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Expect More of Praise of Harry Reid

Harry Reid is is likely going to face a pretty tough race in Nevada this coming 2010 election, so I expect NRA will sing his praises from now until then [UPDATE 7/22/10: Link removed to Las Vegas Ratview-Journal because of their unfair and despicable practices].  Why?  Because if you look at the seats up in 2010, it’s exceedingly unlikely the Republicans are going to take back the Senate, which means the Demos will still control it.  If Reid is ousted, we’ll be stuck with Dick Durbin as the Senate Majority Leader.  Reid has been willing to bring pro-gun measures up before the Senate, and has been instrumental at keeping the lid on any gun control ambitions from the White House.  I don’t think anyone needs any convincing that Dick Durbin will not be so favorable to our plight, and will likely use his office to be an obstacle.

NRA is going to want to keep Reid in the Senate, so he can continue to serve as Majority Leader.  As much as I would like to see Reid cut down, just as a rebuke of the Democratic leadership, I have to admit it would be bad news for gun rights moving forward.

31 Responses to “Expect More of Praise of Harry Reid”

  1. NJSoldier says:

    Harry Reid is dead meat. Nevada is still a pretty conservative state and they aren’t happy with his B.S. Last weekend he threw some incredible insults at the state’s biggest paper. Don’t waste time or resources defending this lowlife.

    Try getting the Senate back instead, you are more likely to succeed.

  2. Sebastian says:

    NJSoldier:

    Look at the seats up in 2010, and tell me how that’s going to happen? The absolute best case I see is for the GOP to pick up 8 seats. I think more likely is 3-6 seats. To get back a majority, there needs to be several true blue states that go red.

    Reid is probably one of the Dems who is most vulnerable, and I’m sympathetic to ousting him on other issues, but it’s going to be a problem for the gun issue with Durbin running the Senate and Pelosi running the House. I would also say probably bad for us on a number of other issues too.

  3. BC says:

    Given a race between Reid and a pro-gun Republican, the NRA should endorse both, or neither. Endorsing Reid over an equally pro-gun challenger merely because he’s the incumbent is ridiculous.

  4. Myles says:

    I’ll second what BC said. Mum’s the word for the NRA on Reid.

  5. Sebastian says:

    Incumbents get re-elected 90% of the time. Also, an incumbent will typically have a record. NRA follows an incumbent endorsement policy. Everyone knows this and understands why. If the challenger defeats the incumbent, he will also benefit from this policy. It’s smart politics.

  6. BC says:

    I disagree. It’s not smart; it’s tautological. Incumbents get re-elected 90% of the time because issue advocacy groups adopt incumbent-endorsement policies because incumbents get re-elected 90% of the time, ad infinitum.

    Furthermore, if incumbents are re-elected 90% of the time anyway, then 90% of the time your endorsement is meaningless, while the other 10% of the time it’s stupid and counterproductive. Contrast with the wisdom of holding your fire as between two equally-good or equally-awful candidates; aren’t you the one always telling us how the NRA needs to save its political capital for important fights, Sebastian?

  7. Zeron says:

    Just gives me another reason to not pick up the phone when the NRA gives me a call…

  8. Sebastian says:

    BC:

    Incumbents get re-elected 90% of the time because they have inherent advantages over challengers, namely in fundraising and in name recognition among voters. Typically the 10% of incumbents who are unseated are usually in their first terms. This isn’t a creation of interest groups, and not a new trend

    No issue group is going to drop an endorsement of an incumbent just because the other guy running against them is also good. When Bob Casey ran against Santorum, with an A rating, Santorum still got the endorsement. Next time Casey is up, he will benefit from the same policy, unless he wanders off the reservation between now and 2012.

    The reason for the incumbent endorsement policy is because it raises the value of your endorsement. Because as a politician, you know as long as you’re in office, and keep voting with the interest group, you can count on their endorsement. If politicians thought that endorsement could go to any challenger who happens to aspire for their seat, or could be withdrawn just because the challenger is also good, what incentive do they have to keep voting with you? Given that there’s a 90% chance the incumbent will get re-elected, what do you gain from pulling the endorsement?

    The endorsement is a political tool as much as it is a way to inform membership. The idea is to offer something valuable to those people who make the laws and make the rules. If politicians can’t count on it when they vote the right way, the have less incentive to do so.

