The Washington Post is busy helping the antis drive the perception that gun control won them Virginia, or at the least didn’t hurt them. In politics, perception is just as important as reality, so as long as they can make the powers that be believe what they say is true, it doesn’t honestly matter if it’s not. Did Al Gore really lose over his position on gun control? That’s the perception. It doesn’t matter if it was true or not. I think often time our side sees the lie and assumes everyone else will see it too. Here’s the spin the Post is offering:
The National Rifle Association ran commercials against Herring, but its messages were directed at voters who our own polling showed were never accessible to Herring. The NRA avoided the largest concentrations of swing voters in the Northern Virginia, Norfolk and Richmond markets. That is not a recipe for growth or success.
What they are arguing, essentially, is that the gun vote are already baked into the GOP numbers. In other words, the Democrat has nothing to fear on gun rights, because those votes were never really up for grabs anyway. As someone who has pulled the D lever before, in order to punish the GOP for their stances on certain issues, I can at least personally say that’s not true for me. I might be willing to vote for a pro-gun Democrat against Corbett, who seems to be just about as good at raising my taxes as Ed Rendell was. But the gun issue will likely keep me in Corbett’s corner in 2014.
The other side is now driving the perception that gun control is a winning issue for Democrats, whereas up until very recently, it was seen as a toxic issue. This is not a good place to be in, if they are successful. We will lose our rights if we remain here, because you can’t count on one party to control everything all of the time, and it will only be a matter of time before the GOP realizes they can, once again, get away with just not being as bad as the other guy. The Democrats have to be punished severely in 2014 for their stance in favor of gun control. This should lock them out of certain states and regions.
Democratic Senate leaders are doing their level best at making the people lobbying for Brady feel better about the current state of things, by telling them that the issue isn’t dead. It’s just a matter of getting the House to pass it first.
“I believe if the bill were taken up in the House that it would pass. And when it passes the House, some senators … would no longer have the excuse, ‘It’s no use my risking my political career because it’s not going anyplace in the House,’” Pelosi said. “Let’s turn that around, pass it in the House and just put the pressure on to take up the bill. Why not?”
This is just posturing for the base ahead of the 2014 election. Holding out the possibility that a fresh tragedy can always alter our position relative to our opponents, I doubt there is going to be much enthusiasm to take up the issue again in the Senate, and the House isn’t likely to bother with it, but it does have an uncomfortable number of co-sponsors.
The Thompson-King bill has 185 co-sponsors, including three Republicans, but Pelosi said there are “at least 30 more” House lawmakers who would support the measure if it came up for a vote.
BTW, the two Republicans who signed onto Thompson-King, the House version of the Manchin-Toomey senate bill, are my Rep, Mike Fitzpatrick, and PA-7′s rep Pat Meehan. Both had NRA endorsements. We’ll see whether or not they keep them.
In the district where voters just sent Sen. John Morse home for not only pulling gun control to the floor, but also complaining to the media that having his constituents call his office was toxic to the process of shoving legislation down their throats, the Democrats have a new candidate who, it would appear, may have similar views on how to treat those with whom he disagrees. Oh, and it is a man who was once employed by Bloomberg to push gun control – the other big argument against Morse’s continued tenure.
So when reader Adam Z sent me this article today about Harry Reid promising Moms Demand Action a vote on a gun control bill in 2014 before the midterm election, I started to wonder if it’s actually not a strategy to keep control of the Senate.
Here me out as I kind of walk through a possible strategy. It could be simply crazy talk or crazy like a fox. You decide.
For those of you who don’t have the list memorized, here are the red states with Democrats facing re-election or with an open seat currently held by Democrats in 2014: Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Now, most people would think that after you already failed to garner enough votes right after Newtown, you definitely don’t want to force another vote that fires up the Second Amendment vote in an election year in these key states.
But, The Nation assumes way too much about the promise with its vague promise of timing.
Reid’s prediction now of a pre-midterm election vote on gun control is crucial, because it means senators who oppose background checks will have to declare their opposition in the heat of a campaign cycle.
They seem to assume that such a vote would happen when Democrats could be challenged on the issue. Not likely. Reid could be promising a vote after primary season and before the general election. By doing that, he can keep challenges from the left at bay, and he knows that even lefty voters who support gun control aren’t going to run into the arms of Republicans over it. Those same liberal voters will likely be motivated to turn out on other issues – preserving Obamacare or whatever the topic of the day is at the time. They may have an opinion on guns, but they don’t vote guns. Reid knows this.
