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The Speeches: Part 2

I have to admit, I’m pretty awful at doing series type posts.  Blogging is such a random inspiration, that I rarely can keep up passion for these kinds of multi-part posts.  I still have a history of the PA Uniform Firearms Act to complete.   But I did want to finish rounding out the candidates speeches from the NRA Celebration of American Values that I started last week.

Fred Thompson

It’s no secret that I think Fred Thompson is the GOP’s best chance for retaining control of the White House in 2008.  I don’t think any of the other candidates are a strong with the base, personable enough to sway moderate voters, and have the star power of Thompson (those things matter, like it or not).   Thompson tried hard to play up the weaknesses of the other candidates, while hardly making them look like attacks:

But it’s not because I hang out there every day.  It’s because I wanted to demonstrate something that I think is important: that I will say the same things that I’ve been saying since 1994, and that what I say in New Hampshire, I will say in Florida and all parts in between. My philosophy does not depend on my geography, and I thought it was time I laid down that marker early on.

Swipe at Rudy

I enjoy gun shows.  I think that they’re a part of Americana. I don’t know that anybody would be against gun shows.  There are various kinds of regulations and proposals that would restrict private citizens who are not professional dealers or anything like that and place rules on them as they go there.  I’ve always been against that.

Swipe at McCain.

I didn’t notice a swipe at Romney in there, but just by taking a consistent position on an issue, Fred almost does that by default.

Rudy Giuliani

Without a doubt Rudy has a longer road to travel with gun owners than any other candidate, and his speech showed it.  I thought it was pretty awkward, but I give the guy a lot of credit for showing up and trying to reach out.

Rudy stressed more what we have in common than the differences:

And I believe there are several very important things that we have in common:  a commitment to keeping America strong and secure; a commitment to preserving and protecting the Constitution of the United States the way it’s written and based on what it means, not based on somebody’s social agenda or political biases or prejudices, left, right, middle, in between — it’s about what somebody else wrote and what they meant it to mean, and a judge is an interpreter of the law, not a creator of the law; and a commitment to protecting the rights of law-abiding citizens; and a real commitment to putting criminals in prison, which is where they belong and where they can’t do damage to the rest of society.

Rudy focused a lot on his accomplishments in fighting crime, but did unwittingly bring up a sore spot within the pro-gun community:

We need to have zero tolerance for crime committed with a gun. After all, it’s people that commit crimes, not guns.  (Applause.) They must be — you remember Project Exile in the 1990s in Richmond, Virginia.  Within two years, the gun carry rate among suspects in Richmond was cut in half, and 350 armed felons were taken off the streets.  All of this helped Richmond’s murder rate fall by 62 percent.

The NRA was an early supporter of Project Exile, and the program’s success led to the establishment of the national Project Safe Neighborhood.  So that’s the kind of success that I think we should build on, by providing funding to state prosecutors so they can screen out gun cases and refer the serious ones to federal court.  The funding can be used to hire more state prosecutors and to provide uniform screening of gun cases at a local level.

I’m a big supporter of getting criminals off our streets, but Project Exile is a blunt instrument that can and has ensnared good people with gun laws most of us would agree are unconstitutional, or at the least bad policy.  I favor throwing the book at violent offenders.  Throwing the book at some guy who called the cops to his house because they found a revolver, and he had a drug conviction 20 years ago, isn’t my idea of a prudent use of limited prison space tax dollars.

We’re all familiar with Rudy’s weird phone call from his wife, which saved him from misquoting the second amendment, so I won’t go over that again.

I was happy to see Rudy was asked some tough questions:

And question number one is, while mayor, you initiated New York City’s lawsuit against American firearms manufacturers, do you still believe that the American gun companies should be held liable for the unforeseeable criminal misuse of their products?

Short Rudy Answer: 9/11 changed things.  He was trying to use everything he could to reduce crime in New York.  Rudy also fielded a question on waiting periods.  His answers were creative, but I found them unsatisfying.

Awkward speech, but I do give the guy enormous credit for having the courage to come out and talk to what he undoubtedly knew would be a hostile crowd that would ask tough questions of him.   Part 3 will cover Bill Richardson, the only Democratic Candidate to pay any attention to us.

2 Responses to “The Speeches: Part 2”

  1. straightarrow says:

    The genius of Fred’s speech was that he didn’t have to name anyone or compare himself to anyone. The audience made the automatic instantaneous comparison based on the words and actions of the people who came off unfavorably impressive.

    If a thinking person analyzes his/her reaction enough to realize the vast gulf between Fred and the others, and to realize the vast gulf between what those others now say as opposed to what they have previously said and done, they will also realize that that instantaneous comparison that took place in their minds was entirely due to the shortcomings of Giuliani and McCain. This comparison was fueled by the misdeeds and orations of themselves and not attributable to Thompson, he never mentioned them. He just stated his position, which immediately conjured up images of the deficiencies of some of the other candidates without him having to point them out.

    Foist on their own petards, so to speak.

  2. Sebastian says:

    Not to mention I think Fred will come off as a polite country gentleman, whereas Hillary will come off as… well… Hillary.

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