PA Gun Owners to Bloomberg: Sit on This and Spin!

Bloomberg’s races have been swept across the board in our favor, and I couldn’t be more pleased. In the district I grew up in, PA-07, Pat Meehan cruised to a very comfortable victory over Bryan Lentz, who actively pushed the gun control agenda. Obviously Tom Corbett creamed Onorato, Dan Onorato, who joined Lentz in pushing a gun control agenda. In the 8th District, we’re finally rid of Patrick “I want to ban your M1” Murphy. He’s replaced with Mike Fitzpatrick, who had a pro-gun voting record in Congress in his single term (2004-2006), and carried an NRA endorsement in 2006 and this election. Pat Toomey managed to squeak by Mr. Gun Control himself, Joe Sestak, despite his foo-foo dog. In the race of a  MAIG Mayor against incumbent Republican Congressman Charlie Dent, Dent beat Callahan roundly. NRA went out in a big way to help Dent, and I’m glad to see it paid off.

Mike Bloomberg floated 500,000 to CeaseFire PA to run anti-gun ads against pro-gun Republicans this election cycle, in the very media market that pro-gun Republicans won big. It did not help the Democrats. Pennsylvania gun owners want you to go home, Mayor Mike. That’s the message. In my local races, we won them all. The only exception being a local state rep race, Rob Ciervo, who’s is so close right now it’s going to lawyers and will end up in a fight over absentee ballots, an issue that’s current very much in contention in Bucks County. I sincerely hope Rob can pull it out still. Rob’s district is a potential pickup for us, and believing our other seats were largely safe, I put as much as I could into that race. Ciervo is a lesson that every vote counts. This could literally come down to a few votes when all is said and done.

If the lesson isn’t that gun control can hurt you, it is at the very least that it can’t save you. I believe Mayor Mike won’t give up, but perhaps he can find more fruitful places to spend his money than Pennsylvania. We’re coming for New York’s gun laws, Mayor Mike. For gun control advocates, this isn’t an offensive action anymor. You better start thinking about a strict defensive policy after this shellacking you’ve been handed in the Keystone State. Gun rights is advancing on all fronts. Whatever victories you might claim now will be little comfort. You’re the struggling redoubt of a dying movement. Best to start acting accordingly.

Fun Times at the Polls

I can honestly say that I have never had more fun volunteering for a campaign before today.  Seriously, this has been an absolute blast.  I know, that it doesn’t sound like most people’s idea of a good time to stand outside in the cold talking to strangers.  But, you really have good company with volunteers from both sides.  (I’m taking a quick break to meet Sebastian back here at home so we can go back to my poll. He was relieved from his in Upper Bucks.)

Take Paul, a Democratic State Committeeman, gun owner, never an NRA member, and now excited to learn about all the Democrats who were endorsed this year.  He never had any idea that they endorsed Democrats because, as he’ll concede, most of them around here aren’t too big on the Second Amendment.  And, he bought us coffee.  He’s a really nice guy, and funny, too.

Or Joan, a Democratic (local) Committeewoman who is a riot when you get her going.  We had more fun watching an old woman try more than a dozen times to park her car.  (Once involved rolling over the barrier, and a few attempts made us go move our cars to the far side of the parking lot.)  Only someone who has been out there as long as you have can truly appreciate the half hour show that was this woman parking.

Then there’s Brooke, the independent volunteer for our local state rep.  She’s witty and gets along with everyone.  And, she’s a fan of the shoes as much as I am.  Bonding over shoes, coffee, and hot candidates.  Election Day brings us all together.

Or Francis, who we’re calling Walter for the day (inside joke), who is the most mature 12-year-old I think I have ever met.  And adorable.  And for some reason, people think he’s my son.  Nevermind that it would mean I was knocked up at 17.  But, if I was knocked up at 17, I’d be lucky to have a kid like him.  He’s an inspiration, and I’m seriously happy he’s on our side.

Then there’s Ralph.  There’s not a person in a 20-mile radius who doesn’t know Ralph, or so it would seem.  He’s a GOP committeeman, union guy, and all-round ham.  We’ve talked dogs, guns, dead deer, sex, booze, drugs, and every other topic under the sun today.

Every once of us, regardless of affiliation, has said that we’ve had the best polling location of them all.  With the exception of the Democrat who told Francis/Walter that all Republicans should drop dead, even the voters have been nice to both sides.  (All of us – on both sides – agreed that the Dem who told that to a child was beyond inappropriate.  I felt bad for the Democratic volunteers who knew that reflected poorly on their party, and they had been great to Francis all day.)  Brooke isn’t even political, but she’s said she’ll do this again in 2012 because she’s had such a good time.  I can’t wait to see most of these people tonight at the watch party.  Sure, we’re cold, we’re sunburned, and we’re overly caffeinated, but we’re in this together.