In the meantime, by holding a vote closer to a general election, Reid now gives the Democrats cover to run on a platform of being a strong pro-gun vote. They can say that their presence in the Senate keeps the crazy wing of the party from running wild on gun control. There’s an element of truth in it. Gun owners would just have to decide if they trusted that specific candidate enough not to stray once re-elected, and lower information gun voters may not think far ahead when voting.
A gun control vote fight post-primary and pre-general would also mean that NRA’s human resources – staff and volunteers – will be tied up with drumming up opposition to the vote instead of focusing on the early stages of the general election. It means that endorsements to signal where volunteers should help out will likely be held until the last minute after the vote. It means less time to be on the air with commercials and less time to buy other advertisements and do mailings. Don’t even get me started on the magazine publishing deadline. That will be a nightmare in itself.
So, while a 2014 pre-election vote may get the pro-gun voters energized, Reid may be calculating that it may not hurt the Senate Democratic candidates in those key states. So while the left may be cheering this news, it may not be nearly as exciting for them as they hope it is.
It looks like the freshest candidate in Colorado’s gubernatorial race is a big cycling enthusiast who hops in his Prius when he has to drive somewhere and is comfortable showing off in a somewhat slim-fitting pink polo.
Oh, and he’s a pro-gun guy.
As Jim Geraghty notes, another big plus to Brophy is that he’s not Tom Tancredo. I also appreciate his pitch for issues beyond the gun issue:
“Instead of limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines, we will work to increase the capacity of our highways,” Brophy said. “We will increase the number of charter schools and magnet schools.”
Even if the gun control law is a big reason why he’s running for governor, it’s good that he has a message of positive changes he wants to make, too.
According to this Denver Post article, the first of four attempted recalls targeting Democrats who voted for the gun control bills has failed. However, I would note that it really only failed on paper at the moment because there are some key points that look good for pro-gun advocates if they can get enough people motivated to work their butts off in 2014.
From the article, the requirements are that recall organizers must obtain signatures from enough voters to represent 25 percent of the votes cast for all parties in the last election in that district. The recall organizers who claimed that they had no professional help, no funding, and a completely grassroots local effort did manage to get about 20 percent of voters from the district to sign on and say they are so pissed off at him that they don’t even want the guy to finish his term. That is not a good sign for the incumbent to have that many people that pissed off so early.
There are still three more recall efforts to go in Colorado, so we’ll see how they go.
But this shows that kind of showing in a relatively unorganized recall effort shows that Colorado gun owners can turn this situation around if they get off their butts. There are no excuses for Centennial State gun guys and gals next year.
If you guessed it was the Brady Campaign turning into a campaign operation, give yourself a pat on the back and maybe a Snickers bar for good measure.
On the senators who voted against the bill, Brady Campaign President Dan Gross told PI: “We’re watching them and we’re holding them accountable.” He added, “We’re flooding calls from the American public into their offices.” Brady said the group would look at using its PAC against members of Congress who voted against yesterday’s pro-gun-control amendment. “We are definitely going to be looking at what we can do on an electoral level,” Gross said.
Well, Dan, let’s help you look at what you can do on an electoral level based on the most recent data you filed with the .gov.
Even after Newtown and knowing they would likely need to launch an electoral fight, the Brady Campaign raised a big fat nothing for their PAC in all of 2012. Either Dan Gross is lying to the media about his intentions or he’s grossly incompetent in understanding that their current cash on hand in the PAC isn’t even enough to make one maxed out donation and pay all of the fees they appear to have in maintaining the account annually.
Now, I realize that they may be able to raise money for the PAC this year, so we’ll keep an eye on it. Regardless, I feel like Politico left out key context to the story of their potential involvement by deliberately ignoring the fact that they have raised less than $37k since 2006 (when Paul Helmke took over) and raised absolutely no PAC dollars under the current leadership.
After a shared bottle of sparkling wine, a nice dinner of salmon with lime butter, and another shared bottle of white wine just for giggles, I’m ready to look at the votes in the roll call records. I said earlier that I found the 6 vote disparity on the gun ban and the magazine ban to be the most interesting. Those had pretty much the same universal opposition on the ground, so why would they not have nearly the same vote tallies?
