Early Endorsement Fisking

It looks like Gun Owners of America is throwing its weight behind Pat Toomey, even though we’re still an entire year out from the Republican Primary, and as far as I can tell, the primary ballot isn’t even really known yet:

First, Senator Arlen Specter provided the instrumental Republican
support to get anti-gun Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed by the

So did GOA A- rated Shelby.  So did GOA A rated Chambliss, and GOA A rated Isakson.  I could go on.  Point being, 75 Senators voted, including a lot of Senators highly rated by GOA voted to confirm Eric Holder.  I anxiously await GOA’s endorsement of their primary opponents this early on.

Then, he singlehandedly pushed through the massive economic bailout, the so-called stimulus bill, which contained several provisions of concern to gun owners.

This has nothing to do with guns.  Most of GOA’s arguments centered around the health care provisions of the bill, combined with their opposition HR2640, which has been documented extensively on here as total bunk.

Every time Attorney General Eric Holder opens his mouth and talks about reinstating the Clinton gun ban, gun owners know they have Arlen Specter to thank.

Along with several other highly rated GOA Senators.

Without Specter, there would be no $1 TRILLION bailout.

Really, by the time debt services and other frills of the “socialism
bill” are accounted for, the cost will be over $3 TRILLION!

I thought you were Gun Owners of America, not the National Taxpayers Union, or Americans for Prosperity.  What about the highly rated GOA representative Jason Altmire, who has an A-.  What about highly rated Congressman Dan Boren, also with an A-.  They voted for the Porkulus too.  Shall I go to the Senate?  You have to decide what your issue is.  If it’s conservatism, you should change your name and rate many of these representatives lower than they are rated.

Please help Gun Owners of America make this Specter’s last term in office by supporting Pat Toomey for Senate at: http://www.toomeyforsenate.com/contribute

What if A- rated Gerlach decides to run in the primary, because he’s apparently thinking about it.  Do you want to endorse an A vs. A- candidate?  What if Gerlach wins?

Rep. Toomey was “A” rated by Gun Owners of America during his time in Congress.

So were many others who voted the same way as Arlen Specter has.  Why single him out?  I have an answer.  GOA knows NRA is likely to stand by Specter as long as Specter keeps voting the right way on guns.  They know that will upset a lot of the faithful who hate Specter on issues that are not related to guns.  They are hoping to capitalize on that.  I can’t think of what else it could be.

Many GOA supporters were quick to lambast Bob Barr on his vote for the Lautenberg Amendment, probably won’t give Arlen Specter much credit for voting against it.  But who I am I to get in the way of a joke of a pro-gun organization trying to promote themselves.

30 thoughts on “Early Endorsement Fisking”

  1. Looking forward to seeing you in Phoenix at the blogbash since I got my registration in before bitter shut it down (have the conirmation, don’t ya know?).

    Mike Vanderboegh

  2. Dude. Stop supporting Specter til you see what he does. The way he is going he will ‘Gillebrand’ you. You don’t have to oppose him, but you don’t have to defend him either.

  3. J.T.:

    Where am I defending him? I’m pointing out facts about his record. If anyone is jumping the gun it’s GOA. I would enthusiastically dump Specter if he runs from his record.

  4. Honestly, I’m almost to the point where I’m going to stop supporting any lobbying group (NRA AND GOA) and use my meager funds on campaign contributions directly.

    At least I’ll be true to myself instead of indirectly supporting candidates I despise, and promoting this kind of bickering.

    Every time the NRA bashes the GOA, or vice versa, all it does is make the Brady scumbags dance with glee.

    You may argue about which specific target to shoot at, but keep the damn muzzles pointed downrange, will ya?

  5. You may argue about which specific target to shoot at, but keep the damn muzzles pointed downrange, will ya?

    At one time I was OK with that idea, until I realized that meant us keeping pointed downrange, and everyone else in the movement sniping at us rather than the real enemy.

  6. The more accurate way to phrase that (the way I MEANT it) was NRA supporters bashing GOA supporters, and vice versa.
    My bad.

    If you guys want to rip at each other, have at it.

    I’m done with it.

  7. The more accurate way to phrase that (the way I MEANT it) was NRA supporters bashing GOA supporters, and vice versa.

    I suppose it gets old, but I think GOA is trying to do what’s wise in playing to its base rather than what’s wise to do politically. If GOA wants to admit it’s acts based on political expedience, rather than being a single issue organization, that’s fine. But they should admit it.

    I’ve not been reluctant to be critical of NRA for similar issues, so I don’t think I’ve been inconsistent.

  8. If anyone is unsure of whom to support with your money, just use it to buy yourself a gun or some ammo. You can’t gowrong there!
    By the way, has anyone heard anything solid about this government conspiracy to someday require manufacturers to produce only self-expiring, time-limited primers to prevent us from stockpiling ammo? See http://thehighroad.us/showthread.php?t=408961&goto=nextnewest
    for details and discussion. If true, it would be worrisome. They give a website for the patent that looked authentic. Thanks for any help, guys.

