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Does the Conservative Movement Own NRA’s Soul?

I’ll be frank, I’m not the biggest fan of having Grover Norquist on NRA’s Board, primarily because I want to the NRA to remain dedicated to its members, and not channeling the interests of DC insiders. But I am an even lesser fan of NRA living in terror of a nut job like Glenn Beck:

Beck said in a letter on the NRA political action group’s website that NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre is “taking this very seriously” and is beginning an “open and transparent investigation into these alleged ties.”

Beck’s accusation is that Norquist has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, which seems rather fantastic to me, even if I’m not Grover’s biggest fan. But one thing I am definitely not a fan of is letting Glenn Beck dictate terms to the NRA. Yes, he has a large audience. I’ve been present at meetings of a local gun rights group where dozens of “Agenda 21” whack jobs pummeled a local politician with that nonsense when the guy came to discuss gun rights. I do not think Beck is good for the conservative movement, and I believe NRA would be better off without those kinds of followers. I don’t want one man to have the ability to decide who will and won’t be on NRA’s Board.

The correct thing to do here is to tell Beck to get bent and stop hiring him to do NRA activities. If he quits, he quits. If his followers quit, let them quit. I want an NRA composed of people who support gun rights, and support it to the hilt. If you’re going to quit because you think Norquist might be a secret muslim because he married a Palestinian woman, I don’t need your “help.” If hating on muslims, or anyone who has any contact with them, is more important to you than gun rights, you don’t really believe in gun rights. If you don’t want Grover Norquist on the Board of NRA, then don’t vote for him. If other members still manage to push him over the top, and you quit NRA over it, then pardon me if I don’t question your dedication to the Second Amendment.

51 Responses to “Does the Conservative Movement Own NRA’s Soul?”

  1. Old NFO says:

    Agreed! NOW is not the time for divisiveness… We’ve got enough other problems.

  2. Ray Nicolette says:

    Really well said. The NRA and the Second Amendment are not inextricable. The Second has 82 years on the NRA.

  3. Overload in CO says:

    NRA should be non-partisan. It doesn’t matter what anyone’s other views are as long as they’re pro second amendment.

    • SDN says:

      And Harry Reid appreciates it, as he pushes for the amnesty that will guarantee a Democratic President for life. Where will your gun rights go then?

      • Matthew Carberry says:

        Maybe, just maybe, there are other organizations that can focus on amnesty? Maybe, just maybe, NRA members can lobby their elected representatives on amnesty themselves and not expect a gun rights organization to challenge every possible second-order threat?

  4. borekfk says:

    I love those Agenda 21 whack jobs. They’re soooo entertaining.

  5. Bubblehead Les says:

    As Tam likes to say, ” Beck, STAY OFF MY SIDE!”

  6. Alex says:

    The problem is that Grover does play with Muslim Brotherhood, which is the sun source of all Mohammadean mythos-based terrorist groups…Al Quaeda, Hamas, CAIR, etc. Grover’s friends include such luminaries as convicted Mohammadean terrorists Sami Al-Arian and Abdurrahman Alamoud.

    Oddly enough, Hillary’s gal pal Huma Abedin and Dear Leader’s assorted Mohammadean appointees are also tied directly to Muslim Brotherhood.

    Glen may be an odd little man who spends too much time in tears, but he does have a point in this case…the NRA does not need the same ties to Muslim Brotherhood that our Dear Leader seems to adore.

    • Sebastian says:

      Norquist is one board member out if 76, so I hardly think it would mean NRA has ties to muslim extremists even if Grover does. If Beck doesn’t want him on the Board, he shouldn’t vote for him, and encourage his other readers not to vote for him. I’d be absolutely fine with that.

      What I’m not fine with is Beck throwing a hissy fit and threatening to quit NRA over it, presumably encouraging his followers to do that same. That’s not a mature way to deal with the situation.

      • SDN says:

        So what else should he do? Oh, I know! Be a squish like Boehner.

        • Patrick says:

          Try supporting another person for the Board and then vote them in, just like countless people before.

          Beck’s problem (of many) is that he thinks himself special. He thinks his voice – and nothing else – should result in action that no other person could cause.

          NRA has a process. Beck could be part of it, but he’d rather whine about how they won’t listen to him (predicting the future here), rather than be a part of it.

    • Accountability says:

      +1

      I’m all for accountability – if the NRA is associating with individuals with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood we ALL should be concerned. There is a lot of money being thrown around and it is not inconceivable that anti-freedom forces would try to infiltrate the NRA.