These Senators voted against the gun ban, but voted to ban the magazines that are commonly used with those guns and so many more models:
Mike Bennet (D-CO)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Angus King (I-ME)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Johnson has already announced his retirement, so this was a giant “screw you” to South Dakota gun owners. In my opinion, South Dakota gun owners need to punish his party for his vote severely in 2014. I realize that the party could put up a person with a pretty pro-gun record. But, unless the Republicans put up a nominee with an anti-gun record, I would still suggest punishing the party in order to remind them not to screw with the gun vote. In fact, I would suggest that if the Dems do put up a pro-gun candidate, gun owners should go out of the their way to contact that person and the local party officials to let them know that you’re really sorry, but you can’t support their guy/gal after the betrayal by Johnson. Ruin his political brand and the association with gun control, even if he never plans on running again. It will show that not only will you punish those who vote against your rights, you’ll hold the state party accountable for the votes.
In Colorado, Bennett isn’t up until 2016. However, the degree to which gun owners have been screwed should motivate them to stay active until then. It would be quite nice to send him back home. His 2010 election was less than a 2 point race, and he couldn’t break 50% as the winner. However, the his colleague Mark Udall is up first in 2014. Unfortunately, he had much bigger numbers on the board during his last race, winning a 10 point victory. It’s clear that one goal of passing a magazine ban in Colorado was to give political cover to both of the senators to vote for federal bans. They simply proved what we warned gun owners about – they’ll tell you they are only after the magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, then they’ll say 10 rounds, and next it will be 7 before it drops again. So, Colorado gun owners, get to work to send a message to Udall. If you can do it through a direct election loss, awesome. If not, focus your efforts on the state-level Democrats you can target.
For New Mexico gun owners, you have your own Udall on the ballot in 2014. Tom Udall is up, but I’m not sure how likely he is to beat. I don’t really know what to suggest to local gun owners there based on the 2008 results. On one hand, there’s a much better chance of sending him packing from DC in an off-year. On the other, he won by nearly 23 points. That was a better performance than Obama in the same year. Local folks are free to give their thoughts on any potential electoral punishment on that front. Unfortunately, his colleague, Heinrich was just elected and won’t be up again until 2018.
King from Maine isn’t up until 2018, so I’m not sure there’s much that can be done on that front for the state’s gun owners. I guess the best advice would be to start “investing” in pro-gun potential challengers. Give money when you can and help out with elections between now and then. The best long-term strategy in that situation is to make sure there are plenty of viable pro-2A candidates to choose from by the time it someone needs to declare. Not even Susan Collins felt the need to vote for a ban, and she’s actually on the ballot in a blue state in the next election.
The power of gun owners comes in our willingness to put boots on the ground. 2014 is not the year to sit out of the game. The politicians who have voted for this mess or promoted it must be ousted from office. If we can’t beat Mike Bloomberg’s wealth, then we need to beat him where it counts in turning out votes.
NSSF released three commercials they produced with Colt, Stag Arms, & Mossberg that focus on the jobs angle of the gun debate. They are nearly identical, but here’s the Colt version which I liked best for the blue dome visual:
I’m almost ashamed to admit that as often as I drove by that blue dome when I was just getting involved with Second Amendment activism, I had no idea it was associated with Colt.
While gun control group leaders who react very emotionally to the debate may find this angle absurd, it’s really not. When MAIG polled Pennsylvania districts with Republicans they plan to attack (Reps. Fitzpatrick, Meehan, and Gerlach), they didn’t jump right into the gun issue. Instead, they asked “Which of the following issues will be most important to your vote for Congress inthe next election [first and second choice selected]?” Given the option to list two answers, not just one, the top issue was by far the economy. Nearly 70% of respondents (69% to be precise) said it was the big issue heading into 2014′s races. Where did gun control fall? It depends. When they worded it as “fixing gun laws,” it was at the very bottom with 3% – a particularly notable number since that’s a solid 2 percentage points below the poll’s margin of error. When they worded gun control as “gun violence prevention,” the number of people who say they’ll consider it in 2014 skyrocket to a whooping 8%, just two spots higher than “not sure” of any issue they’ll care about in the election. In other words, people care about jobs, they don’t care about gun control.
They are encouraging people to call Congress, so feel free to call…
Bloomberg is going to spend far more money than the gun industry and the pro-Second Amendment grassroots could ever spend, so it’s important we out-organize them. But still, it’s nice to see attempts to get more ads out there on our side that address serious issues voters care about.