  9. I think all primers are self-limiting, especially the modern non-corrosive variety. My understanding is something like 30 years. For corrosive ammo, you can apparently bury that in a field, dig it up 100 years later, it will still shoot.

    It would be tough to be able to make such a thing chemically. You can always make a primer that degrades faster, but you could make your ammo last longer by burying it in cool earth, or storing in a deep freeze.

  10. Do we know where Toomey stands on guns? There are plenty of non-gun-related reasons to favor Pat Toomey over Arlen Sphincter. If his position is as good as Specter’s, then the NRA should refuse to endorse anyone. If the NRA supports Specter because it is worried about reprisal should Specter win, then they’re not being honest in their endorsements.

  11. Voolfie:

    NRA always endorses the incumbent if he’s pro-gun, even if the challenger is pro-gun. That’s one thing they don’t really deviate on, because it’s expected and understood. Everyone in politics knows what the re-election rate is for incumbents.

  12. In this case, NRA should depart from their usual stance of endorsing the incumbent.

    1.) Specter and Toomey are equally good on gun rights up to this time.

    2.) Specter’s ploy of becoming a Democrat gives anti-gun forces much more power. The Dem’s can pretty much pass any gun control they want WITHOUT DEBATE. This point is key. In no way should the NRA reward Specter with their endorsement after what Specter pulled.

    NRA should endorse both of them or endorse neither. To endorse Specter alone is a mistake of epic proportions and will leave many NRA members wondering why NRA is throwing its support behind a senator who basically handed the farm to the anti-gun Dems.

  13. In this case, NRA should depart from their usual stance of endorsing the incumbent.

    That’s an awfully big can of worms you’re opening up there.

    As soon as you start doing that, you’re destroying the value of the endorsement for pro-gun incumbents. If pro-gun incumbents believe that NRA won’t stand by them when things are tough and the politics get complicated, they have no reason to seek it out. In those situations, is when they need that endorsement the most. If NRA only provides the endorsement when times are easy, it’s worthless to them.

    Incumbents have a 90% re-election rate. Specter, as much as I might hate him, is very likely to win as a Democrat. If he doesn’t get knocked off in the primary, I think he’s likely to win in the general election. If NRA pulls the endorsement for Specter, we’re betting the senate seat on that move. If Specter wins, that’s going to be an anti-gun seat until he retires or dies. He won’t forget where NRA was when he needed them, and there will be hell to pay for that transgression.

    I am sympathetic to the notion that empowering the Democrats with more seats is a bad thing. And I don’t like Specter’s party switch. But I want to keep Specter in the fold, and to do that, I have to do some things I’m not going to be proud of, like helping him out with volunteers. I’d rather Toomey have to work extra hard on gun issues to overcome Specter’s endorsement than not.

    Toomey will know about the policy ahead of time, and it’s well understood in Washington why interest groups like NRA stick with incumbents. If Toomey wins, as I will hope he does, I expect NRA will welcome him, and Toomey will then enjoy the benefits of the same policy, assuming he keeps his grade up, which I suspect he will.

  14. “If anyone is unsure of whom to support with your money, just use it to buy yourself a gun or some ammo. You can’t gowrong there!”

    That is the best idea I’ve heard yet :)

  15. Sebastian ,

    I see your points, but I still have to disagree. If NRA endorses both or neither, how is that in any way a slap in the face to Specter over gun rights.

    All NRA would be saying is that in this case, both candidates are equally good(or bad) on gun rights. If Specter continues to be good on gun rights, NRA support can continue in the future.

    But, NRA should not support Specter alone because this will give tacit support to Specter’s maneuver that has the great potential to harm gun rights for some time to come.

    In any event, this is a special case. NRA support in other cases for pro-gun incumbents can continue as usual.

  16. An endorsement of both is the same as an endorsement of neither, in the sense that if you endorse both it doesn’t really mean anything.

    The reason it’s a slap in the face to Specter is the reason politicians want the endorsement is because it helps them get elected, and stay elected. Unless they have something specific they can point to Specter on and say “Hey, Arlen, you voted against us on this issue, and it’s important to our members.” you’re slapping him in the face if he supports you and you abandon him when he’s going to be in a tough election spot. Especially if you do it because you liked the Republican more.

    It’s the NRA’s willingness to work with politicians, regardless of party, that we’re not getting our asses handed to us on a silver platter right now.

  17. “It’s the NRA’s willingness to work with politicians, regardless of party, that we’re not getting our asses handed to us on a silver platter right now.”

    I don’t disagree with this at all, but again this is a special case.

    NRA should endorse the candidate that will be best overall for gun rights. In this case, Toomey is the man.

    If Toomey is elected, it would most likely remove the Democrats from the 60 senator majority that they can now use to force any gun control law they want onto the country.

    In my opinion, Specter lost his right to an endorsement when he turned his back on the people who put him into office. The whole issue turns on the situation that Specter put the county into by switching and handing the Democrats a filibuster proof majority at this dangerous point in hisotry.

