Sending a Message

There’s a lot of debate in a previous comment thread about whether or not people should or shouldn’t vote for Pat Toomey. I’ve been on this side of the argument many many times:

That’s fine. And when the Democrats take back the senate by one vote, and confirm Clinton’s anti-gun supreme court justices, you can pat yourself on the back about how ideologically pure you are.

I’m usually very pragmatic when it comes to politics. I’ve said before that George W. Bush came into office saying he’d sign a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, yet if we had stayed home because George wasn’t good enough, Heller would have lost, and McDonald never would have happened. We probably would not have PLCAA either, and gun control groups would still be trying to sue the industry out of existence. But what is a bridge too far? Toomey didn’t just vote against us on this one issue. He didn’t just offer lip service. He took a leadership role in trying to pass a gun control bill. After that, instead of staying quiet about it, he embraced Mike Bloomberg’s gun control groups whole heartedly. Hell, most politicians will at least give us lip service around election time, and Toomey won’t even do that.

But that’s not to say I’m unsympathetic to the larger picture, and I’m skeptical Toomey will undervote enough to really send a message. Even if he does undervote, will the GOP credit the gun owners? Or will they bury their heads in the sand and come up with some other bullshit reason Pat went down? I firmly believe that the only way to conclusively send a message via the vote is to defeat an incumbent in a primary, because the primary opponent can carry the message. A big reason I’ve been writing about this is because I want it on record out there that a lot of gun owners are pissed off that Pat Toomey has embraced Mike Bloomberg’s agenda. I’m ordinarily willing to make pragmatic votes, but every “common sense gun control” ad I see for Pat Toomey (and I see them on Facebook, where his idiot people have demo targeting tools that could exclude gun voters) pushes me further over the bridge too far. I do have my limits on what I can tolerate in the name of the big picture.

37 thoughts on “Sending a Message”

  1. Like someone said about the U.S. Senate race in Illinois: Voting out the “Republican” is not “losing a seat” so much as “fixing the label”.

    And I agree with the logic that taking part in a “gun control” bill, even sponsoring one, can be forgiven. But Toomey authored one, and that’s just one part of his pattern of behavior on gun rights. He cannot be trusted (or more correctly, he can be trusted to screw us). PA gun owners are the battered spouse; you’re threatening to walk out on the bastard and being told, “You can’t leave me! Where else you gonna go!?”

    The correct answer, at some point, is, “Anywhere is better than here with you.” Are PA gun owners at that point? We’ll find out next week.

      1. Chuck Schumer approves this message.

        It’s funny that you don’t see the irony in what you wrote. Schumer was also working on Manchin-Toomey but everyone realized making his involvement more obvious (Manchin-Toomey-Schumer, anyone?) would have hurt its chances of passage.

        Remember, Manchin-Toomey came out after everyone else had already given up on the idea of post-Sandy Hook gun control. Everyone accepted that it just wasn’t in the cards. And then these two – along with Chuck Schumer and Alan Gottlieb – tried to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with yet another law that wouldn’t have prevented any of the deaths they were trying to exploit. I don’t know about Manchin (and it’s not relevant to a PA gun blog), but Toomey just keeps trying to push this nonsense. I’m no fan of McGinty and won’t vote for her, but there’s no way I’m voting for Toomey.

        FWIW, not voting for someone for whom pushing gun control is a pillar of his legacy is supposed to be a good thing around these parts.

        1. Oh, Toomey stabbed us in the back, that’s for sure. I’d love to see him primaried. And if control of the senate didn’t hinge on him getting re-elected, I’d be much more willing to let him be defeated (especially if his Dem opponent was pro-gun, which isn’t the case here), but things being the way they are I’d vote for Anthony Weiner if it meant preserving the filibuster.

          1. Chuck Schumer and Mike Bloomberg thanks you for your support.

            I don’t care if the Senate flips to the Dems because Toomey is with them anyway. So what’s the difference?

            There is no way I’m supporting an anti gun senator just because he’s an R. In fact it’s worse because he gives cover to other Rs to support gun control.

            Maybe primaring him would be better. But it’s too late for that.

            Gun owners must oppose Toomey.

