This is Always What They Do

They end up in power with grand promises, and then make excuses for why they won’t pass the bill:

“The timing isn’t right.”

“We need a bigger majority to overcome a filibuster.”

“We think this is really more of a second term project.”

I could go on. The right time is when you have the majority. After 2018, who knows what will happen. Historically, we would expect the party in power to lose seats in the midterms. Practically, the prospect of the Dems taking the Senate seems remote, but that’s only because of the peculiarities of this particular election.

Now is the right time to get our bills passed. The SHARE Act has been introduced in the House, finally. Folks in Ryan’s district need to start turning up the heat, particularly.

45 Responses to “This is Always What They Do”

  1. Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

    Color me so surprised. It’s just PA on the national scale. They take us for granted.

    • Whetherman says:

      “They take us for granted.”

      Because we have shown them repeatedly that they can.

      • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

        Bingo. Its our own fault.

        • ad-lib says:

          yeah, that’s not wrong.
          heard all this talk about the pro-gun merits of Trump, but for all his “i’ve done so much and signed so many executive orders,” i’m straining to think of ANYTHING he’s done directly on guns.

          Republicans in Congress may have more varying sales pitches but i’m still straining to see them doing anything for me. at the risk of being selfish, i didn’t vote for any candidates because of repealing Obamacare or getting people who make more money than me a tax cut so much as i did gun rights. and if i can’t get the latter… well, why am i helping keep you in office to achieve the former?

          • Whetherman says:

            “…i’m straining to think of ANYTHING he’s done directly on guns.”

            I feel safe (and honest) saying this, because I think I’ve made it plain enough I think he’s a catastrophe, but his administration (not him personally) did reverse the Obama ban on lead ammunition on federal land.

            But, that’s all I can think of.

  2. Whetherman says:

    They will give every excuse but never the real reason: Pro-gun legislation is not intended to pass, and is nothing but vote-getting eyewash for us softheads. No one who holds power is in favor of gun rights if those rights might conceivably interfere with that hold.

    Here is a rule of thumb I recently generalized after decades of experience: When a supposed ally embraces tactics that make no sense, but they insist you support their tactics while abandoning your own, it means they have another, concealed agenda.

    Their tactics are intended to advance the agenda they are concealing from you; your tactics would run counter to that agenda. Count on it.

  3. Bram says:

    Pail Ryan has broken every promise. No reason to think he’d make an exception on reciprocity. I hope Ryan gets primaried out of office.

    • Whetherman says:

      “I hope Ryan gets primaried out of office.”

      I won’t put words in your mouth, so I’ll just say that if that primary effort fails, most gun rights advocates will vote for Ryan anyway, come November. The Boogeyman is always scarier, no matter what our false friends do to us.

      • Patrick Henry, the 2nd says:

        See Senator Pat Toomey.

      • Alpheus says:

        The deeply annoying thing about this is that a lot of these situations involve a politician who only gives mouth service to the Second Amendment is often running against someone who is out-ant-out against the Second Amendment.

        But then, if you can’t bring yourself to vote for the opponent, and you still feel a strong need to vote…well, that’s what the Libertarian Party is for!

        And it’s a very good thing to remember that if you can’t vote for someone practical, and you know that any protest vote you cast is going to be ignored by the winner…there’s always other races to vote based on their stance of the Second Amendment…and a vote *for* someone can’t be filled in by some unscrupulous vote counter…

        (To this latter end, my last local primary was mail-in vote only; it disturbed me that there weren’t options to vote for “no candidate”. For County Commissioner, someone could vote for up to three people — properly, there should be three “vote for no person” slots — if for no other reason than to keep someone from filling out blank spots because you didn’t want to vote for up to three people…)

        • ad-lib says:

          “The deeply annoying thing about this is that a lot of these situations involve a politician who only gives mouth service to the Second Amendment is often running against someone who is out-ant-out against the Second Amendment.”

          amen to this. i won’t lie; i’ve often voted for a disappointed not-ANTI-gun candidate over a flagrantly anti-gun one. and i hate how i feel afterwards every time.

