NRA is a single issue organization. Let me repeat that, lest people in the conservative movement forget. NRA is a single issue organization. Red State lists it as selling out, and Instapundit joins in. National Review is echoing that language as well.
Campaign Finance and other such First Amendment issues are typically not the kind of things NRA involves itself in. It did in this case, because it directly affects their ability to communicate with members in order to coordinate to have an impact on the political process. That has been their soul concern.Â Their opposition to DISCLOSE was a real problem for the Democrats, so the Democrats exempted them from it. Whether that pleases the conservative movement or not, that eliminated NRA’s reason from diverting attention to their primary mission of focusing on Second Amendment issues. To further continue opposition here would move NRA into the realm of First Amendment advocacy, which is a distraction from their primary mission.
Now, that’s not to say I agree with exempting NRA from the bill in an attempt to ram this through Congress. It’s dirty. But this dirt firmly on the hands of the Democratic leadership, who did the carving. I am not agreeing with arguments, such as Erick Erickson from Red State who notes:
In fact, these days I cringe when I see good conservatives with their lifetime member sticker from the NRA on the back of their cars. I supportÂ Gun Owners of America, which is a consistent and uncompromising defender of the second amendment, not a weak little girl of an organization protecting itself while throwing everyone else under the bus.
You have an overwhelmingly Democratic Congress here that’s so afraid to be on the wrong side of the “weak little girl of an organization” that it had to find some way, any way, to get them out of the issue. How many other right leaning groups can claim this kind of a track record for their issue? I’ll tell you — none.
With NRA out of the way, the “consistent and uncompromising defenders of the Second Amendment”, GOA, will be utterly powerless to stop this bill, or to get an exemption carved out for themselves. So, by the way, will be the Brady Campaign, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, end Mayors Against Illegal Guns, who you can expect to hear much hewing and hawing from over the next few days. In fact, the Brady Campaign is already starting.
Granted, my solution to all this would be to simply not pass the DISCLOSE act entirely, and everyone could be happy, but that’s not what the Dems want. I get tired of people on the right, and particularly Republicans, thinking that NRA is a foil on their mantle to be used at will to spar with their opponents on pet issues. I get this in local politics too, with the GOP getting huffy when we won’t get in line, and get with the program. That’s not how we roll, and before people on the right criticize, I’d point to our success on the issue doing things this way. Every other right leaning group has gotten steam rolled by this Congress, then backed up over, and steam rolled again. Except NRA. They ought to be the model for issue advocacy, on things like taxes, smaller government, and sound fiscal policy. It’s a shame no one seems to be listening, or learning.
UPDATE: Over at RedState, from Moe Lane:
Yes.Â YouÂ have heard this one before: it was a popular brag among the National Right To Life folks, too.Â And look howÂ that turned out for them.
Except that the pro-life issue held up the health care monstrosity for a long time and nearly derailed it. Yes, they got steamrolled in the end, but they put up a good fight on what was the top issue for the Democratic leadership. There are plenty of Democrats who both fear and court the pro-life lobby as well, especially in Pennsylvania. Dan Onorato, who is about as left as they come, has felt the need to at least pay lip service to pro-life concerns, and Bob Casey famously ran as a pro-life Democrat, much like his father. So I wouldn’t say that the pro-life advocacy groups have fared all that poorly in the 111th Congress. I think it’s unfair to suggest their bipartisan strategy has been unsuccessful.