Shameless NRA Bashing

Eric Erickson’s Red State is a well known booster of Larry Pratt’s Gun Owners of America, which has shown up from time to time here. There are many legitimate criticisms of NRA to be had out there, but the notion that they were responsible for health care, the day after the Robert’s Court decision, reeks of incredulity at its highest.

As other conservative and right-of-center groups have come to realize the folly of endorsing Democrats – even marginally conservative ones – because the party as a whole is dedicated to radical progressive values, the NRA has insisted on endorsing pro-gun incumbent Democrats. In addition to allowing the NRA to claim the charade of “bipartisan,” the tactic also pads the NRA PAC’s endorsement/win ratio, always a key thing for establishment operatives playing an insider’s game.

I’ve been an outspoken proponent of NRA not succumbing to the same kind of partisan hackery that is found among other center-right organizations in DC. In this respect they are not perfect, but they are a sight better than other organizations in D.C. For the most part, when it comes to political endorsements, PAC money, grading, and scoring legislation, they’ve remained pretty true to their single issue mission. Most of my issues with NRA’s grading have been “Well, you gave this guy a X when it should have been a Y,” or, “Really? You’re going to endorse (or not endorse) that guy?” I’ve never thought “Have you ever met a Democrat who was pro-gun enough for you?”

I think that’s been relatively good for the Second Amendment. Indeed, that’s about the only center-right issue I think isn’t going to hell in hand basket these days.

It’s time for the conservative movement to start embracing full spectrum conservatism, realizing that no individual principle of conservatism may survive alone and apart from the support of other principles.

And how’s that strategy working out for you? Second Amendment seems to be doing pretty well from my point of view. We’re still winning, and have been even in the Democratic Congress. The partisan “conservative” strategy this author at Red State is advocating is a recipe for disaster. It has been a disaster. When was the last time you felt like conservative principles, other than gun rights, were advancing? I can’t think back that far. The entire center-right coalition as it stands today is an abject failure for freedom, and they ought not be lecturing the one part of the movement that’s seen success on how it should be done. We’re the recipe for it. It’s you who should pick your cause and move it forward in a bipartisan, but ruthlessly political manner.

21 thoughts on “Shameless NRA Bashing”

  1. Hear! Hear!

    I have been preaching to RKBA advocates to watch out for people and organizations that claim to be “single issue” but whose real agenda is to drag gun rights advocates in the direction of supporting a “broader conservative agenda” — whether or not that agenda really puts significant energy into gun rights. In particular I have become critical of RKBA organizations that seem capable of turning any issue into a gun rights issue, or, promote arguments that “you can’t believe in gun rights without also believing in [issue X],” or, who heavily promote candidates or legislators with solid “conservative” credentials, but who have little of no record of advancing gun rights.

  2. Your points are well-taken, but it is hardly a “Democratic Congress” given that the GOP controls the House by a solid margin.

    1. He was talking long-term, not just today. NRA’s policy has resulted in wins, or at least holding the line, which is a win, even when the Dems controlled both houses.

      1. Yes, but…

        I agree that the NRA should remain single-issue focused and non-partisan. But let’s get real here.

        Though NRA action has lead towards long term favorable results, that history is replete with supposed pro-gun politicians stabbing the NRA in the back in service to party loyalty, and most particularly loyalty to the Democratic Party.

        That is what happened in 1993-94 when loyalty to the Democratic party trumped fealty to the voters. When certain supposedly pro-gun Democratic Senators and Congressman rolled over for Clinton so that his 1994 Crime Bill and it’s ban on so-called “assault weapons” could get enough votes to pass into law.

        Ever since then I have been hard on Democrats. Because history has taught me to be hard. The Democratic party remains the home of the gun-control movement. Even in 2008 the party platform called for a renewal of the ban on rifles.

  3. Wait?! What?
    “when it comes to political endorsements, PAC money, grading, and scoring legislation, they’ve remained pretty true to their single issue mission.”

    The NRA endorsement is shrouded in secrecy until or unless a candidate chooses to release their NRA-ILA survey. Their incumbent protection strategy and questionable endorsements of “squish” candidates over those who are FAR more pro-gun makes it obvious that there is a lot to be desired in the NRA process.

    A good example – George Allen getting the “endorsement” over Jim Webb when ILA proclaimed they “lost” Webb’s survey. He faxed it to them again, and ILA said “we didn’t get it”. I think, but can’t confirm Webb tried again to have it delivered to NRA and by the time they did Allen had the endorsement. Webb was more pro-gun than Allen, though to be fair he did vote in favor of 2 bad justices. Allen however was going to vote for renewal of the AWB, and only very tepidly embraced not repealing it.