        • Whetherman says:

          Something everyone seems to forget is, you always have the option of not voting for anyone for that office, at all.

          In my day I knew enough “mainstream” politicos in my county, to know that they could usually quote off the tops of their heads how many voters had declined to cast a vote for a certain office. They noticed it, and found it significant.

          To the extent that you vote to “send a message,” not voting for any given office does do that.

          BTW, that is analogous to, no organization is required to issue an endorsement, and I often thinks it sends a louder message to withhold an endorsement, than to jump on a squish’s bandwagon.

          • Chris says:

            The best time to “make a statement” is in the primary.

            In the general, if you live in a “safe” state/district, sure, don’t vote. If you live in a toss-up area though your non-vote (or third party vote) is welcomed by the opposition.

            “If you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for … but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against. In case of doubt, vote against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong.” – Heinlein

            Recent example — Gov McAuliffe appreciates all the Libertarian voters going for Sarvis!

            I think one of the more successful aspects of Bloomberg’s strategy has been seizing the moments when the Blue Dogs died (largely due to Obamacare votes) to lock in an anti-gun religious fervor in the Democratic party’s orthodoxy. The Blue Dogs were really the last remnant of the Democratic Party’s organizational memory following the 91 AWB. Blooberg’s investment in primaries on the left seems to be effective at steering the party away from the center on the issue.

            That all too often leaves gun owners with the choice between the milquetoast GOP and a rabid Democrat that wants you in a prison or a ditch. If we want to get the GOP back in our corner then I think it will take a combination of solid primary election turnouts (for both the GOP to weed our RINOs and for the Democrats to try and get some “Blue Dogs” back on their bench).

            And even Blue Dogs I’m skeptical on. When the chips are down a Blue Dog democrat will vote to support a hard left judicial nominee. But getting the DNC to tack back towards the center on the issue might put some credibility behind the threat to defect from the GOP.

            • Whetherman says:

              “The best time to ‘make a statement’ is in the primary.”

              Just to be clear, I was talking about “making a statement” regarding a given office and the candidates for it by not pulling that lever; not about whether to vote at all.

              But there are practical problems with primary election “statements.”

              One is, that in PA you need to register with a party to participate, and that I refuse to do. There were times when I would register as a Republican just long enough to vote in the R primary, but I will not do that anymore, for any party.

              But the other problem, that carries over to the general election is, “making a statement” that I like one candidate’s rhetoric alleging to support gun rights, usually requires me to make the same statement that I support other positions that I abhor. How do the pols know what I’m “making a statement” about? I don’t get to annotate my votes with explanations for them.

              That’s why it would be nice if our “leadership” like the NRA, instead of jumping on the bandwagon of every “conservative” who can string the words “enforce-existing-laws-and-get-tough-on-crime” together, would more often sit on its hands regarding certain offices, or actively campaign for its members and supporters to boycott voting for certain offices because neither candidate is worth a damn.

              • Chris says:

                How do the pols know what I’m “making a statement” about? I don’t get to annotate my votes with explanations for them.

                You can write a short letter to the candidate. “I supported you because XYZ.” At the state and local level where turnout is awful and the contests are often won by a handful of votes you usually get noticed to some degree.

                Representative democracy in a winner take all system means there will never be a perfect candidate up.

                • Whetherman says:

                  “You can write a short letter to the candidate.”

                  FWIW I’ve been a campaign manager in my time. I know how much attention we paid to a handful of cranks who wrote to the candidate — everything from poison pen letters to death threats, to adoring adulation.

                  Also FWIW my experience was in the pre-email days. I say FWIW because I expect these days a candidate might get more messages, but making less collective sense.

                  But if you (or an organization) could organize a letter-writing campaign, I agree it might get some attention.

        • Heather says:

          Too bad the Libertarian ticket was kinda wishy washy on 2A as well last presidential election.

          • Whetherman says:

            My guess is, that’s a symptom of the pollution and infiltration of the LP that began at least 25 years ago.

            • Publius says:

              I think they are more interested in preening and virtue signaling than in getting anything done.

