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Red Meat for their Respective Bases

I watched the debate last night, despite there not being enough booze in the world to get through that. Pass the Brawndo. I call it a draw, with the real loser being the American People. I think Trump’s base got a lot of red meat from Trump with his trade protectionism and good old fashioned “law & order” talk, and Hillary’s base got red meat both from her, and from plenty of Trump hate. Glenn Reynolds I think summed up my sentiment best:

Honestly, the bar was set so low that both cleared it: Trump didn’t throw anything, and she didn’t cough up blood. Happy 2016!

Preemption Enhancement Back in Action

The new pre-emtiion enhancement bill, HB 2258, is now going before the Pennsylvania House floor, having been voted out of committee by a 21-6 vote. I’m curious to see if we can pass this with a veto-proof or near veto-proof majority. The GOP controls the House and Senate at levels in this state that have not been seen for decades, and there are still some pro-gun Democrats out there, so I’m hopeful we’ll get a good vote tally.

When this bill was briefly law before it was invalidated by the courts for violating the single-subject requirement of our state constitution, it did a lot of good. Most municipalities folded like a cheap deck of cards once challenged under it. The only holdouts were the big cities, which fought the law using the single-subject argument.

Follow this link to go to NRA’s handy app that will help you write your rep. Let’s get this done.

Primary & Secondary School Weapons Ban to be Reconsidered

Good news from Firearms Attorney Joshua Prince regarding the Pennsylvania Superior Court case that ruled “other lawful purposes” language in the Pennsylvania school weapons ban didn’t include legally carrying a firearm, but instead meant that lunch ladies could have knives in the kitchen, or other such school related activity:

After the decision, Mr. Goslin contacted me and we, pro-bono, filed a Motion for Reconsideration/Reargument en banc, wherein, inter alia, we argued that the Superior Court should permit new briefs to be filed and oral argument, after vacating the court’s July 6, 2016 decision. Today, the Superior Court GRANTED the motion, withdrew the July 6, 2016 decisions and scheduled re-briefing and argument.

That’s definitely good news. Hopefully we can get a better result on appeal. If this case loses, it would technically be a serious violation to drop your kid off at school with a firearm in the vehicle, or even to turn around in a school parking lot on the way to the range. What about a sidewalk that transits school property? The “other lawful purposes” was what prevents this law from applying to ordinary people, rather than only to people who don’t have lawful intent.

A Country Falling Apart at the Seams

I don’t really spend time participating in comment sections anywhere, but I do occasionally skim comments to gauge the mood. I’ve been appalled at how full of nastiness and vitriol the comments are even among many of my “happy warrior” sites like Instapundit. Most of this would seem to be coming from the new “alt-right” crowd. Let me offer an interview of Jonah Goldberg by Hugh Hewlett which I don’t even think ought to be controversial, but apparently is among some folks:

Jonah Goldberg, author of “Liberal Fascism” is big on the philosophical roots of political movements, and believes we ought to have nothing to do with the core, racist alt-right, and shouldn’t aid in expanding the use of the term. Because of Jonah’s comments here, I noticed this over at Instapundit of all places:

Jonah is a hundred times worse than the vaguely defined Alt Right. They are not traitors to their own side of the political spectrum. They are not trying with all their force to get the Alinsky communist government weaponizing Islamophilic mega-criminal Hillary Clinton elected president.

Jonah is part of what is in fact a Jewish cabal (prominently led by himself and Bill Kristol and backed by numerous other prominent Jewish conservatives like Ben Shapiro), created expressly to betray the strong majority of Republican voters who chose Trump as their nominee. Trump took the lead on the issue Republican voters most care about: stopping illegal and jihadist immigration. Establishment Republicans always betrayed the voters on this issue and now this de facto Jewish cabal is doing the same.

I’m not going to be a participant in a political coalition with racists and anti-semites. Note that I’m not saying I believe that every, or even the majority of Trump supporters are racist and/or anti-semitic, and I actually don’t believe Trump himself is either, but Trump was shameless enough willing to dog whistle racial politics to audiences eager to embrace it. This has emboldened some very distasteful individuals who now don’t feel so marginalized.