For those of you in Pennsylvania, you’ve got 2 and a half hours left to go vote.  Do it.  And be nice to the volunteers outside.

How to Fix the Financial Crisis

If I were President, and someone were giving me this advice, I’d be extremely wary. Not because I think it’s wrong, but because I don’t really understand it. It sounds great. It sounds like a solution. But do I really understand enough to know what the unintended consequences could be, what the risks are? Probably not. I’d have to seek conflicting opinions, many of which are going to tell me this is a horrible idea, and will backfire spectacularly. Then you have the unresolved issue of what irrational people are going to do when they hear of this plan? Will there be a panic?

I’m pretty sure Barry Obama doesn’t know much more about this stuff than most of us do. In fact, I’d wager he knows less. That’s what scares me. I’m pretty sure the vast majority of Congress also does not know any more than any of us. You have to rely on the experts. But who are the experts? And what if they disagree?

I’ll probably never understand why anyone would want to be President during a financial crisis. I think Obama is probably arrogant enough to think he clearly knew how to handle it. My job is deciphering complex technical systems for a living, and finance is one of those things that makes my brain hurt. I have almost no understanding of it, even when people try to explain it to me. Barry Obama’s best gig to date is reading speeches from a teleprompter. Please tell me we’re not totally screwed?

Hat Tip to Instapundit

The Races We’re Watching

As Sebastian mentioned earlier, we’re out working polls right now. He’s in the northern part of the county helping out, and I’m at a poll near our home working for our Congressional candidate. I’ll try to be in and out today if there are any break times. Check in on Twitter to @bitterb for my observations, and maybe for @SebastianSH if anything goes on up near him.

But, for those of you not following along that closely, here’s what’s at stake and why we give a damn:

  • Governor – We can pick up the battle for Castle Doctrine again next year, and if we do, we’ve got one candidate in favor & one candidate flat out opposed to any expansion of the right to defend your life in and outside of your home.  Pretty damn extreme if you ask me.
  • State House – The Democrats currently lead the House 104-99.  The Speaker & Majority Leader have been Second Amendment allies, but the committees have been the source of many problems and those are led by many anti-gun Democrats.  Add in the big unknown of who will lead the House when the Speaker retires and the Majority Leader in jeopardy, and it’s a huge risk for gun owners.  Oh yeah, and redistricting.  We’re slated to lose a congressional seat, and the House and Senate will re-draw all of the districts in the state.  Big freakin’ deal.
  • US Senate – Hello filibuster.  Hello Supreme Court nominees.  Hello pretentious, annoying as shit, I know better than you liberal.  Yeah, there’s a lot on the line in this race.  Really.  I won’t every acknowledge the Senator if we lose this one.
  • Congress – It’s a chance to help really end Nancy Pelosi’s career in leadership.  It’s also a chance to put a stake in the political heart of one of her favored minions.

So, here are the candidates and why their races matter – endorsees in red:

Governor: Tom Corbett vs. Dan Onorato – We’re not really concerned about this race.  Depending on who you ask, Onorato is down 10-15 points at this stage in the game.  Not even President Clinton can turn out a large crowd to a rally for him.  When a poll had him down only 7 points, he claimed that he had momentum on his side.  Sure, that’s what we call it.

State House: If we can flip 3 seats, we can change up the leadership & committee chairs. It’s not a guarantee for change we need, but it’s a safer bet than leaving it in current hands. So, here are the main races we’re watching:

  • Frank Farry vs. John Toth (142) – It’s our local race.  One candidate is a very angry-looking man and the other is a hot firefighter.  Okay, it’s about more than that, but that does matter when it comes to the campaign mailers. :)  Our guy is A rated, and he’s made it very clear that we know he’s willing to listen to gun owners.  The other one is making some bizarre claims (“I’m an independent! I just happened to have been head of a political party, but I promise I don’t really care about them that much!”) and only got a C- on the NRA questionnaire.  Holding this seat is really just keeping the status quo.
  • Rob Ciervo vs. Steve Santa-ohhellIcan’tspellhislongname (31) – This is a nearly local race, and one we’ve been volunteering for lately.  This will be one seat toward flipping the House, and an important one to flip for gun owners.  There’s a story to tell about this race and how we can prove that you really make a difference, but we’ll wait to see if we were completely successful before telling it.  Also, Ciervo is actually better looking than his photos, and I’m all for more attractive men on PCN when I need to tune in for House votes.
  • Marguerite Quinn vs. Kathy McQuarrie (143) – Rep. Quinn stood by us on all the votes this year, and she worked hard to raise her grade for sportsmen in area. For that, she deserves our support. This will again be about maintaing the seats we need, but she’s a good representative to have in office. We don’t really know if this is a serious race or not since it’s hard to judge with the district being pretty far out of our normal travel area, but it’s not one we can afford to risk.
  • Todd Stephens vs. Rick Taylor (151) – This is another race that could flip control of the House.  Stephens has the NRA endorsement, and Taylor is a D rated incumbent.  This would be seat number 2 of 3 we need to flip.  That’s not too shabby considering these are only races in Southeast Pennsylvania.  If we pick up any others around the state, we’re golden.  To make things even more exciting, this is a race with a former incumbent running, and he only lost in 2008 by about 400 votes.

State Senate: Chuck McIllhinney vs. Cynthia Philo (10) – Sadly, this is the only Senate race in Bucks County with an NRA endorsed candidate.  :( But, he’s with us on everything, and he even invests in targets that he donates to the local ranges.  Is is a ploy for name recognition?  Of course, but it’s still a great courtesy that benefits our community.  Couple that with the votes, and I’m a big fan.  The Senate isn’t in play, but Sen. McIllhinney is worth recognizing.

Congress: We have the most number of competitive Congressional races in the country. We’re not watching them all as closely, but here are some highlights:

  • Mike Fitzpatrick vs. Patrick Pelosi Murphy (PA-8) – Murphy tried to pretend he was pro-gun, but he has signed onto gun bans, taken money from the Brady Campaign, and even refused to take an individual view of the Second Amendment in the Heller case. We need to send him home. (Actually, he probably won’t return to the district. He’s been a very good fundraiser for bringing in money outside of the district, so I assume he’ll relocate to DC if he loses & become part of the professional political class.)
  • Mike Kelly vs. Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3) – She’s anti-gun & much farther left than her district.  In a few polls, not many people seemed to know who he was, but they really hated her.  This could be a fun one.  Break out the popcorn.
  • Jason Altmire vs. Keith Rothfus (PA-4) – Go Jason.  Go Jason.  Go Jason.  I like this pro-gun Democrat.  He’s been good on other issues, too.  But, obviously, the priority is the gun issue.  He’s the kind of Democrat I really want to come through this election.  We need voices like his leading his party in the right direction on civil rights.
  • Pat Meehan vs. Bryan Lentz (PA-7) – You want sleazy politician vibe? Just hand out around Bryan Lentz. This guy seriously makes me uncomfortable in person. He even has the slicked back hair to complete the look. Pat Meehan has the NRA support, and it’s really important that NRA members turn out for him in this race. Lentz is trying to show that an anti-gun leader can be elected from this state outside of Philadelphia’s proper city limits. We need to prove him wrong if we don’t want to hand the other side a literal and emotional victory.
  • Lou Barletta vs. Paul Kanjorski (PA-11) – NRA is backing Kanjorski as a Democrat with solid Second Amendment credentials.  But, he’s likely to lose this time around.  He barely won against Barletta in 2008, even when Obama took the district with surprising numbers.  We’re pretty peeved at Kanjo for his health care vote & the like, but we understand why NRA is sticking with their policy in this race. The numbers will be the interesting story in this campaign.

US Senate: Pat Toomey vs. Joe Sestak – Contrary to Sebastian’s dog issues, we’re backing Toomey based on the issues. I promise. Also, someday we will own a small dog. I promise. :)

What races are you guys watching at home?  Feel free to discuss while we’re out shaking babies & kissing hands.

Off to the Polls

Posting is going to be light today because after I go vote, I’m heading up to the northern reaches of our Congressional district to poll stand for an NRA endorsed state rep for as long as I can stand it. After that, we’re probably going to be at a watch party for our local State Rep watching the election results come in. This is one election I’m going to be happy is over. The past two years have been, for lack of a better term, completely insane.

If you’re looking for election coverage, I would highly recommend watching Cam Edwards at NRANews, which begins at 9:00, just as the polls should be closing, and the results will be coming in.