  9. Ken says:

    Sebastian, if you think Reid is really pro-gun, check this out:

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1057599/posts

    Reid ran, in his 1998 campaign, an ad getting a comedienne to insult the nra and charleton heston, calling him a friend to violent criminals. This vermin should never get the vote of a single gun-owner, let alone the NRA’s endorsement.

    I don’t think you comprehend the level of repulsion Nevadan gun owners generally have for Reid. Call a gun shop in Reno, for instance, and ask them their opinion of the man.
    The 2004 NRA endorsement of Reid was not seen as a plus for Reid, but as a minus for the NRA.

    Besides, in what alternate universe would Durbin be able to convert a Senate Majority Leader position into actual anti-gun legislation, especially after a major loss of seats in 2010? Durbin may be that stupid, but his Democrat colleagues aren’t. Consider that socialized medicine has orders of magnitude more support than gun control, and that they aren’t too successful at even getting that enacted with *60* votes. Do you think they are going to walk the plank for gun control with 54 votes?

    OTOH, if Reid were to turn the election around in Nevada, it would probably be a lynchpin in an election in which the Democrats would get several more victories, possibly even increasing their lead. Do you actually think Reid wouldn’t go along with gun control legislation then?

    You have to trust me, a Nevadan, on this one.

  10. Ken says:

    The problem with “going with the incumbent,” here, is that Reid doesn’t have a 90% chance of winning. He has maybe a 45% chance of winning. He has about a 0% chance of getting even 40% of gun owners.

  11. Sebastian says:

    The Majority Leader basically sets the agenda for the Senate. That’s not exactly minor power. So the Majority Leader can prevent anti-gun legislation from getting to the floor, and can block pro-gun legislation from getting to the floor. He can control which amendments get to the floor.

    I’ll be honest, I don’t care what Reid has done in the past. He’s been good to us since the Dems took control of the Senate in 2006, and considering my alternative, if Nevada voters send him packing, we’re going to be very screwed.

  12. Sebastian says:

    Harry Reid voted against the original 1994 assault weapons ban vote here. More recently he voted against its attachment to the PLCAA here, and voted down the PLCAA with the assault weapons ban attached. He voted for the clean version of PLCAA in the next session of Congress.

    His name was not on the Amicus in favor of Heller, which is a strike against him. But with the exception of the Sotomayor vote, which all the other Dems voter for too, he’s voted with us on everything since, and has been willing to help us get pro-gun amendments added on to legislation in the Senate. I think that should count for a lot.

  13. Ken says:

    Once again, you haven’t been one of his subjects for 23 years,as I have. I have personally seen him on C-SPAN deliberately conflating semi-autos and machine guns, and making the snarky (unoriginal) lie that any hunter using one needs to find a new sport.

    Do you seriously think that a 62-vote Dem majority, with a previously anti-gun Majority Leader (Reid) now having six election-free years ahead of him, would be a good thing for gun owners? Or that a Democrat Party that had just suffered serious midterm losses would touch the issue? The Majority Leader has some power, yes, but not nearly as much as the Speaker of the House. In a very real sense, we have 101 houses of Congress.

    Put it differently: do you think that Reid, who has converted to the pro-gun side for political reasons, is now a trustworthy ally who should be allowed to increase his power? Or that Richard Durban is so deeply honest that he wouldn’t avoid the issue for his own benefit?

  14. Sebastian says:

    There’s never any guarantees in politics. Backstabbing and flip flopping are common traits of politicians. But regardless of what Reid may claim publicly about assault weapons, he’s voted against banning them, consistently it would seem. And I don’t’ see why incentive Durbin would have to help pro-gun measures get to the President. He’s never voted pro-gun in his life. I could see him avoiding the issue to avoid antagonizing blue dog Dems, but the best I think we can hope for is accomplishing nothing until we can boot the Dems out of power in the Senate. That’s not a best case scenario I like.

  15. Ken says:

    So what we have then is the risk, on the one hand, of Durbin as ML, which means we have to wait two years to regain freedoms we are already denied; versus Reid with an enhanced Dem majority, which means we lose the freedoms we already have.

    Seems like a clear choice to me…

    • Bitter says:

      Ken, what information do you have that Republicans will take over the Senate in 2012? I’d love to see your analysis that considers the actual Senate seats up. I haven’t looked closely myself, so whatever analysis you’ve done to make such a confident proclamation would be interesting.

