Ted Nugent went off on one of his rants this weekend at the NRA convention, calling the four liberal justices on the Supreme Court “evil, anti-American people” and adding “if Barack Obama becomes the President in November again, I will either be in dead or in jail by this time next year.”

I have no idea what that means, but because the outburst contained the words “Obama” and “dead,” the Secret Service had to investigate to make sure he wasn’t planning on using one of his many weapons to assassinate the President.  He wasn’t.  Nugent’s remarks were pure nonsense, the kind of idiotic proclamations he’s been making for years, irrelevant to any real discussion of politics and policy.

Of course, that didn’t stop the punditocracy from going crazy and calling upon Mitt Romney to denounce Nugent for his words.  That’s the new sub-division of the Blame Game — even if you had nothing to do with what someone else said, you’re linked to it until you denounce it. 

When Hilary Rosen made her dumb comments about Ann Romney on TV, Obama’s press secretary and campaign manager had to publicly denounce her.  The fact that Rosen doesn’t work for the campaign didn’t matter — she calls herself a “Democratic strategist,” so she must be a White House mouthpiece.  Except she isn’t.

The same happened with Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” remarks.  It wasn’t enough to go after the radio blowhard for saying something stupid — all the Republican candidates were forced to weigh in, and when Romney’s objections in particular weren’t forcefully enough (“those aren’t the words I would have chosen”), he was lumped into the same sludge heap, as if he’d uttered the derogatory phrases himself.

Yes, we have freedom of speech, and yes, there should be consequences for making irresponsible remarks.  Hold the speaker accountable, but stop the guilt-by-association game of forcing others to denounce any loudmouth who spouts something silly.

Now, let’s get the conversation back to something important, like the War On Moms, the War On Women, the war on Dogs, the Secret Service Sex Scandal, and whatever the hell Nancy Grace is pissed off about today.