Some Clarifications on My Criticism

There’s some clarifications I want to make to some of my assertions in a previous post. I don’t advocate anyone become a single issue voter, if that’s not their inclination. We certainly do have single issue gun voters out there, and I think that’s fine too, but to me what goes on inside the voting booth is not really any of anyone else’s business. My fatalism that perhaps there’s no way to avoid the circular firing squad stems from what people who have a voice in this issue say publicly where the political establishment is watching (and they do watch, even this far off corner of the Internet).

It is a real problem when one group endorses one candidate, and another group endorses another candidate, and is very public about it. It’s going to make the political establishment, who for the most part don’t care about your pet issue (whatever that issue is), question whether your vote is reliable. It essentially destroys the value of both groups endorsements, when they publicly endorse against each other in the same issue. I don’t think that’s a positive thing, but I don’t know whether it’s a solvable problem. If one group stands back and lets the other group marginalize its endorsement, for fear of the metaphorical circular firing squad, there’s a real risk of candidates believing that the group isn’t willing to stand up for its endorsees. If it fights back it’s undermining the other group, and raising the public profile of the argument, and increasing the chance it’s going to be noticed.

I don’t expect everyone is just going to line up behind NRA’s endorsements. Obviously people have issues with them, especially this election, but it’s been my contention that their issues have nothing or next to nothing to do with the Second Amendment. It is my sincere belief that most of these groups which involve themselves in electioneering are taking advantage of the anti-incumbent public mood in an attempt to boost their stature within the conservative movement, and feather their own nests. NRA, at least publicly, has taken the position it’s a Second Amendment advocate only, rather than a conservative advocate. In truth, I think NRA as an organization is deeply conflicted about this as much as the movement is as a whole.

But this may not be an issue after Tuesday. When many blue dog Democrats are swept away, and all that remains is the left, there’s a very good chance that the bipartisan era of the Second Amendment will come to an end. Conservatives will have the NRA back as a conservative organization. The real shame, I think, is that I believe that’s ultimately bad for the Second Amendment.

Right to Hunt

Arizona has a right to hunt ballot initiative in this year’s election. This is really insurance for the future of hunting, and is the main way we’re blocking HSUS from being able to move forward with their agenda. If you live in Arizona, please vote for this ballot initiative.

“Arizona will be seen as weak with regard to hunting and fishing, and I would think it would open the flood gates for the animal rights organizations to start coming in and looking for weak points,” said George Reiners, a Yuma area sport hunter and Prop. 109 proponent.

“One they will definitely try first will be an attempt to ban mountain lion hunting. They’ve already gotten away with that in California. Bear hunting would probably be next and then on down the line. If they ever saw a weakness in dove hunting, they would go after that. They look for the low-hanging fruit and attack there. If they could ban sport hunting, they would do it in a minute.”

HSUS is fighting the initiative by trying to convince hunters that the initiative will politicize hunting in Arizona, which is almost laughable. This guy has done more to politicize hunting than anyone else I can think of.

Sorry State of Gun Control

I too am sympathetic toward the poor beleaguered workers at the National Tracing Center in West Virginia. I would very much like to give them the opportunity to seek out a more pleasing vocation! This is telling in terms of how the Times views this issue:

Congress’s obstructionism doesn’t end there. Until seven years ago, police were able to consult the A.T.F. archives of gun traces from dealer to owner.

Congress’ obstructionism? So the problem here is that Congress, those damned elected Representatives of the people (at least in theory), are getting in the way of unelected bureaucrats who could just run this state so much more efficiently (Ja Wohl!) if Congress just got out of the way.

Can We Have a Bipartisan Gun Rights Movement?

That’s the big question I think is going to be answered tomorrow. I’m hoping after tomorrow, the answer will still be yes, even though a great many pro-gun Democrats are going to go down to defeat because of pissing off the voting populace on other issues. They will be replaced by pro-gun Republicans, but there are more than a few pro-gun Dems in Pennsylvania who are polling well, namely Tim Holden and Jason Altmire (both of whom conveniently bucked Pelosi on the health care bill).

But will a bipartisan consensus on this issue last? That’s probably going to hinge on whether there’s enough of a pro-gun movement within the Democratic Party to make it work, or whether there are enough true single-issue voters out there to help pro-gun Democrats. If the answer is no, we’re going back to being the crazy Uncle in the GOP attic. If our issue only finds a home in one party, the only thing that party has to be concerned with is not being as bad as the other guy.

There are definitely a lot of folks out there who are insisting the pro-gun movement stay squarely within a conservative framework. Those people may very well get their wish after Tuesday. But I don’t think that’s going to be a healthy thing when it comes to winning this issue decisively and quickly. The battle will go on.