NRA Screwed Up In Endorsing Bush

There, I said it.  Happy now?  Bush was always a lesser of two evils choice.  I think NRA needs to reconsider whether endorsing a lesser of two evils candidate is really worthwhile.  If Bush is the bar for getting an endorsement, what incentive do other candidate have to work hard for it?  The bar for 2008 must be set higher than it was in 2000 and 2004.  In other words, don’t even think about endorsing Guiliani or Romney.  Even McCain I would be reluctant to endorse at this point.

This part would normally be where I should rant on about how the NRA endorsement system is a total cluster fuck, how NRA doesn’t represent the interest of gun owners, and how Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre are incompetent boobs and have hurt the cause by leading all us useful idiots down this dank dark path, and collecting luxuriant salaries while doing that.  Apparently that’s the proper way to disagree with NRA.  I must have not gotten the memo.

But you know I’m not going to do that, because I think most of their critics in the same place would also make mistakes; probably a lot more than these guys do.  There’s no magic formula for winning in politics.   Let me say that again so it sinks in: There is no magic formula for winning at politics.   People saying they have one (like, if you just never compromise, if you just scream “No!”, you’ll win!) are selling snake oil.

The endorsement system is a political tool.  I don’t have to condemn NRA for their endorsement of Bush, because the consequences of that endorsement are built into the system; Bush has lowed the bar of NRA’s endorsement and reduced its value.   Real friends won’t do that to someone who helped get them elected, but while Bush is loyal to his personal friends to a fault, his loyalty to his political constituencies has left a lot to be desired.  I’m not sure there’s any constituency left in the Republican Party has hasn’t punched in the face by Bush.

NRA needs to be more careful in its 2008 endorsements.  These things do matter, and we’re seeing the result of putting someone in the White House who doesn’t seem to be all that loyal to the people who helped put him there.

12 Responses to “NRA Screwed Up In Endorsing Bush”

  1. Rustmeister says:

    I’d bet one reason for the endorsement was the perceived “veteran factor”.

    Lots of people thought Kerry (spit) would draw vets his way, and one way to counteract it would be for the NRA to give the endorsement to Bush.

    Same for Gore, he almost rode the Clinton wave into the White House.

    Gun owners are still better off with Bush over either of those, although now is the time to send a message to the Republicans that we’re not putting up with this crap any more.

  2. Ian Argent says:

    My only solace on this so far has been the knowledge that Kerry’s likely SCOTUS picks would have made Heller a foregone conclusion.

    I gotta wonder what changed between Emerson and Heller in the DOJ, thouhg… Didn’t DOJ file a brief in favor of Emerson?

  3. Sebastian says:

    I agree with you Rusty. The bar has to be high this year. Ian also makes a good point.

  4. straightarrow says:

    Everything you said in relation to Bush’s flaws in regards to his loyalty to his constituency can be said truthfully about the NRA. Surely you see that. Unless your emotional need to “belong” outweighs you judgment it can’t be any other way.

    Having said that, NRA didn’t have any better options if they were going to endorse anybody in 04 and 00. There only other option would have been to have not endorsed anyone and explained on a case by case basis why they did not.

    The voters were in the same boat, there really was no one running who was acceptable. Even I will give the NRA a pass on this one.
    There just were no good options. The only honest option would have been to state why in each case they could not have endorsed each of the candidates. However, that assumes they would have been able to see into the future. They took a gamble that one candidate would not alienate his party’s conservative constitutional outlook and endanger his party’s political future. They were wrong, but it was a good gamble, considering the only options available.

    I can’t fault them for doing the best they could. Unlike some others episode where I have issues with them.

    The bar needs to be higher as you just said, but when all your options are moral midgets, you must eventually end up with someone who has to walk under it. This was out of their control. There was just no one on the scene that could get over the bar they did set.

    This time around there are only two who can. One of which is unacceptable (my opinion) due to his stated policy of placing us at greater risk from international terrorism. Of course, that presupposes that it will matter because our domestic enemies, including our president, haven’t already destroyed us.

  5. sanchez "Jack" says:

    When I saw NRA and the words “Endorsing” along with “Bush” first thing to pop into my mind was “Which one?” Eh. Now that I know I’ll just say “Couldn’t vote at the time.”

  6. Sailorcurt says:

    I, of course, only speak for myself but yes, I’m happy about your reaction to this particular incident. I hope that you will more readily admit when the NRA makes mistakes in the future.

    I don’t have to believe that Mr. LaPierre and Mr. Cox are “incompetent boobs” to hold them accountable for actions, statements or positions which I believe are mistakes…and neither do you.

    I don’t know whether the NRA’s endorsement system is a “cluster-fuck” because they keep their methods and criteria secret. Personally I believe that this is because they play political games with the endorsements more than they would like to admit…but I’ll never really know because they aren’t telling. Even though it is relatively rare, as long as they continue to endorse candidates whose records do not warrant it, or fail to endorse candidates whose records DO warrant it…and fail to justify those decisions to their membership…I will continue to view their endorsements as suspect and untrustworthy.

    I’m not arrogant enough to think that you put any stock in my approval or disapproval, but, for what it’s worth, I’m glad to see you hold the NRA accountable for this.

    No organization is beyond reproach and when the organization’s members refuse to hold them accountable for their mistakes, what incentive is there for them to learn from those mistakes and correct their actions? The only way we will ever make the NRA better is to support them generally, but clearly stand on our principles and let them know very clearly when they err.

    The NRA leadership are not bad people, they are not evil people, they are not uncaring people…but they are people, and are members of a bureaucracy. As such, they are just as capable of falling into the traps of bureaucracy as anyone. They are just as susceptible to groupthink, to misplaced priorities, to a sense of entitlement or superiority as members of any bureaucratic organization.

    Just as the founders built in (virtually abandoned at this point) checks and balances to help counteract those forces in our government, we need to stay engaged, active and vocal in keeping OUR pet bureaucracy in line. If we fail in that, then we have no one to blame but ourselves when the bureaucracy no longer supports the goals of its constituents, but exists only for the sake if itself.

    Just as I criticize you when I think you’re wrong, yet still respect you greatly, we CAN be critical of the NRA and still respect both the organization and the individuals who make up its leadership.

    Just as failing to discipline our children is doing them, ourselves and society in general a disservice: so, failing to justly chastise those who ostensibly represent us, is doing the same disservice to the same victims and for the same reasons.

    Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox. Sorry for the dissertation. And thank you for your entertaining of criticism without rancor. That in and of itself speaks volumes to your character.

  7. Sebastian says:


    I hope you don’t think my snark there was aimed at you. It was not. It’s based on attitudes I see out there. I’m not aiming at at any one person.

  8. Ian Argent says:

    Another good question would be – how’s their track record overall for endorsements? If this is the first time they stepped on their dick, it’s one thing. If they’ve got tread marks, it’s another…

  9. Sebastian says:

    It’s hard to say, and would be a hard thing to measure.

  10. Ian Argent says:

    Well, for legislators, we can see who got an endorsement and then failed to get it in the next election…

  11. Sailorcurt says:

    No worries, I didn’t take it personally either way…as I hope you haven’t taken any of my remarks personally.