  4. beatbox says:

    Yup. And it doesn’t help that the NRA has proven they have no interest in playing offense. They are more comfortable on defense.

  5. JohnnyIShootStuff says:

    You see that Charlie Dent is packing it in? I guess he didn’t want the stain of being taken out in a primary.

    • Whetherman says:

      Well, it has always been pretty plain he wasn’t crazy about being stained by his party’s standard-bearer.

  6. Sigivald says:

    “We need a bigger majority to overcome a filibuster.”

    Try passing it first, bubs.

    You can try it again later if they actually filibuster.

  7. flighterdoc says:


  8. Alien says:

    First, there’s more than a possibility of Democrats getting the House back in 2018, it’s a probability, although I don’t know how strong a probability; the dissatisfaction with Washington and everything associated with it is pretty damn strong and that dissatisfaction will manifest as voters walking away from Republicans. A couple more issues like this one with Ryan and that walk will become a run.

    Second, Washington is not just broken, it’s light-years beyond “broken.” There seems to be an increasing level of belief that the problem cannot be fixed with ballot boxes, and continuing to support the thoroughly broken system with votes will not help. Where that leaves us, I’m not sure, but it does not bode well for re-election of Republicans.

    To that end, November 2018 can be used as leverage, for now, to get existing Republicans in gear to accomplish a few things; beyond that, I suspect the election results will have us concentrating on things at the state level.

    • Whetherman says:

      FWIW: In my wider circle of social contacts, on one hand it appears that via their “good government” fronts (e.g., LWV, Common Cause) the Democrats may have recruited a large pool of new “activists.” On the other hand, I detect that their older pool of supporters may have lost faith and interest in the old “good government” sops, including the electoral process. Their tastes seem to be shifting toward greater militancy. This may be more anecdotal than statistical on my part, but even Bernie Sanders does not seem to excite them much.

      There may be an age factor there; independent of ideology, anyone who doesn’t become jaded with age hasn’t been paying attention. But my perception is guided not only by who I talk to, but by my Generation X kids’ circle of friends.

    • Alpheus says:

      I’m not *entirely* convinced that the Democrats are going to do well in 2018, but if they don’t, it will be because they will somehow manage to prove that they are worse than the Republicans.

      Whether it be on the Presidential level or in Congress, I have the impression that politics now-a-days is more who’s losing the least, rather than who’s winning the most….

  9. Pete says:

    My guess? they are going to pass it next year before the mid-terms. Why? Because they want that enthusiasm to help them retain their majority in the House.

  10. Dave says:

    The part that annoys me no end is that the congressman who is publicly “calling out” Paul Ryan for inaction on HR 38 is Thomas Massie. Massie is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional 2nd Amendment Caucus, yet he has not yet signed on to HR 38 as a co-sponsor.

    Someone who is ostensibly a leader in the fight for 2nd Amendment rights has done NOTHING himself to advance national reciprocity, and then blames Paul Ryan? A little “do as I say, not as I do”?

  11. Whetherman says:

    “… he has not yet signed on to HR 38 as a co-sponsor.”

    FWIW, I don’t want to reignite any debates here, but I have expressed my own reservations about the long-term strategic sense in seeking federally enforced national reciprocity.

    I don’t want to apologize for anyone, and I don’t know anything about Massie. But, is it possible he too has practical reservations about the legislation?

    I agree that on one hand “calling out” Ryan while failing to cosponsor the bill is hypocritical; but in the real world, is it possible he is doing what he thinks is right, while at the same time leaving wiggle-room for playing both sides of the street in the future?

    Having a hard record of cosponsoring the bill, and then not voting for it, would seem harder to explain than the softer record of calling out Ryan and then not voting for it.

    • Dave says:

      Does not the 2nd Amendment itself…if we are going to call ourselves purists…call for federally enforced national reciprocity? The 2nd Amendment IS a federal legal document, and it DOES say the right to bear arms shall not be infringed.

      But if we think someday we’re going to get national constitutional carry…permitless concealed or open carry; that we’ll someday have the land of the Founders returned to us, where people will say, “Gun laws? What are those?”, then we’re effing fooling ourselves.