I also noticed recently that J.D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy (which I have not yet read, but I’ve been reading a lot of his commentary) takes a beating in the comment section of National Review over his article on why race relations have gotten worse. I don’t think there’s anything particularly ridiculous about Vance’s statements here, yet in the comments, you see comments like:

What a gigantic heap of baloney. White failure to empathize with black problems is responsible for all the problems in the black community? Good grief. Black behavior is responsible for problems in the black community. Vance is just another dizzy excuser of black pathology.

I know from a decade of blogging that reading comprehension is not the strong suit of a lot of people, but did this well-liked commenter read the same article I did? I didn’t get the impression Vance was making excuses so much as trying to promote understanding. Understanding among factions is a critical thing if we’re to avoid being at each other’s throats all the time.

One of my big problems with the anti-PC movement coming from alt-right camp is that there are some things that you don’t say… not because of PC conformity, but because decent people don’t say shit like that. I feel pretty confident in saying that if you utter “Jewish cabal” in public, you suck as a person and I don’t want anything to do with you. If that makes me PC, well, so be it. This is not the kind of thing I’m willing to tolerate or look past for the sake of political coalitions, and I’m glad there are other people who feel the same way.

How did we get here? Unlike a lot of people, I don’t blame Trump or his supporters. Trump is a symptom, not the cause of the disease, and I don’t think most of his supporters represent the kind of nasty discourse we see above.

In the current political situation, both parties have weak coalitions. The fastest growing party in this country is no party. Granted, most of those “independents” tend to lean one way or the other, but increasingly Americans aren’t all that interested in party politics. Johnathan Chait alludes to the weakness of the party system in his article, “Why American Politics Really Went Insane,” but I think Chait glosses over the fact that the Democratic Party’s leftist nuts are just as radical and out there as the Republican Party’s newly rediscovered alt-right whack jobs.

Barack Obama was, in fact, the transformational President he claimed to be. He was transformational in the sense that he realized (or perhaps accidentally stumbled upon) that the Democratic Party could build a stronger coalition than the one previously constructed by Bill Clinton. The limits of the Clinton Coalition showed with the Obamacare vote, and the devastating election results for the Democrats that followed. The Dems never really got what they really wanted out of Obamacare, but it cost them control of Congress, most state legislatures, and most governorships. Bill Clinton’s coalition was simply not capable of delivering European-style Social Democracy to US shores.

But the 2008 election results showed opportunity if that same coalition that easily swept Obama into the White House could be reproduced reliably.

What Democratic strategists figured out (and this is very much a “Chicago politics” divide-and-conquror style of running things) is that if money and grassroots effort was funneled to causes that helped nurse identity (racial, sexual, gender, etc) grievances, a thoroughly progressive coalition could be maintained that didn’t require catering to moderate suburban voters, as Clinton had done. But in order for the coalition to work, turnout among those groups needed to remain at Obama-like levels. The results had to be repeatable.

I don’t believe the fact that most people view race relations at an all time low is any accident. The Democratic political class engineered this in order to shore up their political power. That this would fuel the rise of white racial politics isn’t a bug, it’s a feature, and the hateful people coming out of the woodwork and participating in this nonsense are actually playing right into their hands.

This is not to let off the Republican Party off the hook in all this. They went into the 2016 elections thinking it was business as usual, which of course meant running someone else named Bush. I marginally more identify with “elites”, and I thought this was the very definition of insanity by the donor class. It would have been a moronic move even in a normal election year to line up behind Jeb!, but it was a disastrous one this year. The problem the GOP has is that they are beholden to the same wealthy interests as the Democrats. The difference between a Republican Wall Street Banker and a Democratic Wall Street Banker are not nearly as great as the difference between any Wall Street Banker and an unemployed coal miner from West Virginia, or some poor dude working two jobs to pay the rent and back child support. That gap in understanding is the real cause of our political woes, if you ask me. All this racial and gender bullshit is nonsense ginned up by our supposed rulers.

See, if working class whites, working class Blacks, and working class Hispanics suddenly realized they have more political interests in common with each other than they do with their wealthy coalition partners in the major parties, they might just figure out that if they vote together, they have the power to call the shots, and that would be the real disaster if you were to ask the donor class of either party. So best to keep the working classes divided against each other before they realize it. As for the rest of the rubes? Let them have bread and circuses culture wars!

