Lefty ‘Parks and Rec’ Actor Schools Journos On What Bill of Rights Really Means

Now this makes sense: a TV actor educating Washington media types about the Constitution. Weren’t there any professional wrestlers available?

NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” star Nick Offerman served up his insights about the Bill of Rights, of all things, at the Congressional Radio and Television Correspondents Dinner in Washington D.C. June 12 and peppered it with plenty of GOP bashing.

Offerman professed that he is neither a Democrat or a Republican, but a Teddy Roosevelt “ proud bull moose.”  Video after the jump.

Among the list in his jokes about conservatives:

  • "I’m sure you all heard the news about Eric Cantor, on Tuesday, he tragically got himself a job at Fox News."
  • "Fox is owned by an Australian super-villain."
  • "Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from criticism. That confusion is just one of the many things that Fox News and Donald Sterling have in common."
  • "Republicans have come around with sex education. I heard they finally decided to teach fracking in schools.  Can I say that on C-Span?"
  • "Gay marriage is now legal in Pennsylvania. In the space of just a few weeks, they got rid of their antigay marriage law and Michael Vick. Well done, PA.  With anti-gay marriage laws toppling so easily, I’m starting to worry it’s a trap. Like perhaps the Koch brothers are just distracting us while they escape on a spaceship. A giant, gay spaceship."

 Where are the jokes about MSNBC, the cartoonish liberal network? Or the cracks about George Soros – a super-villainous character that makes Rupert Murdoch look like Jimmy Olson. Of course, like any good entertainer, he was playing to his audience.

Next up was Offerman’s “refresher course” on the Bill of Rights. Of course, the second amendment was an easy target. Offerman criticized Georgia’s newly expanded safe carry gun legislation, saying it was “allowing idiots to openly wield a firearm in church, the post office, bars, movie theatres, the library, etcetera, but not the state house. Basically any of the places where people are prone to get excited, or well, go postal. Except for the lawmakers own place of employment.” 

Oh, and the alternative to guns?  “Words and civility.”

“If you have a beef with me, I’m going to expect you to try to resolve it using reasonable discourse. using your words and civility. If our tempers are flared past the point of civil discourse, I'll expect you to challenge me in an honorable contest of fisticuffs. But to remove oneself from the safe range of a firearm to settle a dispute in america is nothing short of cowardly. Add the ease of automatic firing capability and I will declare you nothing short of lily-livered. For shame.” 

Yes, the “For Shame” method of self defense, not to be confused with the “Tsk-Tsk Doctrine.” 

While on the theme of how America’s laws are just so violent, Offerman brought up the recent botched execution of an Oklahoma murderer and rapist, calling it “cruel and unusual punishment.” 

“The 8th amendment protects us from cruel and unusual punishment. Which apparently does not include strapping a citizen to a table and murdering them. I guess that’s some sort of judgement call. The rest of the civilized world has stopped practicing capital punishment and meanwhile officials in Oklahoma are making lethal injections the way I make a barbeque rub. “ 

Fox News? The Koch brothers? Violent America? Check, check and check. Oh but what about the Religious Right? Not to worry, Offerman didn’t forget to mock Christians too. 

“The first amendment also guarantees us the freedom of religion. And for anybody out there claiming that America was in any way founded as a Christian nation, just stop it. That’s nonsense. Just look at the bill of rights itself. It’s a meticulously worded and signed legal contract. If anything this is proof that America was founded as a Jewish country. Cmon.” 

The actor ended his speech by making another dig at Christians. 

“Let's try a little harder from here on out, shall we? You can't just pretend that the constitution says whatever you want to say. That is what the Bible, expiration dates, and speed limit signs are for.” 

The Radio and Television Correspondents Association’s mission is to “strive to protect the rights and privileges of radio and television news reporters” covering Congress, “and assist in every way possible to maintain the high standards of reporting news by its members.” And those standards are best served by ensuring that after-dinner entertainment doesn’t offend their liberal sensibilities.

Kristine Marsh
Kristine Marsh
Kristine Marsh is a staff writer/analyst for the Media Research Center's Culture and Media Institute.