  16. Sebastian says:

    Ken:

    I think the Dems are going to suffer a few seats in 2010. But I don’t think it will be enough to flip the Senate. See the link above to see what I mean. I would like to see the Senate Democratic majority cut down. But I think for the interest of gun rights, and maybe a few other issues, it’s better if Reid isn’t one of the guys to get the axe.

  17. Jessup says:

    Maybe “endorsement” has a false connotation for me, because I loosely take it to mean “This candidate can be trusted to such an extent that we can support him without qualification.” That clearly is not the case with Reid, or many others that receive NRA endorsements. A further problem that grows out of that sort of endorsement is that it almost always turns the endorser into a liar, by citing only the good things the endorsee has done or said, while concealing the bad.

    I am thinking of the NRA’s 2002 endorsement of Republican Mike Fisher in Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial election. What was amusing about that was that in their endorsement blurbs they could not think of one single pro-gun thing that Fisher had done to cite, instead going on and on about how wicked his opponent was. While that was true, in the process they also concealed the anti-gun things Fisher had done as attorney general, and all the times state gun groups had had to fight battle his influence.

    If we are looking at the political process long-term, that sort of practice is slowly (or perhaps rapidly) undercutting NRA’s credibility with its constituency. If all its critics on the pro-gun side need to do is say, objectively and truthfully, “The candidate did A, B, and C that was anti-gun, and still the NRA endorsed him. . .” gun owners are going to place less and less store in an NRA endorsement. Perhaps the critics will be telling a half-truth, by not explaining the NRA’s excuses, but their withholding of information will be cut from the same cloth as NRA endorsements.

  18. Ken says:

    I don’t have any such information. I do think it’s a possibility, because there will be a lot of first-term Dems.

    Ultimately, though, it doesn’t come down to that. It comes down to the fact that we lose very little if Reid loses–since Durbin still won’t be able to pass anti-gun laws–and we lose a whole lot if the Dems increase their share of the Senate, which is much more likely if Reid–one of the most vulnerable Dems–wins.

    Honestly, this is so self-evident from my perspective that I can’t believe you don’t see it. I get the distinct impression that you view Reid as a solid rock of pro-2Aness, whereas I see him closeup and know what a disaster six more years of him would be.

  19. Sebastian says:

    No, I don’ think Reid is rock solid. There are few politicians in either House of Congress that is. But given the choice between Reid and Durbin, I’ll take Reid. It may be that Durbin doesn’t have the votes to pass anti-gun amendments and bills, but as I said, the best case scenario is that we get nothing done until we can kick the Dems out of power in the Senate. That’s going to take a while. I don’t find that prospect palatable.

  20. BC says:

    Sebastian:

    The reason for the incumbent endorsement policy is because it raises the value of your endorsement.

    So you claim. Your reasoning is silly.

    If politicians thought that endorsement could go to any challenger who happens to aspire for their seat, or could be withdrawn just because the challenger is also good, what incentive do they have to keep voting with you?

    The same incentive as exists today: continue to vote with the constituency and you retain the advocacy group’s Good Housekeeing Seal of Approval, or at least avoid having the advocacy group committing resources against you.

    Given that there’s a 90% chance the incumbent will get re-elected, what do you gain from pulling the endorsement?

    You avoid the 10% likelihood you picked the wrong horse, and you make clear that the endorsement is a tool for differentiating between candidates on actual issues rather than an entitlement of incumbency.

  21. Andrew says:

    So Sebastian, he is good for the US, as goes the NRA, 5% of the time. The remining 95% of the time he screws the America Citizen. O h that makes a bunch of sense.

    If the NRA endorses him, I will seriously consider cancelling my membership.

    Harry Reid sucks, and he sucks money from the US taxpayer. So a crook is a crook unless he endorses your agenda. Great philosophy!

  22. Andrew says:

    And Ken, what you said over, and over, and over….

    My brother and his wife live in LV and work for the RJ. Read the comments Reid made about the paper. Reid is a crook & a loser.

    If he loses, it is one less Demoncrap and one more Republican. Everyone always talks about the 60 votes needed to beat a fillibuster. Why doesn’t Sebastian consider that?

    BTW, I REALLY like this blog Sebastian!! You have very reasoned arguments, but you are wrong on this one. MPOT!

  23. Melancton Smith says:

    Durbin is a nightmare. At least Reid has to be accountable to a conservative voter base. Look who Durbin is accountable to.