That’s my cynical take on it all. I’m not comfortable with believing this, because class is something Marxists obsess over, and I’m not a Marxist. If we had a growing economy that was lifting all boats, I don’t think we’d be in this mess. But we don’t have that, and given the advances in automation and robotics, it’s going to be hard to achieve the kind of growth for the working class. The post World War II order is now coming to an end, and I don’t know what will replace it. But I don’t like what I’m seeing so far.

NRA Endorses Dem for MO Governor: A Good First Step on the Road Back

NRA has endorsed Democrat Attorney General Chris Koster for Governor of Missouri, and at least some of the media has taken notice. The current state of affairs we have reached with this election is not inexplicable.

It actually started after Al Gore’s defeat when the Democratic Party began to accept that gun control as an issue was hurting it. The thinkers and strategists that built the 2006 comeback did so on a “blue dog” strategy, of running Democrats who could win in their districts, which included being pro-gun if that’s what it took. Obama largely laid off the gun issue in his first term, largely because gun control threatened the seats of his blue dog coalition. In 2010, the blue dogs decided to en mass, unbox the tantō Obama had laid before them proceeded to commit ritual suicide one after the other…. by voting for Obamacare. The resulting political backlash was so severe that the gun vote couldn’t protect them, despite NRA endorsing a large number of Democrats.

Additionally, despite NRA’s endorsement of Harry Reid in the past, in the 2010 election cycle they experienced a backlash from their membership, largely driver by talking heads and conservative radio shows, most of which don’t give a rat’s ass about gun rights short of its usefulness to them for promoting conservatism as a whole or promoting themselves. The official line was that judicial votes now matter, and I think they ought to, but the perception (in politics, it’s perception that matters) was that NRA stiffed the Majority Leader because he was a Democrat, and their membership are conservative voters rather than single-issue voters.

After the death of the blue dog coalition, and Harry Reid getting stiffed, the Democrats no longer viewed being amenable to gun rights as being in their political interests. Then Bloomberg comes along with a huge pot of money and that seals the deal. If there’s ever going to be a bipartisan consensus on gun rights again, it’ll happen because the Dems have political talent to protect, and that has to start somewhere. Long term safety for this issue will only come if there’s a bipartisan consensus to protect gun rights. As long as this issue is tied to only one party it is tied to the fortunes of that party, and the fortunes of any political party go up and down as the political winds blow.

Pro-Gun Group I’ve Never Heard of Supports McGinty

Apparently American Gun Owners Alliance, a group I’ve never heard of until reading this article, is “encouraging its members to support McGinty”, apparently unaware that there is the option to not cast a vote in that race if you think Toomey is unacceptable. Go ahead and do that. I wouldn’t blame you. This is the kind of shit that makes me want to beat my head against a brick wall repeatedly. Seriously guys, you have more options than voting for one party’s candidate or the other if you want to send a message.

And to be clear, I’ve expressed before that I’m not sure it’s in our short term interests to knife Toomey’s candidacy in 2016, as opposed to 2022. So I’m also sympathetic to the groups that are reluctantly holding their noses. Sure, McGinty will be more junior than Toomey, but I feel a lot better about our chances to boot Toomey from that seat in an off year primary and holding the seat than I do about getting rid of Kate McGinty if she gets in. There’s also the possibility that Toomey can be convinced that his political self-interests resides in “coming back to Jesus,” so to speak. Stranger things have happened.

Pat Toomey Reaps the Rewards

Back in March, Sebastian called it when he noted that while Pat Toomey was touting support from CeasefirePA leadership, these are not people who would ever actually cast a vote for him. Granted, we thought that was more of a “won’t vote for you in the privacy of the voting booth” type of prediction, not a “will actively campaign against you despite doing what they wanted” kind of way.

But, it seems that’s how loyalty to gun controllers is rewarded. Toomey’s opponent has been endorsed by the very same group whose leaders were kissing his rear back in March, likely knowing all along that they would throw him under the bus come the run up to November’s general election.

Good call there, Pat.

You know what I was doing 6 years ago in November? Casting a ballot for you, Pat, when polls opened and spending the rest of the day standing outside of a senior citizen’s center asking voters to support your candidacy. You know what I won’t be doing this November? Telling anyone about your campaign – other than the fine readers of this blog about how you screwed us and fell for every pathetic lie from the gun control groups. You can rely on your new best buddies at Ceasefire to help out instead, Pat.