      Last I heard, the Muslim Brotherhood does not support freedom, liberty, the U.S. Constitution, or The Right to Bear Arms (unless THEY are doing the arms bearing).

      Let the NRA investigate this, and let the “chips” fall where they may.

      • Sebastian says:

        I’ve read the accusations by his political enemies and I’m not convinced. I get that a lot of people in DC want to take Norqist down a notch, but I don’t think using his family to do that is above board. His accuser in this is also a guy with a history of nuttery, Frank Gaffney.

    • ParatrooperJJ says:

      Yep – it’s pretty well documented.

  7. Greg says:

    Did you actually *hear* Beck’s comments yourself? He hardly “threw a hissy fit”, and specifically told his listeners not to do anything just because he did. He said that this was a personal decision he has made, and he reiterated he was NOT asking folks to resign their own memberships, nor to pressure the NRA to act upon a supposed “Him or me” threat.

    He also said that LaPierre was very personable during their conversation, not at all self-serving, and that the issue was one that the NRA took seriously. If this was all just one man’s lunacy, why would the NRA even bother with an internal investigation?

    If Nugent’s ‘over the top’ actions and ramblings are enough for calls for him to go, what level of truth to the Norquist allegations would justify the same concerns? Where do we draw the line on others’ personal inclinations when they are (or appear to be) firmly on our side on this single issue? At some point, one would think that a man of true character would realize the distraction the fuss is causing, and do what he could to quell it, even if the charges were completely untrue.

    • Sebastian says:

      He can tell his listeners that all he wants, but they will follow, and NRA knows that. They were apparently deluged with calls from Beck’s followers. That’s why they decided to investigate.

    • Sebastian says:

      Were those follow up comments? Because his original statement just said he’d quit the NRA if Norquist was re-elected. There weren’t any qualifiers that I saw.

    • Sebastian says:

      “I find this so serious, and I find him such a dangerous man, that I may reject my membership of the NRA if he’s re-elected. I just don’t think I can stand with the organization. And I love this organization. I think they do an awful lot of good and I think they are really good people. And I’ve helped raise millions of dollars for them. But Grover Norquist is a very, very bad and dangerous man in my opinion. And you need to do your own homework on it. Don’t take my word for it, don’t take Frank’s word for it. Don’t take Grover’s word for it. Do your homework on it.”

  8. Alien says:

    I rarely vote for as many NRA board candidates as I’m allowed to. I look at the blurbs the candidates supply – which I regard as personal propaganda – and evaluate their statements against “the Second Amendment is an inviolate part of the unalienable rights guaranteed to Americans by God and affirmed by the U.S Constitution”. I have, and will continue to, contact other voting members to obtain, and consider, their opinions. I have, and will continue to, research individual candidates on the internet.

    I do not care how many matches a candidate has shot; I do not care what competition achievements a candidate has accomplished; I do not care what political heights a candidate has climbed; I do not care if they are male, female, gay, straight, white, black, yellow, left-handed, or walk with a limp; I am uninterested in their military service or lack thereof; I want to know how, in what manner, and to what degree, that particular NRA Board candidate has supported the Second Amendment and see evidence that such a level of dedication to preserving and advancing Second Amendment rights is first and foremost in their committment to being on the NRA Board.

    I really don’t care if a prospective board member has a television show or has been on one; I don’t care if he or she has married, or not married, a Catholic, a Jew, a Palestinian or a Martian; I don’t care what automobile he or she drives; I don’t care what guns he or she owns, or in what competition or hunting activities he or she engages. I want to see how stringently he or she supports the Second Amendment. Period.

    If my perception is that candidate X is a very strong, consistent and reliable supporter of the Second Amendment they will get my vote. If my perception is that other candidates are stronger supporters of the Second Amendment, then candidate X will not get my vote, candidate Y will.

    I see no other reason for anyone to be on the NRA Board of Directors.

    Your mileage may vary.

  9. Eggo says:

    Grover Norquist?! We’re talking the anti-tax, leader-in-conservative-politics-for-fifty-years Grover Norquist?
    Beck’s gone off the deep end…

    Admittedly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he still had a lot of islamist contacts from his “global purge of the soviets” work in the 70s-80s. Must make for some pretty awkward emails.

    • Kirk Parker says:

      Not off the deep end, not for this reason at any rate.

      Norquist DOES have some troubling associations; one that might make him fail a background check for some kinds of jobs.