  24. Sebastian says:

    I am not one to assume that all Democrats are evil and all Republicans are good. Especially on the gun issue, it’s a mistake to think that way. In fact, I’m not inclined to say any politician is “good.” Their job is to balance interests, and try to navigate away through those interests in an attempt to win enough votes and money to win re-election. That’s pretty much what it boils down to. Politicians are basically whores. Don’t ever make the mistake of believing that if you get your guy in there, he’s just going to do what you want because it’s the right thing.

  25. Sebastian says:

    You avoid the 10% likelihood you picked the wrong horse, and you make clear that the endorsement is a tool for differentiating between candidates on actual issues rather than an entitlement of incumbency.

    Incumbent endorsement is only policy given a pro-gun incumbent. If a candidate votes with you, what sense does it make to withdraw an endorsement because he has a challenger who is also pro-gun? In that case, your endorsement has less value, because politicians in office, who actually have the power to vote, know if you’re stuck in a tough race, they can’t count on you.

  26. J Richardson says:

    The NRA would be foolish to endorse Reid, incumbent or not. He is going down and big time. He is well behind both of his potential Republican challengers – Tark the Shark’s son and the Republican state party head. Danny Tarkanian has a double digit lead. Reid has the fundraising lead but once contributors smell the blood in the water, he’ll be cut off and the money given to other candidates.

    If that wasn’t enough, Reid just pissed off the largest newspaper in the state, the Las Vegas Review Journal, so much so that the publisher just called him out in an editorial.

    http://www.lvrj.com/opinion/56171937.html

    You just don’t do that unless you’ve lost touch with reality.

  27. BC says:

    what sense does it make to withdraw an endorsement because he has a challenger who is also pro-gun?

    An endorsement is only ever awarded in the context of a campaign. It’s not some kind of matrimonial vow to remain faithful to the endorsee in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, ’til death do you part. If a pro-gun incumbent attracts an equally pro-gun challenger for reasons unrelated to gun politics, the consistent and intellectually honest position for an organization purporting to be a gun-rights advocacy group is to say, “We have no dog in this fight; voters can’t go wrong by either guy.” This has the added salutory effect of keeping the proverbial powder dry for political battles where something is actually at stake.

    In that case, your endorsement has less value, because politicians in office, who actually have the power to vote, know if you’re stuck in a tough race, they can’t count on you.

    The fate of incumbents stuck in tough races for reasons unrelated to gun politics is not the concern of gun-rights advocacy groups. If the NRA wants to be a political cheerleader for incumbents, fine, but if so it should cease pretending to be a gun-rights advocacy group first and foremost.

  28. Sebastian says:

    J Richardson,

    It certainly doesn’t look good for Reid. NRA may not endorse him. I don’t have the inside track on that. For a lot of issues, I’d be happy to see Reid get the axe, but I doubt Durbin is going to be any better, and certainly not on our issue. So I think there’s a good case to be made for not defeating Reid, because what’s behind him is going to be worse. The extra GOP vote I’m not sure will be worth much.

  29. Sebastian says:

    BC:

    Except that’s not NRA’s incumbent endorsement policy. They will abandon an incumbent that votes against them. I doubt, for instance, Specter is going to see an endorsement this election, and they may just be willing to endorse Toomey if Specter continues to wander of the reservation, or if Sestak actually wins.

    But if an incumbent maintains a good record, he keeps the endorsement for as long as he’s in office. NRA will grade the challenger, and if the challenger wins, he gets the same benefit as the man he defeated.

    No one is talking about endorsing someone just because they are an incumbent.

    • Bitter says:

      Not to mention, most of the serious political challengers I’ve seen are perfectly fine with the policy. If they are pro-gun, they will benefit from it should they win. Take the race in PA-4 the last few cycles. First it was Hart endorsed over Altmire because she was the incumbent with a record and he was just a questionnaire. After he won, the endorsement went to Altmire as the incumbent, even when Hart ran against him to take the seat back. She admitted in an interview that she was perfectly happy with the endorsement and understood why it was issued. She lost, but everyone knows the seat would have been in good hands for gun owners either way. Though NRA may endorse in a race, they don’t actively hide information from their members in a race to conceal the opponent’s record. Every NRA member could go to the website or open up their magazine and see that both were equally rated. The only time I’ve seen them not publish an opponent’s grade was due to an apparent mix-up. When Jim Webb was challenging George Allen, the magazine did not contain the grade for Webb. Based on what Webb’s own people released, it appeared that he did not return the questionnaire in time for publication.

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