            1. Sending Toomey packing risks the very real chance that the Senate flips back to Dem control, and that’s going to be a disaster for us. A GOP Senate can force Clinton to compromise on a Scalia replacement. There is a chance for a deal. There is no chance for a deal if the Dems take the Senate back, and they will eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court picks.

              I’m not saying that’s reason enough to vote Toomey, but we should understand the implications of what’s going to happen if Toomey loses, and enough other Republicans lose to flip the Senate.

              1. Oh absolutely it’s not good if the Senate flips. But if it relies on Toomey I don’t think it’s that big of a difference. I believe we lose the SC either way. Short term it’s bad, but long term it’s better.

            2. Well, clutch your pearls and cluck disapprovingly when the fascists overrun the Supreme Court. In case you havn’t noticed, this election may be the LAST ONE “Republicans” can win. With Hitlery et al giving free citizenship to everyone in the world, there won’t BE a U.S. Now buck up, be a man and do the right thing.

              1. Every election is the “last” one. So spare me your doomsday arguments.

                I am doing the right thing- not voting for anti gun candidates.

  2. I know that Toomey is a bitter pill to swallow, but control of the senate is everything. If the Dems take it, there won’t be a filibuster to protect us any more. I’m confident that Toomey will vote the right way in the only vote that matters at all in 2017: Mitch McConnell for Majority Leader, and against Chuck Schumer. After that vote, the results of all other votes are preordained.

    1. “but control of the senate is everything.”

      When you think of it, that’s quite an indictment of the Repus, because they’ve had control of the senate, and still we’re not basking in a gun rights Nirvana.

      1. In eight years, Obama has passed how many of his proposed gun control initiatives?

      2. Ok, I’ll explain it to you. In the senate, at the moment you need 60 votes to beat a filibuster. The democrats have been making noises about throwing out the filibuster if they gain control of the senate, meaning they’d only need 50+1 votes to pass any legislation or confirm any supreme court justice they want. The republicans have been unwilling to use this “nuclear option”, and even if they had, they’d still have had to deal with President Obama’s veto. The democrats won’t have this problem. If Toomey is re-elected, he’ll vote to give Republicans control of the senate. If McGinty is elected, she’ll vote to give control over to the Democrats. Therefore, with Toomey elected the democrats will have to pick off 11+ republican votes to get anything done. If McGinty is elected, they won’t need a single republican vote, they’ll already have the 50+1 democrats that they need. Chuck Schumer will be Senate Majority Leader, and the supreme court will tilt away from the 2nd amendment for at least a generation. But at least you’ll be able to tell your grandkids that you “sent Pat Toomey a message”.

        1. Let me explain it to you since you don’t get it. Toomey will give cover to other Rs on gun control. He can get the sixty votes because Rs will join him. He’ll vote for any gun control that will come up as well as an anti gun justice. So we lose either way short term. Long term will will send a message that support gun control as an R and you will lose. That will prevent other Rs from supporting it. We can take back the Senate and then pass good legislation.

          But you can tell the next generation that you supported an anti gun senator to protect gun rights. That’ll go over well.

    2. Irrelevant. He’ll vote and push for gun control and Rs will support him because gun owners supported him.

      THATS what matters.

  3. Are you voting for a 3rd party candidate? That would be protesting the two anti-gun morons.

    1. That would be a worthwhile protest, except that the response of the major parties will not be to clean up their act, but to further isolate and place roadblocks in front of minor parties.

      They’ve been doing that for at least 90 years and nothing has happened to make them want to change their approach.

      1. Frankly, I’m almost convinced that *nothing* will cause the major parties to clean up their act. They always have a way to find excuses for why they lost that don’t involve “I betrayed my voters”, so that they can continue to do what they’ve always done…

        Which isn’t to say that “sending a message” isn’t worthwhile: we need to say something. We just can’t trust our “betters” to *get* the message, which is funny, when you consider that they ignore us at their peril!

    2. So would jerking off and not voting. And it would get the same response from the 2 partys. NOTHING!

  4. Another factor to muddy the waters: party switching. Just because Toomey is elected as a Republican, doesn’t mean he won’t switch to the Democrats after the election. We’ve certainly seen other politicians do this.

