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Brain Drain

The brain drain continues, with news that David Lehman is out.

Lobbying is a very personal thing, and I believe it’s a talent, like sales, since it’s really a species of sales. Not everyone is going to be good at it. I wouldn’t be good at it.

These folks are not easily replaced. I’ve spent enough time around Wayne, even in closed off events, to think he always looks awkward and uncomfortable. Maybe he’s better at being a lobbyist than he is at being a public figure. I certainly hope so. But I’m really not encouraged by this article that indicates LaPierre signaled to NRA members he had the White House under control and the White House balked at it.

This is not good. I can’t really adequately express how effed I think we are.

24 Responses to “Brain Drain”

  1. Dave says:

    I think it’s time that we retire NRA and go grassroots, or GOA. To leave our destiny in the hands of the NRA is … stupid.

    • Bitter says:

      You don’t really understand grassroots if you’ve had the attitude that NRA has the gun rights destiny in its hands the entire time.

      They are a huge force, yes. But it’s more about what putting resources of many together can accomplish. But if you’ve been sitting around waiting on NRA to take care of things in the gun issue, then you’re doing it wrong.

      • 399 says:

        “They are a huge force, yes. But it’s more about what putting resources of many together can accomplish.”

        Excuse me, but it seems to me that for a long time both you and Sebastian have been communicating the message “trust the NRA”. Implicit in that message was “leave it to the NRA.” Your endorsement of activism seemed to be, to attend Friends of the NRA dinners and attend the National Meetings. Not that you ever condemned the activism that goes on in other states like NJ and VA, but not many of your sentiments seemed to encourage grassroots activism at home.

        • Sebastian says:

          I’ve written about it before. So has Bitter. These days I spend more time doing activism at home than writing about it.

        • Bitter says:

          Wow, you’ve missed a huge message here if that’s all you think we’ve done or promoted.

          Doing things through NRA is certainly a great way to connect with others you may not have been able to connect with. And we have promoted that.

          Though I’m not sure where you’re getting the BS that we’ve promoted Friends of NRA for political activism and organizing. Meeting other local gun owners & supporting the shooting sports, yes. But we’re strong on don’t mix (c)3 efforts and politics. And you’ll have to tell me more about the posts where we said that the best political activism is by attending NRA Annual Meetings. I recall many posts about Annual Meetings, especially in the context of being an informed member of a civic organization and knowing what’s going on. But I don’t recall any posts that indicate activism starts and stops by attending events where a) political organizing is illegal [Friends], and b) where most of the events attended and covered have to do with internal issues and where the organization fits in the larger picture of the Second Amendment activism [Annual Meetings].

          But if you’ve chosen to ignore the years of posts about gun club involvement, organizing campaigns in person, and things gun owners can do that have nothing to do with NRA, then you’re making an extreme effort to be a selective reader. And, sadly, you miss the much bigger picture of efforts to protect the Second Amendment.

          This isn’t to say we haven’t been NRA volunteers. But your comment implies that the last 12 years worth of archives are only about NRA-organized efforts, and that’s obviously not true based on, literally, years of evidence linked on the handy sidebar. Expand your reading choices a bit more.

    • Andy B. says:

      “I think it’s time that we retire NRA and go grassroots, or GOA.

      I’d definitely recommend “grassroots” but. . .

      A possibly fatal paradox is that whoever the organizers are, they need to be vetted, and anyone with a prior political agenda rejected or at least regarded with deep suspicion; and of course there aren’t that many “naturals” around, when it comes to political organizing. As Sebastian phrased things, I certainly was not good at it.

      I think I recently told my Old Story about how the Keystone Firearms Coalition was subverted, first by a Christian Coalition guy who in fact had no interest in firearms issues whatsoever; and later by regional coalition members who were in the pockets of legislators because of their commitments to issues other than gun rights.

      Here’s a tip: If you are tempted to sign on with an existing organization, check thoroughly the background of its honchos. If they’ve been associated with the creation of organizations involved with too many other issues, stear clear, no matter how impeccable their “conservative” credentials appear to be. Very likely their organization are all fronts for other unseen agendas.