Oh, wait, no, you can’t.

Gov Christie isn’t done with the 2A

Hot off the ANJRPC’s presses:

Christie Vetoes Seek Shall-Issue Carry & Clean Repeal of Smart Gun Mandate!

Wednesday August 24, 2016: 

In a blockbuster announcement today, Governor Christie conditionally vetoed two pieces of anti-gun legislation (A3689 and S816), imposing dramatic conditions that would change them into pro-gun measures establishing shall-issue right-to-carry and repealing New Jersey’s 2002 “smart gun” law mandate with no strings attached.

That’s interesting. I mean, it’s certainly a push-back against his political enemies, and an indication that he’s not going quietly off the national political stage, but it also means he’s making a bet that a bold move now will be remembered in 4 years.

How’s That Flip Flopping Working Out for Ya Pat?

It’s no surprise that Pat Toomey is still getting attacked by the Democratic Party for being too pro-gun. You’re seeing all the groups that no doubt promised him cover doing their level best to pull his ass from the fire. So does this mean the Democratic Party is now to the left of Bloomberg and Giffords on guns? It would seem so. What Bloomberg and his ilk are doing is trying to show they can help Republicans in a tough election fight. I think that’s doubtful, but all that matters is whether Pat Toomey believes it.

I’ve been torn between wanting to see Toomey go down in flames this year and the utter terror of Hillary getting to pick Scalia’s replacement with a Democratic Senate. I also worry that if we have a Dem in the White House and a Dem Senate, we might see several more justices retire, which would cement the Court as outright hostile to the Second Amendment for a generation. If that happens, I doubt I will live long enough to see a pro-2A court, and most of the folks reading this probably won’t either.

Grand opportunities have been are are actively being flushed down the crapper when it comes to the Second Amendment because, based on the memes I see going around Facebook, GOP voters are completely ignorant and it’s only getting worse. If we had won in 2008 or 2012, we never would have gotten to this point.

Possible Explanation for the Nasty Discourse?

Ace from Ace of Spades thinks political dishonesty may play a part:

Many in the GOP establishment do this for slightly different reasons. See, they’re supposed to be in agreement with the Tea Party’s core principles of reduced spending, reduced government, and greater individual freedom.

But, of course, they’re not so committed to those things. Oh, as a general rule, they favor them– but they’re very quick to sell them out in favor of some other priority, which they won’t admit is a greater priority, because they’re pretending their highest priority is reducing spending, reducing government, and increasing individual freedom.

Thus, John McCain, rather than honestly objecting to the parts of the Tea Party movement he disagrees with, or honestly expressing his opinion that we need a bigger government than Tea Partiers think we need, resorts to personal attacks: They’re Wacko-Birds. They’re Hobbits.

Read the whole thing. For a lot of readers here, I suspect you will relate to what he says. I know I do. But my experience writing on the gun topic for the past ten years has shown me that a lot of people really don’t appreciate honesty. That’s probably why sites that regurgitate what The Base wants to hear are more popular and draw a wider audience.

One reason I believe that online threads tend to go south so quickly is because the people arguing in them feel strongly about an issue, but don’t understand the issue well, and either can’t make a good argument, or have never given much thought to how complicated the topic actually is. After that, it’s pretty much guaranteed to descend into madness.

Years ago I thought the pro-2A side was a lot better at this, but in the past several years, our side has gotten a lot worse and the pro-gun control side is getting better at making their arguments. Not that their arguments are entirely rooted in sound facts, but they are getting better at spinning bullshit and making it look compelling to the uninitiated. They’re demanding we up our game, and based on what I’m seeing out there, we’re not up to it. I attribute this to two things. One is we’ve brought a lot of new people into the issue who have a lot of passion, but not much in the way of experience with or knowledge of how to argue the issue. The second thing I blame is the rise of conservative media that is better at telling people what they want to hear, and isn’t much interesting in grooming effective activists.

I think people who follow an issue closely do appreciate honesty in political struggles. I know I do. But I’ve never gotten more shit as a writer than I’ve gotten by telling people things they don’t want to hear, and most of that time what they don’t seem to want to hear is, “This issue is a lot more complicated than you think it is, what you want to do isn’t actually so easy, and there are going to be unpleasant consequences you’ll need to be prepared for and have a plan for dealing with.”

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