    (To my memory, plenty of Democrats over the last twenty years have switched to Republicans, whereas the few Republicans who have switched to Democrats were all U.S. Senators or running for a U.S. Senate seat. What the hell is the problem with the U.S. Senate?)

    That said, If I were voting in the Penn 2016 election I would hold my nose and vote for Toomey. Then primary his ass next election cycle if he didn’t shape up.

    1. Party switches are actually somewhat unusual. The reason they are unusual is because of what happened to Arlen Spector when he did it. He didn’t think he couldn’t survive another Republican primary challenger, so he switched parties. Turns out he couldn’t survive a Dem primary either! Switching parties is a tough thing. You usually don’t see unless there’s been a major re-alignment.

    2. Yah, and he might ascend to heaven from the capitol steps. Quit worrying about what MIGHT happen and worry what WILL happen.

  5. The problem with letting “bad” Republicans be replaced by Democrats is that it empowers the Democrat machine. Even if you have a RINO in the Senate from your state, that empowers the Ted Cruz and Mike Lee types by keeping their party in charge of the agenda.

    Even with turncoats like Mitch McConnell running things, gun rights are significantly better protected than should Chuck Schumer be in charge of the Senate.

  6. If Toomey loses, Trump will be blamed, not stay at home gun owners. Nobody will care.

    Casey will take the cue from the election and move left.

    The only message you are sending is that you are ok with Clinton stooges for 3-6 years. It’s all people will hear. Clinton will win. PA Senators will trip over themselves to help her agenda. People who allowed it have only themselves to blame.

    Who says there has to be a next time? It is hard to unseat incumbents. Maybe PA will go down the tubes like NY. Once the Dem machine is empowered, its hard to stop.

    Toomey is a snake. Lots of Republican snakes have evolved. I guarantee it’ll be easier for Republicans and the NRA to make inroads with Toomey than McGinty.

    One learns from near-death experiences. One never learns from death experiences.

    Of course, if Toomey does eke out a win, it’ll prove he can win without gun owner support. Thats even worse.

    1. “One learns from near-death experiences. One never learns from death experiences.” +1

      “Of course, if Toomey does eke out a win, it’ll prove he can win without gun owner support. Thats even worse.”
      – Even worse than dying?

      1. If Toomey does win, it’ll prove he can win without gun owner support. That is even worse than Toomey getting defeated. PA republicans will no longer court gun owners as a group, they won’t feel that they need to to win.

        so if he wins, gun rights are irrelevant, if he loses Trump gets blamed. Either way, no “message” gets received by staying home.

        I think people need to seriously ask themselves what if Toomey is as good as it gets in PA for a while. What if post-Toomey, PA goes down the tubes like NY. It’s better to hold a poor beachhead position than no position at all.

        PA is literally the front line – you have MD, NJ, NY on one side and WV and OH on the other. No matter how crappy the position, hold the line.

        1. So you’re willing to give a filibuster-free senate over to Chuck Schumer in order to send a message to PA Republicans, one that you admit won’t even be received?

          1. I think you have misunderstood my post.

            I am saying there is only downside to refusing to defeat McGinty, .

          2. Sure because we should not support an anti gun senator to support gun rights. dwb is right. If a Toomey wins either gun owners support UBCs or they have no power to stop him. That’s bad for gun rights.

            So what if Schumer overturns the filibuster and passes anti gun legislation? That’ll happen with Toomey without over turning the filibuster. But nothing is getting through the house.

  7. At this point, I’m planning to vote for whatever third party candidate is running in opposition to both Toomey and his Democrat challenger. I refuse to support gun control becoming a bipartisan issue.

    Also, if I can’t trust Toomey to vote the right way on basic questions of gun rights, then I can’t trust him to vote the right way on anything at all. If push comes to shove, I would rather have someone wearing an honest party label in that seat than someone wearing a party label dishonestly. If the result of the election comes up “Clinton” I don’t feel that Toomey can be counted on to oppose her agenda. Frankly, I’m positively shocked that he hasn’t bowed to pressure to push for confirmation of the current Obama SCOTUS appointee; I think the only thing stopping him has been this election, and that he’ll support anyone that a Clinton administration appoints.