    Even now, Allen was running in the primary against a Tea Party Republican Jamie Radtke. There could not have been a more pro-gun candidate ( I have her on tape ). She isn’t just solidly pro-gun, that’s just an understatement. All was very difficult to get a hold of and still quite frequently equivocates on pretty common sense issues. He claims “I need to study the issue further” more than a few times.

    Yet the NRA endorsed Allen early in the primary, which was quizzical.

    Allen was only tepid in supporting the repeal the national parks ban on firearms – but then, so was NRA-ILA. Only when it looked like Allen would lose to Jim Webb did he introduce a bill to repeal the NPS weapons ban. Then he did nothing, and he got unelected. The bill went nowhere.

    NRA endorsements often leave gun owners scratching their heads asking why? And it’s because the NRA behaves in a very confusing manner applying different standards to different candidates. Part of this has a to do with their incumbent protection policy and protecting their endorsement success percentage, certainly. I think the NRA places a very different value on these factors than most gun owners do.

    They do remain more ‘pure’ to the 2A issues than some other groups out there, certainly, but it’s not all fun and games.

    1. I believe the reason they apply different standards to different candidates is because they have had different people doing the ratings over the years and each applies their own bias.

      While their incumbent protection policy is at least partly done to maintain a high endorsement success rate (as incumbents have a big advantage going into the election), I believe the other reason is because they simply do not do enough background work on the candidates and their respective races in order to make better informed decisions. They go with the incumbents because that is the easiest thing to do.

    2. Would that be the same Webb who gave Obama political cover on the gun issue? In advertisements even?

      Gee thanks a lot Webb for the two anti-gun justices Obama appointed to the Supreme Court! If Webb gets lucky maybe Obama might still appoint enough new justices to finally see the 2nd Amendment nullified.

      Screw Webb. And good riddance!

  4. The NRA should refrain from becoming a strictly GOP propping organization. The NRA should be free to pump up any pro Second Amendment candidate, regardless of party.

  5. I am very conservative in political viewpoint. However, Sebastien you have hit the nail on the head. The NRA should be an organization that any gun owner can feel is representing their interests regardless of the other political issues in our nation.

    Arguments to the contrary are destructive to the interests of gun owners.

    1. Unfortunately, that is becoming harder and harder. It feels like a few years ago that the NRA made a choice that they wanted to tap into the Tea Partiers to increase their memberships. So then came the Sarah Palin honors, the abandonment of Harry Reid, and yes, scoring the Holder contempt vote (It was not a vote about gun rights. Voting yes or no would have no impact on your rights).

      Too bad really.

      1. The Harry Reid issue can be debated, but I disagree on the Eric Holder issue because the administration had made that scandal about gun regulation.

        1. But that is not what the vote was about…not whether it was a “good” or “bad” operation, but whether Holder misled/withheld information.

          1. Yea, mislead about testimony on the biggest setup for a gun regulation scheme in us history… is related, the big picture is anyway.

  6. And the GOA has accomplished what, exactly? I have no problem with Larry Pratt running a politically conservative organization- it’s his masquerading as a gun rights group but dabbling in all manner of other disconnected issues that offends me. They’ve done nothing to further gun rights, and the only thing they’re good at is sniping at the NRA. Frankly, GOA is about as respectable as AHSA in my opinion…

  7. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: A “no compromise” lobbying group is an utterly useless lobbying group. Politics is the art of compromise, and someone who is unwilling to listen to the other side and budge even an inch is someone who sits in an ideologically pure corner all by themselves with the adults in the room do the talking.

  8. Dave,

    George Allen voted against renewing the assault weapons ban in 2004 during debate over the gun industry lawsuit bill, more than two years before he would face Jim Webb.

    NRA obviously has to look at the viability of a candidate for elective office. No doubt there are plenty of progun people out there who are more progun than those who get elected to office. However, being progun and being progun and electable aren’t necessarily the same thing. Endorsing someone who has no chance of winning just because they’re progun is stupid.

    What was the margin in the Allen/Radtke race this year? 65.45% to 23.05. Bob Marshall who GOA endorsed got 6.75% of the vote.

  9. 17 dems voted to criminally held hin contempt.. that made it bipartisan, and that was because NRA grabbed them by the scuff of the neck.

  10. Lets try that again since an edit will not reload…. 17 dems voted to hold Holder in criminal contempt of Congress… that made it bipartisan… Only because NRA held them by the scruff of the neck with their NRA voting rating…. now, may they punish the hell out of the defectors, both D AND R.

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