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On the Reid Endorsement

NRA hasn’t yet endorsed Harry Reid, but I would be shocked if they didn’t. Truth be told, they’d be insane if they didn’t. Why? Well, this is probably the best reason, but I also really want to address some of the distortions of Reid’s record mentioned over at Red State, which looks like they could have come directly from Larry Pratt. Pratt is a shameful hack, and it would appear he’s turned Red State into one too, at least on the gun issue. Red State has a long list of transgressions committed by Reid. I don’t have the time or energy to address them all, but I will address the main points.

Harry Reid did, in fact, vote for the Brady Act. This vote was in 1993. Also voting for the Brady Act was Kay Bailey Hutchison, who GOA gives an A grade to. Funny how Republicans get forgiven, isn’t it?

Oh, but he voted for the evil assault weapons ban, Sebastian! Well, he did, but he didn’t. The assault weapons ban was attached to the Crime Bill, which was a must-pass part of a highly popular President’s agenda. See my post on the history of the Assault Weapons Ban. The actual AWB was called the Feinstein Amendment, and Reid voted against that. There were only four Senators who voted against the final Crime Bill. One of the other votes for the final bill? GOA A-Rated Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby. Shelby also joined Reid in voting to eliminate CMP funding. And here too, along with Hutchison again.

But I’m not going to sit here and do this all day for decades old votes. I mean, yeah, he did vote against the Lott Amendment back in 2000, but so did Fred Thompson. He did vote for trigger locks back in 2004, but so did Hutchison. But he also voted against renewing the Assault Weapons Ban on that same bill. Reid also voted against the final version of the bill that was amended with the trigger lock provision, gun show provision, and assault weapons ban.

Also worthwhile to note Harry Reid voted for the PLCAA, which was NRA’s major legislative initiative for the last decade. But I think what stands out the most is Harry Reid’s leadership on the issue in this Senate. Shall we name what we’ve gotten?

  • An amendment to allow National Park carry inserted into the Credit Card bill.
  • An amendment to fix DC’s gun laws inserted into the Voting Rights Act.
  • An amendment to create national reciprocity recognition that even included recognition for states that did not issue licenses, like Vermont. We lost his one, but the vote never would have happened without Harry Reid.
  • Funding rider to force Amtrak to allow guns in checked baggage.
  • Let’s also not forget all the other funding riders which are important for us, which Reid helped us get.

You can be upset all you want with him on other issues, but Harry Reid is solid on the Second Amendment. We’ve gotten more out of the Senate under Reid than we got out of Republicans in the roughly 14 years they ran things. Reid is not perfect, but there’s no politician that has a voting perfect record, and many that have records on guns comparable to Reid which GOA rates highly. I will leave it to my readers to determine whether Red State and GOA have any credibility at all when it comes to these issues, or whether they are using gun rights as a club to try to beat Democrats they find unsavory on other issues, and beating up on NRA because they know they are going to be supporting a lot of Democrats this fall. I think the answer is clear.

25 Responses to “On the Reid Endorsement”

  1. Achilles says:

    It’s true that Reid has done a lot for us lately, but he also ensured Sotomayor got confirmed, and he’ll likely do the same for Kagan. That’s two SCOTUS legislators-for-life who will do their best to erode RKBA for decades. For that reason alone, he can’t be called “solid” on our issue.

    And no, I don’t buy the “elections have consequences” excuse. In his position, he could insist that Obama nominate a pro-RKBA liberal (yes, they do exist), and he would get a lot of support from his own caucus. Funny, I haven’t heard anything about Reid even contemplating that.

    I don’t think we would have to worry about Angle voting for Sotomayor or Kagan.

  2. Todd says:

    You nailed it

  3. Sebastian says:

    Except all the Democrats and nine Republicans did too. Kagan might be different. Let’s hope. Obama has lost a lot of political capitol, so yes, Senate Democrats are in a better position to demand more from the White House, and maybe they will. We shall see.

    But either way, Reid is in a difficult position when it comes to going directly against the White House, though he’s getting in a better position as Obama plunges in the polls.

    But even if he does vote for Kagan, it’s either Schumer or Durbin behind him. Combine that with a GOP House, you might think we’re save, but I wouldn’t bet on it. With no Blue Dogs to protect anymore, Obama might decide to put weight behind gun control. Schumer or Durbin would use it as a tool against the GOP. I wouldn’t count on nothing getting through.

    It was a fore drawn conclusion when Obama won that any of his nominees were going to be anti-gun. If we had a solid GOP Congress, we might be able to make the Second Amendment a litmus test, but usually in a show down with the White House over a nominee, the White House wins, even if the Congress is controlled by the other party.

  4. Achilles says:

    Majority Leader Durbin is a grim scenario, but you assume that the Dems will hold the Senate. Even if the GOP comes close to retaking control, Durbin will become much less important, especially if the GOP recaptures the House. Right now, the reliable polls make 1994 look like a best-case scenario for the Dems. Even if the Dems hold the Senate this year, they’ll probably lose it in 2012, and then what will Reid do for us? I predict that his RKBA voting record will deteriorate quite a bit.

    The way the wind is blowing, I’d rather have Angle in that seat for the next six years. That way, she can vote on any SCOTUS nominations that occur in that time.

  5. Achilles says:

    I forgot another factor: If the Angle/Reid race ends up being the decisive race for control of the Senate, the NRA would look awful for backing Reid.

  6. Sebastian says:

    That’s true, but to be honest, from a gun rights perspective, Reid has been better than any other Republican majority leader on guns in recent memory. Don’t forget it was a Republican senate that killed the vote to repeal the AWB back in 1996.

