Many readers of this site are Republicans or generally right-of-center voters. Yet, when we look at the battles we’re facing with the Second Amendment, it’s not uncommon that Republicans are a source of more than a handful of our problems. In Pennsylvania, we finally managed to get Castle Doctrine out of the hands of an anti-gun Philly Democrat in the state House last year only to be stopped by Republican members of the Senate who wanted to load it down with anti-gun amendments. At the federal level, we saw a huge number of Democrats earning their pro-gun ratings by passing good legislation, putting up a fight for even more great legislation, and holding off opponents in the administration. In other words, for gun rights to move forward, the Republican leadership needs to get its act together and start seriously working with gun owners if they want to earn our votes and help in the next election.
Americans for Tax Reform and The Daily Caller are hosting another RNC Chair debate next week. They have a site set up to submit questions and vote on your favorites. Last year, I believe they did feature a question about guns, but it was only a question of how many guns the candidates owned. As both a gun owner and a volunteer, the question was absolutely meaningless. The RNC Chair isn’t setting official policy of the party, and even if they own one gun for every Republican in the country, it doesn’t tell me crap about the role they are supposed to fulfill.
I would think relevant questions to the party chair candidates would include topics about how they see gun owners as part of their voter outreach strategy, and what messages they have for candidates and incumbents at all levels to build up their grassroots teams to include gun owners. These are the kinds of relevant messages that need to come from the party/brand leaders. I could care less what the RNC Chair has done before on the issue, as long as they are willing to talk to Republican candidates for office about how vital gun owners are on Election Day.
During the last RNC Chair election process, I was open to the idea that Michael Steele could bring a bit of fresh thinking to the party. He knew what it was like to run in a tough state, and to say that the Democrats had played dirty to hurt his candidacy is an understatement. Unfortunately, he spent the RNC into the ground, and stupid mistakes have been the highlight of his term. In 2010, it turned out not to matter too much. People were just that angry with the Democrats. But in 2012, we’ll have the very top on the ticket to worry about, along with defending many more seats. Even though the Democrats still control the White House and Senate, Republicans will shoulder an unfair amount of blame for anything bad that happens, regardless of which party is responsible. Voters who aren’t paying close attention will simply remember that Republicans “won” in 2010, not the real balance of power. We can’t really afford to not have money going into that fight, nor can we afford stupid distractions from the RNC.