  10. janklow says:

    it would be nice to have a little solidarity amongst people working gun rights in an organization that’s about gun rights, but really, i’m just trying to figure out the MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD’s end game in having connections to one of the 76 board members.

  11. Neither having Norquist on the board nor throwing a wobbler over his presence does a damn thing for the NRA. The board is a sideshow that has no power over how the fundraising professionals run the outfit for their own personal benefit.

    The NRA does just enough good to stay in business.

    Sometimes, like now, “sideshow” can be taken literally.

    For some people, being on the NRA board is a power trip.

    Whether Grover is MB or not, he’s not a pro-gun voice. I assume that he is valued, if at all, for his Rolodex. More likely he’s just one more of the distractors and his contribution is as inconsequential as that of the other 75.

    Stop and think: is any business or organization in the world run by a committee of 75? Of course not. Sideshow.

    • Sebastian says:

      That’s not entirely true, that the board is a total side show. But it’s more true than it should be. Either way, even if the accusations against Norquist are true, he’s one board member. The board only can exercise control with broad consensus, which is tough when there’s 76 of them.

      • I keep trying to think of a time that the board changed the direction or improved the operations of the NRA, and I keep finding 1977 standing alone in the field. In the LaPierre era, the 1977 reforms were de-formed so that the members can never take over the organization and oust the Beltway “professionals” again. (LaPierre has also been much stronger for gun rights than the pre-77 Fuddocracy, CWCID, but he’s no Neal Knox). One of these deformations is the board-the-size-of-a-marching-band.

        Sideshow. Eyewash. A Soviet election. Take your pick, it’s all these things.

        • Sebastian says:

          Things were a lot more heated in the Neal Knox era, along with factions on the Board that supported Neal and wanted Wayne out. Like I said, it takes broad consensus to make a significant change, but that’s not to say the Board doesn’t influence the direction of the organization at all.

        • Zermoid says:

          I, honestly, am split on the NRA, I am a member, voting member as well, but I question how much good the NRA really does.
          Remember (If you were around back then) when the 1968 BS was passed and they stated quite strongly that you shouldn’t worry about it that they would get it repealed within a year?

          Still Waiting.

          All the “Compromises” that did NOTHING to strengthen our Rights, that only gave them away piecemeal?

          Only reason I support them is they are better than nothing, but only barely. The 2nd amendment is a RIGHT that is supposedly part of the supreme law of the land, why do we even need to defend what is gauranteed in our supreme law?

          • Sebastian says:

            I wasn’t around then. But my understanding from people who were, and who were intimately involved in the fight, was that a) no one was particularly prepared for GCA ’68 and opposition was weak and feckless. NRA was divided. That b) no one thought it would take until 1986 to get only a partial repeal passed.

            Dave Hardy has a long write-up of the FOPA battle., and he was there first hand. No one was expecting the MG ban either.

            It’s hard for me to understand though, how people feel we’ve only been sliding backward. I think 34 and 68 were the big slides back. Except for some temporary trouble during the Clinton years, we’ve won more than we’ve lost. Though, if you live in CA, NY, NJ, MA, or any of the other states where politicians can safely ignore gun owners, I’m a bit more sympathetic to the notion that things have gone backwards. But that’s not the case for most of the rest of the country.

  12. Chris says:

    The NRA isn’t the only game in town. There’s nothing wrong with taking your ball and playing with another 2A group, if you don’t like how the NRA does things.

    Also, why would the NRA be better off without Beck’s HUGE audience? 80k+ comments to the ATF over the proposed ammo ban. How many do you think did just that after hearing about it on Beck’s radio program? 2A supporters are 2A supporters. As long as they’re not destructive to the message, like Ted Nugent, the tent should be large enough to accommodate all points of view.

    • dwb says:

      Because 1-Beck is polarizing; and 2- mostly interested in self-aggrandizement; 3- the R stands for Rifle not Republican and we need to compartmentalize issues (we can agree to disagree on things like Obamacare and defense spending, so long as we agree on constitutional carry!). The reality is Beck is borrowing the popularity of shooting sports to boost himself, not the other way around. He would throw gun rights and the NRA under the bus the minute it ceased to serve his narcissistic needs.

      Gun rights needs to be a bigger tent than just his followers. How many sent comments to the ATF because they read about on TTAG, this blog, a forum like calguns, or because they got an email from NRA-ILA?

      • Chris says:

        1-Ted Nugent is polarizing and the last time I checked was still on the board. So, polarizing isn’t really a reason. 2-You’re making assumptions based on your own personal feelings of Beck. I take him at his word that he’s staunchly Pro-2A and has always been so in the 15 years I’ve been casually listening. 3-Beck isn’t a Republican.

