the tough-on-crime reputation he enjoys by virtue of his job title, Kelly is also from the same area of the district as his potential predecessor, the late Congressman Alan Nunnelee.
While Oxford is the cultural center of the First District and Desoto County is becoming the economic center of the First District, the greater Tupelo area serves as at least the Republican Party's spiritual headquarters for the First District. Tupelo plays that role as the spiritual center in part because it's home base to the ultra-conservative American Family Association.
Whoever the AFA gets behind will be a big player in #MS01, so look for the two candidates who are Tupelo home-basers, Trent Kelly and Senator Nancy Collins, to court this fundamentalist Christian media empire. Recently though, the AFA may have lost some clout when it tried to lead a cultural crusade against Fifty Shades of Grey with the embarrassing result that theaters showing the controversial film sold out at a greater pace in its own backyard in Tupelo and Mississippi than anywhere else. (Also of note: The AFA supported Tea Party darling Chris McDaniel against U.S. Senator Thad Cochran in another intra-party Mississippi GOP feud in 2014, but suggesting the AFA gives its endorsement as a kiss of death is foolish thinking. Don't forget that McDaniel almost won, and actually won more votes in the first primary election than Cochran!)
Kelly's candidacy benefits from not just a compelling narrative but also a sort of home-court advantage. By contrast, the other potential frontrunner in #MS01, Transportation Commissioner Mike Tagert, may have a lot of cash on hand, but he does not even reside in the the First District. Instead, Tagert lives in Starkville, which is just outside the First District. But this is more of an optics problem than a legal problem as living outside a congressional district in Mississippi does not disqualify Tagert from the race.
Finally, Kelly has some political acumen as he ran as a Republican and defeated a three decade veteran in a blue dog Democratic district when he finally beat District Attorney John Young on his second try in 2011.
As a sitting DA, Kelly's constituency already includes seven counties in Northeast Mississippi that help make up the First District. Having name recognition in this area can't hurt.
The one thing that I found that may hurt Kelly at this stage shouldn't hurt him in 2015, but then you never know what may happen when Mississippians start "voting their values." In 2007, Kelly spoke to an NAACP rally and attacked his opponent John Young for never hiring any black assistant district attorneys. "This is is not 1965, not 1975, but 2007." Kelly told the group, according to the Tupelo Daily Journal. Young's response was pretty weak: he claimed blacks did not want the job because they could find higher pay elsewhere -- a quaint notion after tort reform destroyed Mississippi's legal industry.
A check of Kelly's website shows he has indeed made good on that promise and hired at least two black assistants. This sort of thing shows that Kelly is not a racist, but I could see some knuckle draggers whispering that he favors affirmative action. Once that rumor takes root, next thing you know it's "Kelly the welfare pimp" and "Kelly the reparations king." Again, this is silly, but you never know what folks in a Republican primary in Mississippi will do. The Barbour machine, which appears to be backing Tagert, is capable of playing the race card every which way but loose.