  7. Achilles says:

    So, you’re proposing that we work for the Dems to hold the Senate so that Reid can keep doing his good work? I have great respect for you, Sebastian, but I suspect you’ve been venturing too close to the modeling glue. I understand — I’ve been trying to get that U.S.S. Nimitz model finished for years now.

    What we need to do is to keep working to ensure that the new GOP senators are better than the limp-wrists who were there in ’96.

  8. Sebastian says:

    Strictly considering gun rights, yes. Not strictly considering gun rights, no. I would be quite happy, because of other issues, if the Senate flipped back to the GOP.

    • Bitter says:

      I would be happy to keep Reid in there and give it back to the GOP. There’s nothing wrong with sending some of the anti-gun Democrats home. Barbara Boxer is facing some real heat from Carly.

  9. Steven says:

    I barfed. Seriously.

  10. Ken says:

    Sebastian, why don’t you look up some of the gun stores in Reno, and ask them what they think of Reid? Make sure you wear ear protection. And can we stop acting like 2A supporters are a despised minority, in desperate need of a sugar daddy? I personally would love going head to head with either Durbin or Schumer on this issue, in the current political climate. They’d quickly drop below Osama bin Laden in popularity.

  11. Amiable Dorsai says:

    “I personally would love going head to head with either Durbin or Schumer on this issue, in the current political climate. They’d quickly drop below Osama bin Laden in popularity.”

    Ken, welcome to Illinois. Once Wisconsin goes for concealed carry (probably as soon as the current governor leaves office) we’ll be the last state in the Union with no CCW permits (except for Chicago Aldermen). Durbin could stomp puppies on TV and still get reelected, so long as he stays anti-gun, and you really, really don’t want him as Majority Leader.

  12. Jay says:

    Methinks that if we keep Reid, we’ll have our gun rights respected, and no money left with which to buy them.

  13. Jacob says:

    I would not give Reid an endorsement. He is going to lose. Guns are not an issue in the race so putting resources into his campaign would be a waste.

  14. Flighterdoc says:

    An NRA endorsement isn’t going to help Reid in any way. In fact, it might just hurt him with his base.

    Such an endorsement will hurt the NRA. So why do it, and absolutely PISS OFF the base supporters?

    And the issue isn’t that Reid has equal standing on RKBA to some republicans with equal or higher NRA ratings: Its that the NRA tolerates and encourages those republicans.

  15. Kagan might be different.

    How can you say that with a straight face?

  16. Sebastian says:

    Why not, PM? Several Senators are already mumbling about voting no who I wouldn’t have expected, like Specter. That wasn’t happening with Sotomayor.

  17. Sebastian says:

    Oh wait, I wasn’t saying she’d be different as in she’d be with us. No… she’ll be just as bad. I’m saying she’d be different as in we may have a snowflakes chance to defeat her or hold the nomination.

  18. Sebastian says:

    Ken:

    Single issue gun voters are a minority, and you only get a chance to rid yourself of Senators every six years. They can do a lot of damage in the mean time.

    And I’m sure what I’d hear in Reno gun stores about Reid. Same thing I would hear in PA gun stores about Specter. And Specter’s record is slightly better than Reid’s.

  19. Michael Dyess says:

    I believe the fairest way for NRA to decide who to support in any upcoming election is for the NRA to hire a neutral polling firm and do a controlled survey of every member who carries the NRA card. I know it sounds silly, but, shouldn’t the NRA, who is comprised of thousands and thousands of members, be respondent to endorsements based on the majority of its membership? Or is it the case that the NRA Leadership is similar to Liberal Congress who chose to ignore the wishes of the American populace and forced upon its membership the same ideology as in the case of Obama’s Health Care…? Just saying…

  20. Mike From Philly says:

    If the NRA is going to score Kagan, then why endorse Reid who is shepherding her nomination through the Senate?

    In my eye’s, Kagan’s scoring is for show not results. That is the problem with the NRA’s rules. It doesn’t reward results, it rewards show. Coburn and Reid get the same score but the difference each made is dramatically different.

  21. Sebastian says:

    There’s a reason, as a nation, we’re a Republic and not a Democracy. NRA is structures more like a Republic than a Democracy. I would refer back to the informational deficit problem I talked about before is a previous post. NRA’s job is to defend the Second Amendment — not to emotionally validate its members.

  22. Sebastian says:

    If the NRA is going to score Kagan, then why endorse Reid who is shepherding her nomination through the Senate?

    It’s a fair argument. Kagan could potentially do a great deal of long term damage to the Second Amendment sitting on the Supreme Court. The question is how far does Reid have to go in his role as Majority Leader? Generally speaking, the Majority Leader is a party seat. You’re expected to tow the line to a degree. If you don’t, you’re out and someone else is in. As we’ve talked about around the blogosphere, who’s waiting on deck behind Reid is a big big problem.

    If there’s anything I’d like to get across in the various points I’ve made here, it’s that we do not have perfect choices. Politics hardly ever gives you a choice between good and bad. Most of the times it’s between bad and worse. So sure, you could lean on Reid to buck the party and White House, which could cause them to retaliate. Then Reid could be out and Durbin or Schumer could be in. Then what happens Scalia has a heart attack this weekend and dies?

    This is a game where the voters deal the cards. Your effectiveness in any Congress is going to be how you play the cards the voters deal you.

  23. LFS says:

    I wonder how all those gun store owners are gonna feel when Senate Majority Leader Schumer lets his Bloomberg buddies introduce a truck-load of MAIG written legislation. And don’t count on a GOP House to stop it, because the MAIG stuff is red-tape minutia wrapped in save-the-children like platitudes and very hard to justify voting against for sound-bite seeking politicians.

  24. Sebastian says:

    I’d also add what LFS has said and point out an uncomfortably large percentage of Bloomberg’s mayors are Republicans.

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