        I’m not saying that Beck’s listeners need to be the model for NRA members. I’m saying that we need to be as large of a tent as possible including Beck and his listeners.

        As an aside, as a Jew, I wouldn’t be comfortable supporting an organization that has a supporter of the MB on the board. Just like I wouldn’t be if there was a Skinhead/Neo-Nazi on there. So, I’ll be watching the investigation closely.

        • dwb says:

          The last time someone said, thank god I appeased a primma donna was…?

          Nugent is polarizing, but to my knowledge has not made any ultimatums. The difference I think is this: Once one caves to extortion the first time, it’s difficult to stop. It becomes more about cult of personality than actual issues.

          To be honest, probably about a 1/3 of the board members I think are unhelpful. The board is more reflective of what shooting sports was like 30 years ago than today.

          • Sebastian says:

            Prima donna would have been the better adjective for Beck in this post, and is my chief objection to him is his circumstance. I do think he too often dabbles in conspiracy theory peddling, but there’s probably smart business in that, even if I think it’s damaging.

        • Sebastian says:

          I’m not a huge fan of Nugent being on the board either.

          • Half of every population is below average; I don’t think NRA escapes arithmetic, either.

            For a lot of people the board vote (or any other vote) is an exercise in name recognition, nothing more.

    • Sebastian says:

      None of the other groups have a prayer of playing effectively at the federal level. That would even be true if Beck was promoting them to his listeners like he has been with NRA.

  13. dwb says:

    I could not agree more. Both should go. Beck, because he delivered an ultimatum, Norquist because he seems more interested in politics than gun rights (the muslim accusation is absurd).

    Or, we could organize a duel in a country with no extradition and the better shot (presumably survivor) keeps his board seat. I say, a dual a 2 paces outghta be about right.

  14. Roberta X says:

    …Y’know, guys like Beck are why I can’t vote Republican. NRA is fine as long as they stick to gun rights — unwilling to share credit, ever, but they do deliver on 2A issues. That is *all* they are good for and any board member who screws that up should go.

  15. Dannytheman says:

    I rarely vote for the board members I have not met. I am lucky that my involvement in the organization has allowed me to meet some. With only less than 7% of the membership voting, I have many other concerns.

    Beck has influence and is not afraid to use it. But my thinking is he will have little to do with the outcome.

    • Sebastian says:

      My worry is if he’s successful at derailing Norquist, this won’t be the end of this tactic by Beck. NRA will be very reluctant to tell him no.

  16. Whetherman says:

    Here is a video of what Glenn Beck said — to loon Frank Gaffney.

  17. Beatbox says:

    When you so aggressively align yourself with the Tea Party to meet your membership goals, this is what happens. The Nra brought this on themselves.

    Maybe Tee Nugent can help them out.

    • SPQR says:

      I don’t want the NRA in partisan fights outside gun rights. But you have some bizarre ideas what Tea Party is about.

    • SDN says:

      I’m amused by the number of people including our host who:

      a) think that electing Democrats like Reid just because they give lip service to guns means you aren’t guaranteeing policies that will sink the Constitution (incl the 2nd Amendment) in the long run,

      b) think that alienating roughly half your potential allies will somehow let you win elections, because those Xtianists either don’t really believe what they say they do, or don’t have any other options.

    • jerry says:

      “The Nra brought this on themselves”, says the guy who voted for Obama

  18. Joe_in_Pitt says:

    This is why I’ve mentioned my dislike for the NRA conventions to look like just another CPAC. I don’t want to attend one to listen to Monsignor Santorum or Glenn Beck ramble on about everything but guns.

    I get what the NRA is doing by trying to latch on to civil rights overall and tying them all into the 2A, but they need to be judicious about it. We’re making enormous strides on the culture front against the antis, now is not the time to become fractured due to the shenanigans of some of these hardline conservatives who bring just a different flavor of statism to the table.

  19. Whetherman says:

    “This is why I’ve mentioned my dislike for the NRA conventions to look like just another CPAC…”

    OMG! There are TWO of us who see what’s happening?

  20. DLaden says:

    For years I have been chagrined that political Islam facilitator Grover Norquist polluted the NRA board.
    I have brought this issue up in the past and am certainly glad that someone with more juice than I has finally gotten the NRA to address it.
    I’m not a particular fan of Glen Beck, but to in any way discount his massive continuing contribution to our cause is idiotic!

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