Getting the GOP Back in Line

Many readers of this site are Republicans or generally right-of-center voters. Yet, when we look at the battles we’re facing with the Second Amendment, it’s not uncommon that Republicans are a source of more than a handful of our problems. In Pennsylvania, we finally managed to get Castle Doctrine out of the hands of an anti-gun Philly Democrat in the state House last year only to be stopped by Republican members of the Senate who wanted to load it down with anti-gun amendments. At the federal level, we saw a huge number of Democrats earning their pro-gun ratings by passing good legislation, putting up a fight for even more great legislation, and holding off opponents in the administration. In other words, for gun rights to move forward, the Republican leadership needs to get its act together and start seriously working with gun owners if they want to earn our votes and help in the next election.

Americans for Tax Reform and The Daily Caller are hosting another RNC Chair debate next week. They have a site set up to submit questions and vote on your favorites. Last year, I believe they did feature a question about guns, but it was only a question of how many guns the candidates owned. As both a gun owner and a volunteer, the question was absolutely meaningless. The RNC Chair isn’t setting official policy of the party, and even if they own one gun for every Republican in the country, it doesn’t tell me crap about the role they are supposed to fulfill.

I would think relevant questions to the party chair candidates would include topics about how they see gun owners as part of their voter outreach strategy, and what messages they have for candidates and incumbents at all levels to build up their grassroots teams to include gun owners. These are the kinds of relevant messages that need to come from the party/brand leaders. I could care less what the RNC Chair has done before on the issue, as long as they are willing to talk to Republican candidates for office about how vital gun owners are on Election Day.

During the last RNC Chair election process, I was open to the idea that Michael Steele could bring a bit of fresh thinking to the party. He knew what it was like to run in a tough state, and to say that the Democrats had played dirty to hurt his candidacy is an understatement. Unfortunately, he spent the RNC into the ground, and stupid mistakes have been the highlight of his term. In 2010, it turned out not to matter too much. People were just that angry with the Democrats. But in 2012, we’ll have the very top on the ticket to worry about, along with defending many more seats. Even though the Democrats still control the White House and Senate, Republicans will shoulder an unfair amount of blame for anything bad that happens, regardless of which party is responsible. Voters who aren’t paying close attention will simply remember that Republicans “won” in 2010, not the real balance of power. We can’t really afford to not have money going into that fight, nor can we afford stupid distractions from the RNC.

4 thoughts on “Getting the GOP Back in Line”

  1. Its the Dumb party vs the Stupid party.

    Either way we’re screwed.

    In a serious note, I feel the GOP takes the pro gun people for granted kinda like blacks and the Democratic party. Woo them during an election, then forget them afterwards.

  2. To some degree, that is true. That’s why we need more people in position of leadership to talk about the benefits of always courting the pro-gun vote by working on our agenda items.

    Of course, that also means we have to step up and help out when candidates are doing the right thing. It gets noticed. Sebastian was hugged by a GOP state rep whose record had been slipping, but then she went to gun owners and asked what she needed to do to get back on the right path. She listened, and we helped out. She took notice.

    On the other hand, we had another candidate who was on the right side of most issues, willing to talk about the issue more, and was certainly a million times better than the incumbent. He asked directly what gun owners were willing to do to help so we could get the anti out of office. We couldn’t say, “Well, we had 20 guys at a gun club this weekend stuffing 1,000 literature packets and making 300 phone calls.” It would help improve our chances at getting him on the right side of every issue and making him an unquestionably solid vote if he hears from the top that our people really will help out when it matters, even though we couldn’t deliver that here this time.

    At some point, if you really want to advance gun rights, you have to get away from the sweeping generalizations and pick an a candidate or two to focus on to get what you want.

  3. A few points:

    We have Senate Republican Tom Coburn to thank for the CCW in National Parks bill. Based on those sorts of pro-gun legislative actions plus activities WRT to the effectiveness or lack thereof of the M4 I suspect he might be “one of us”. I grant that very possibly not another Republican Congresscritter in the 111th Congress really gives a damn about the RKBA except as a means to the end of getting re-elected.

    I disagree with the utility of the “How many guns do you own?” question, or at least I found it very telling that Steele was the only candidate who said he didn’t own any.

    You’ve left out at least two areas where he did substantial damage to the party:

    His willingness to implicitly or explicitly agree with any calumny said by a MSM liberal he was with (up to and including comparing the 2008 convention with a Nazi rally) did the “brand” no good at all. His playing the race card in his reelection attempt is likely to get really ugly.

    The RNC canceled at the last minute (about a week before it was to start) the traditional “72 Hour” Get Out The Vote (GOTV) effort, saying it wasn’t “cost effective” in an era of early voting. It’s very likely we lost a number of seats from this, e.g. the Republican Governor’s Association (I think that’s what it’s called) tried to pick up the slack at a substantial opportunity cost and we had two notable Senate losses in states where they made no effort.

  4. I think it is too late to work within the system. Every election is like a rape victim getting to decide which of her attackers goes first. We have gone too far down the road that leads away from Liberty City and towards Totalitarian Township.

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