    If Specter had done this at another time and in a way that did not change the balance of power, I would agree with you about the NRA’s endorsement. But Specter’s switch at this time is a slap in the face to gun owners and I see no reason that the NRA should endorse and support this man when he cares so little about the gun owners and people of this country.

  18. Toomey has an A rating from the National Rifle Association, too, for the record. Why is Toomey bad?

  19. He’s not bad, Micro. If you read the post fully, you’ll see that this isn’t about Toomey’s grade with any organization. It’s about the fact that we’re more than a year out from the primary season, and they have not even looked at the other likely candidates, some of whom have equally good grades and may even be more electable. In fact, there’s at least one other candidate who, to the best of my knowledge, they didn’t even send a questionnaire to in order to grade.

    The endorsement was issued for the sake of insulting Specter and likely NRA, not out of a true consideration for the race.

  20. I think you’re missing the big point, Sebastian. While I agree that GOA overstate their case, the fact is that, since they aren’t bound by the NRA’s policy on incumbents, it makes sense for them, and any other gun owner not bound personally by the policy, to support Toomey. Reasons:

    1. Specter has in the past supported some gun control–specifically the AWB in 1994.

    2. His good record of the past few years only means that he’s beaten the NRA’s statute of limitations. It isn’t particularly surprising that a Republican senator in a “purple” pro-gun state would vote pro-gun, particularly considering that neither Bush nor Obama has put any pressure in an anti-gun direction (so far). The fact remains that when an anti-gun president (Clinton) did pressure him, he folded.

    3. While he may very well vote pro-gun until the 2010 election, it is ridiculous to think he’ll vote that way afterward. He is unlikely to run again in 2016, and will feel free to go hard left on this issue (having already gone hard left on everything else).

    4. His party switching indicates that he is highly untrustworthy.

    So what it all boils down to is: any rational gun owner not bound by a pro-incumbent policy would oppose Specter’s reelection. I understand the reasons for the NRA’s policy, but why should the GOA be bound by it?

  21. Okay so Arlen Specter, whom many considered to be RINO, switched parties. This really doesn’t affect whether I vote for him or not. I don’t consider it jumping ship so much as I look at it as being honest about which party aligns with his beliefs better. I don’t see this as giving the Democrats an unbeatable majority since he tends to not vote the way his party likes, but rather as he believes his constituents want him to vote.

  22. It’s more complex than that, Kathy. Due to Senate rules, Specter’s switch means alot more than just switching parties, even if he doesn’t change the way he votes one jot.

    With a filibuster proof majority, the Democrats can quash debate on a bill up for consideration and force a vote on something. What this means is that the Republicans will have no effective way to counter anything the Democrats try to pass into law.

    The filibuster allowed them to keep bills in debate and slow down or even stop passage of laws that the Republicans find objectionable.

    Of course Specter knew this when he announced he was going to switch parties. He accepted Republican money all these years and now he is betraying the people who put him in office. If he had one iota of honesty, he would resign as a Republican and run again as a Democrat. The way he is now handling this, he hands the keys to the hen house to the wolves of the Democratic party.

  23. A filibuster isn’t something done through the party system, it’s done through 60 senators agreeing to end cloture. Specter wasn’t afraid to piss off the Republican Party, I don’t see why he’d be any more afraid of pissing off the Democratic Party. As long as Specter votes the same way, he’s free to join a Republican lead filibuster if he wants to. In fact, Specter’s disappearance from the judiciary committee could actually be useful with the retirement of Souter, because we won’t have to worry about specter joining the Democrats on cloture.

  24. “A filibuster isn’t something done through the party system, it’s done through 60 senators agreeing to end cloture.”

    That’s technically true, but you know and I know that the party leaders decide the whole thing even before any agreement to end cloture. Specter being in the D camp, his agreement to go along with the Dems. will be assumed unless Specter speaks out. I seriously doubt that will happen that much

    “In fact, Specter’s disappearance from the judiciary committee could actually be useful with the retirement of Souter, because we won’t have to worry about specter joining the Democrats on cloture”

    Good point. But with the Dem’s 11 votes to 8 Republican votes on the committee will that really make much of a difference?

    Oh well, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

  25. It’s the committee rules where the advantage comes in. See here:

    The Chairman shall entertain a non-debatable motion to bring a matter before the Committee to a vote. If there is objection to bring the matter to a vote without further debate, a roll call vote of the Committee shall be taken, and debate shall be terminated if the motion to bring the matter to a vote without further debate passes with ten votes in the affirmative, one of which must be cast by the minority.

    This means if the Republicans can keep their shit together, and there’s a better chance of that without Specter, that they have a real chance of holding up a nominee and forcing Obama to withdraw it. The rest of the guys on that committee are pretty solid conservatives. As long as Specter was the ranking member, you could generally count on him to be the one vote they need from the minority party to hold a committee vote, which if it goes along party lines, wins.

  26. I have a question:

    The NRA and the GOA both give Toomey an A rating (though the GOA’s definition of an A rating is completely different)

    Yet the NRA gives Specter an A rating, and GOA gives him a D-. How come?

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