Some have pointed out that we don’t know what Pat Toomey is bringing to the table on gun control, and that it might not actually be any more than fixing the current background check system. That’s true. That’s why I’m not calling for Full Outrage! yet.
However, regardless of what he promises in the press conference at 11am, Pat Toomey burned bridges with several Pennsylvania voters today because his staff spent the last two days telling outright lies about his involvement in the bill to constituents who called.
Dancing around and avoiding an issue annoys people, but encouraging or allowing your staff to tell lies burns people. It turns off activists and evangelists for your candidacy. Only the party faithful want to get involved with a candidate who will instruct his staff to tell voters he wasn’t working on a bill while he is in the meeting working on that bill.
No one believes that politicians are angels. Many believe they barely qualify as human. No one believes that politicians are truly and totally honest. Many believe they can’t pass a lie detector test that only asks their name. Those views don’t mean that, as voters, they like being told an outright lie.
Back to the actual content of the bill, we don’t know what’s in it. DC folks are trying to tell us tonight that it’s no big deal. Supposedly, it will just cover sales at gun shows and online. However, we’ve already heard promises from the very people Toomey worked with on this bill that they would just go after background checks for actual sales, and look what kind of language they actually gave us. There’s a good chance that those of us who aren’t in DC may not know what is in the bill until after it has passed (assuming they have the votes).
At this point, Toomey has taken a huge political risk that he’s hoping Pennsylvania voters won’t remember in 2016. The message many gun owners will take from this is that Sen. Toomey will lie to them as readily as any anti-gun candidate challenging him. Commenter Patrick H. summed up something I was saying to Sebastian as all of this started falling into place tonight:
It’s not just that he didnâ€™t go with the filibuster. It’s not that he even voted on a gun control bill. He is actively writing one, and this was after everything seemed dead.
It’s like Pat Toomey went looking for a fight on guns. Why? Harry Reid seemingly couldn’t find the votes to pass anything. Now, President Obama is going to brand this as a Republican bill as much as a Democratic one. With this outreach to anti-gun leaders, Toomey has also likely hurt the brand of many of his GOP counterparts in the Senate.
The rest of the week looks interesting, to say the least.