    If you want to try to convince me to hold my nose, please feel free to try, just leave the boilerplate “he’s on our side generally even though he’s not really on our side at all” and “if you don’t vote for him, it’ll be your fault that we lose the senate” arguments unspoken: I don’t find either convincing, and repeating them won’t help your case.

    1. Don’t you get it? It doesn’t matter if Toomey’s with us or not. The only Senate vote that matters… the ONLY one… is the vote for who controls the senate rules. If you want to try to argue that Toomey would vote for Chuck Schumer over Mitch McConnell, fine, make that argument. As long as he votes for Republican control of the senate, the filibuster remains in place, and he can vote for gun control until he’s blue in the face, because he’ll need 60 votes. I don’t know how to make it any clearer to you. At this point any ignorance on your part is willful.

      1. No it doesn’t. The only thing that matters is sending a message that gun owners don’t support UBCs and we have power to stop Senators that do.

      2. “As long as he votes for Republican control of the senate, the filibuster remains in place, and he can vote for gun control until he’s blue in the face, because he’ll need 60 votes.”

        Again, I don’t trust Toomey to do ANYTHING right. At the time Manchin-Toomey-Schumer came along, it was already a dead horse, and he absolutely refuses to stop beating it.

        If I can’t trust him to at least STOP beating that dead horse, I can’t trust him to do anything right: He has already made it crystal clear that he is more than willing to compromise on principle in order to stay in office. The example of Arlen Specter is probably the reason that he hasn’t switched parties, but he’s going to continue acting like a RINO, just like John McCain and the rest of the long-term establishment RINO schmucks.

        He’s also in a really shitty position generally, because he’s pissed off too many people: He’s pandered to bible base enough to turn off a lot of “independent” and leftist voters, and he’s pissed off a significant percentage of his base by refusing to learn from voting against us.

        I don’t like Schumer-Manchin-Toomey, but I probably could have forgiven Toomey for it if he had let it die the first time, learned his lesson, and apologized. Except that he hasn’t learned his lesson: He’s pushed that piece of garbage no less than THREE TIMES. That is something I will not forget, and that I cannot forgive.

        I don’t pretend that his opponent will be better as an individual vote in the senate, but I also don’t think Toomey has a real shot at winning anyway: Various polls over the last week have come out everywhere from “Tie” to “McGinty +12.”

        That said, it isn’t just an individual vote that’s at stake here: Toomey’s willingness to make gun control a bipartisan issue represents a far greater threat than one vote, because a bill that is authored by a “bipartisan” group of legislators is far more likely to draw the support of squishy RINOs than one that is authored exclusively by Democrats: The biggest risk of keeping Toomey in office is that more gun control will get passed. Your point in return is that “more gun control” is the biggest risk from his challenger.

        Frankly, this is a problem that is of Toomey’s own creation: He decided to suck up to Bloomberg rather than his base, and its looking like we’re all going to lose because of it.

  8. Not a PA resident. My opinion.

    If the GOP Senate majority is slim, I fully expect one or more “principled #nevertrump Republicans” to decide that their cherished principles require them to become Principled Democrat Senators.

    Rumors were that Jumping Jim Jeffords beat John McCain to the party switch by a few hours back in 2001. I expect one or more Establishment Republicans to repeat the feat by July 2017, either because they hate President Trump, or want in on the President Clinton Democrat gravy train.

    Vote your conscience, which is more than most U S Senators ever will.

  9. Did I mention, if the Senate Dems take the majority, Bernie Sanders will be Senate budget chair?

    With Clinton in the WH and Sanders as budget chair your tax form will be: 1- How much much did you make; 2-send it in.

    Good luck all with that protest non-vote helping McGinty, let me know how it works out for you.

    1. Do you realize there are two Houses and all budgets must originate from the House? People are making this a bigger deal than it is.

      The only argument would be SC justice, but Toomey will vote anti gun anyway.

      1. It doesn’t matter where they originated from. They will still have to go through Bernie Sanders if the Democrats have a majority.

        get ready to listen to at least 2 years of Paul Ryan saying he had to cave because Bernie.

        As if the budgets in the House with a gop majority are fiscally responsible

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