      We are NEVER going to get all 50 states to honor the original intent of the 2nd Amendment unless the federal government forces them to. So unless you think it’s just dandy if some Americans are denied the right to carry a gun from coast to coast, simply because a particular state doesn’t want to honor that right, then you need to get behind HR 38.

      Geez…we get in our own damn way.

      • Whetherman says:

        “Does not the 2nd Amendment itself…if we are going to call ourselves purists…call for federally enforced national reciprocity?”

        I said I didn’t want to reignite the debate, but here goes: No, Second Amendment purism does not call for “federally enforced national reciprocity.” It calls for the recognition of “Constitutional Carry” as being exactly that, without legitimizing all of the hoop-jumping, prior restraints on our constitutional right that have been cobbled up by the various states.

        I have stated my reservations before; we are inviting the federal government into establishing acceptable criteria for the (unconstitutional) licensing of a constitutional right, while providing the political justification for doing that; major hoop-jumping, prior restraint states (like Texas; never mind NY and CA) are going to whine that states like my own PA don’t vet permit applicants seriously enough. So, the feds will establish minimum standards; but not maximum standards. If you live in a state that sucks, it will still suck. If you live in a state that doesn’t suck so bad right now, it will under the new standards.

        If you think the federal government doesn’t set minimum standards for state licenses, look at your drivers license. See that picture on it? That it be there was dictated by the feds in the 1980s. And PA has recently had to upgrade its drivers licenses again, so that we could use them for ID to board airplanes in the near future. In the nearer future, they were no longer to be acceptable ID for entry into federal buildings. They didn’t meet federal standards.

        Admittedly the format of a license card is no huge deal, but the principle is the thing; if the feds can dictate that for drivers licenses, they can dictate still more for firearms licenses. I hope and pray you like what they will dictate.

        Anticipating someone will say what others have said before, no, the current legislation doesn’t do that; but the current legislation will not mark the end of history.

        • Dave says:

          You are correct in one thing. If the feds want to pass national restrictions on concealed carry, they will. The thing is, they don’t need HR 38 to do it. But the other reality is that our side has done nothing but win in recent years at the federal level, to the point that even after Sandy Hook, with Barack Obama in the Oval office, they couldn’t pass anything.

          On the other hand, where the antis are having success is at the state level, where 2nd Amendment infringements are increasing as Michael Bloomberg overwhelms state gun rights organizations with floods of money. The enactment of HR 38 guts many of these may-issue states, and provides for civil penalties for states that violate it.

          But go ahead and oppose legislation that adds gun freedoms, and hold out for nationwide constitutional carry and see what happens. You’ll get that right after you get your free unicorn.

          • Whetherman says:

            “The thing is, they don’t need HR 38 to do it.”

            No they don’t need it, but to politically grease the ways, it could be the most important step. At present they have no excuse to intrude into the carry-permit-requirements business at the state level. Bring the feds into the carry permit business in any way, and voila’, there it is.

            “hold out for nationwide constitutional carry and see what happens.”

            I’m not “holding out” for anything, but my judgment-call is we’ll get nationwide imposition of draconian carry permit standards, long before we get national constitutional carry; frankly because I’ve known more gun owners who got off on their own specialness as permit-holders, than who truly wanted to see constitutional carry. Virtually all of them would express reservations about what would happen if Those People could just pick up a gun and carry it, while loving their own permits as Official Certifications of their own status as Law-Abiding-Citizens.

            We both should recognize we are just applying our own judgment what will happen down the road. Only time will tell.

            • Whetherman says:

              “we are just applying our own judgment…”

              I’ll get accused again of playing the “Oldie” card, but, I have been an “activist” (or at least, a commentator) on more issues than just the gun rights issue, for lots of decades, and I know what predictions I made in say the 1980s, that came to pass (actually, to stay) within a decade or two; and which didn’t. As a rule of thumb the more pessimistic or cynical I was, the closer to right I was. That is what informs my judgment.

              I should add that the gun rights movement is a special case for having its own echo chamber directing participants what to think, but I’ll just leave that one there.