The future leaders of the GOP

What’s that line from Ferris Bueller? I believe it’s, “I weep for the future.”

Hours after Pennsylvania State Police arrested a 21-year-old Idaho man for allegedly firing a semi-automatic rifle at the White House, the top student official for the College Republicans at the University of Texas tweeted that the idea of assassinating President Obama was “tempting.”

At 2:29 p.m. ET, UT’s Lauren E. Pierce wrote: “Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had! #2012.”

Pierce, the president of the College Republicans at UT Austin, told ABC News the comment was a “joke” and that the “whole [shooting incident] was stupid.” Giggling, she said that an attempted assassination would “only make the situation worse.”

“Insofar as she’s a representative [of the College Republicans], maybe it shouldn’t be said, but she’s made a positive statement in a way, ” said Cassie Wright, the group’s vice president. “I don’t really see anything wrong with it,” Wright added.

No, of course not. Why would she see something wrong with jokes about a presidential assassination? After all, it was made in a “positive” way, though I have no idea what that means in this context.

Every time I come across a story like this, I think about this piece Benjamin Wallace-Wells wrote six years ago. It was largely about then-freshman Rep. Patrick McHenry (R), the hyper-partisan, right-wing North Carolinian, but it explored the world of College Republicans, where McHenry cut his teeth: “The College Republicans have legendarily been the starting point, the training and networking ground, for the careers of all of the party’s most influential activists: Lee Atwater, Grover Norquist, Jack Abramoff, Karl Rove. And producing Roves and Atwaters, tactical geniuses and election-winners, is exactly what the organization is set up to do.”

Behold, the next generation of Republican leaders.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.