Guns. Guns, guns, guns. Illegal immigrants are like trout. Convicted felons should be allowed to carry guns. Guns. Guns. Who brought a coughing dog to a congressional debate? Guns, guns, guns.
If you missed it — and judging from the empty seats in the small room, nearly all of you did — those were the major talking points of last week's inspiring debate between our two Republican candidates for Colorado's 5th Congressional District.
The event was sponsored by the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition (motto: "Making Doubly Sure Our Guns Are Unloaded by Looking Down the Barrel Twice"). It featured challenger Robert Blaha and incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug "Blah-Blah-Blah" Lamborn. The gathering took place in a downtown VFW hall, chosen because Denny's wouldn't put enough tables together for the whole group. Speaking of the group, some 55 people attended — people who seemed to enjoy carrying guns like Mayor Steve Bach enjoys pulling the wings off butterflies.
Anyway, the meeting of the Colorado chapter of the George Zimmerman Fan Club began promptly at 7 p.m., right after a man entered (I am not kidding) and tied his wheezing, barking dog to a leg of a table.
Blaha and Lamborn began with the most awkward handshake since Bill Clinton greeted Monica Lewinsky at the 1996 White House Christmas party. (Clinton aides explained the startled look on the president's face as the first time he'd seen Lewinsky standing up.)
Each politician then gave an opening statement, the political equivalent of throwing out the ceremonial first rump-kissing of the pro-gun crowd. Blaha's first remarks: "I am a concealed weapon carrier. And how many of you are hunters? Raise your hands."
Among those lifting a hand was Lamborn, who just last fall, in a wilderness area that he would like to see bulldozed, bagged a six-point tar baby.
(Last year, as you might recall, Lamborn referred to President Obama with that term but later apologized, saying he didn't mean to call the president a "tar baby" and only meant to call him "a guy born in a mud hut in Kenya.")
Blaha also pointed out that he grew up in Iowa and "literally slept with a shotgun under my bed."
Because there's nothing so unsettling for a young man in Iowa than to be awakened in the middle of the night to find yourself being groped by a pheasant.
Lamborn also had opening remarks but I failed to jot them down, instead focusing on the dog tied to the table. The pooch had stopped yipping and now sat still, staring blankly at Lamborn. (You see the same puzzled look from his House colleagues when he's on C-SPAN discussing energy, the economy, military, foreign policy, taxes, jobs, gasoline prices or anything else.)
Detouring from the night's main topics — guns, shooting ranges and whether it's a good idea to tuck a loaded handgun down the front of your trousers — Lamborn was asked about illegal immigrants. Here's what our answer to Plato had to say: "Illegal aliens should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. They shouldn't just be treated the way they are now — caught and released like trout."
(Update: In a move aimed at compromise, Lamborn announced this week he's sponsoring House Bill 8456-H, which would allow you to keep eight illegal aliens a day as long as they're over 21 inches in length.)
Lamborn later said there should be no restrictions on guns of any kind, ever, and that any gun law is "like the camel getting his nose under the tent." He also said liberals such as Nancy Pelosi "need to be fought against" — causing four retired school teachers to run across the room and leap out a window. Lamborn then said, I swear, that gun ownership "is a right given to us by our Creator." (This is the 11th or so-called "capping someone in the ass" Commandment.)
The debate closed with both men saying the federal government should reconsider the ban on gun ownership by convicted felons.
I looked over at the dog. He was trying to strangle himself with his leash.