      If I knew the solution to that problem, I would have been doing it long ago.

  2. The_Jack says:

    And there’s this… https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/1164135979877318657
    “”
    Multiple senior White House officials tell me the NRA has been mostly AWOL on the gun control issue. They tell me it doesn’t matter because most GOP members of congress are “total wingers” on the issue anyway, but are troubled. Now this:
    “”

  3. Andy B. says:

    A thread above triggered more Old Stories for me, but I’m writing this as a stand-alone post so as not to imply siding with either side of a debate fraught with other issues.

    Anyway: I have not found gun hobbyists to necessarily be a good source for gun rights activists. My samples are too far in the past to provide good statistics, but in general I have found gun owners without much “hobby” commitment to understand principles better than hobbyists do. Hobbyists are more likely to be biased to their particular hobby’s self-interest, than to broad principles. I think they are widely referred to as “Fudds”, even if their hobby is more hairy-chested than chasing wabbits or tweety-birds (not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

    As a perhaps superficial example, about 25 years ago I was on my club’s “legislative committee” though I wasn’t its chairman yet. We would provide a legislative report at every members meeting. The board and membership voted a rule that we be cut off after five minutes, I think it was. We were cutting too much into the time for reports on how much fun was had at last month’s Cookie Shoot, or whatever. Fortunately (or not) such rules voted at meetings were seldom memorialized, so were usually forgotten after a couple months. But the point is, hobbyists didn’t want to hear nuances that might (e.g.) make legislation that sounded good, turn out to be not so good. Fun was what everything was about. Political nuances are no fun.

    A better example is a high-profile state gun rights activist of the past, who also was a committed Practical Pistol competitor. One day he called me up and confessed privately (I still won’t name him publicly) that he didn’t support Constitutional Carry – “Vermont” was the word then, as Vermont Carry was the only example in those days – because “in Pennsylvania we have too many [n-words] and [sp-words] and drug dealers so it would never work here.”

    I shortly noticed that he was what I came to call a “reciprocity maven.” His primary activist issue was that Pennsylvania achieve carry reciprocity with as many states as possible. And the state representative that kept him for a pet, widely known as “the best pro-gun legislator in the state”, never sponsored or co-sponsored (that I can recall) Constitutional Carry legislation; though he did introduce cockamamie legislation that would have taken the administration of carry permits away from county sheriffs, and handed it over to the State Police (!); that accompanied by an automated system that police in other states could access to verify the validity of a Pennsylvania citizen’s carry permit. All that to facilitate reciprocity with more states.

    It took me awhile to put two-and-two together: As a Practical Pistol competitor he was friendly with a lot of cops, so had cop attitudes, and/or didn’t want to offend his friends; and his personal interest was to be able to transport his competition handguns anywhere in the country without being concerned that they were secured consistent with the requirements of different states. A fine thing to wish for, but not at the expense of everyone else’s interests – in particular, the interests of gun owners who might not be gun hobbyists, but who might want to carry a handgun for self-defense, once in a blue moon, without having to go beg the police that they didn’t trust for permission to do so.

    That might not have been so important, but a short time later, an NRA board member told me the guy’s friend, that “best pro-gun legislator in the state”, in fact knew or cared not a damn thing about guns or gun rights, but instead took direction on the issue from my Reciprocity Maven associate. He needed gun rights for his “conservative” shtick.

    So, Lord save us from gun hobbyists who pretend at “principles,” while carefully protecting their hobby-interests.

  4. Charlie Foxtrot says:

    More purges at the NRA: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/22/us/politics/nra-guns-wayne-lapierre.html. Also, Chris Cox still on the NRA payroll?

    • Richard says:

      Not going to waste a paywall click on a NYT story that I know in advance is intentionally misleading. However, I suspect that Cox is still technically on the payroll. When he quit, he would have had vacation time accumulated which has to be paid off. Depending on NRA HR policy, there may also be a sick leave payoff out there. The first is a matter of law, the second is common practice in many organizations of various types. There may also be some form of deferred compensation that has to be paid out.

      • Charlie Foxtrot says:

        The NYT story reads like it was written, in part, by the NRA leadership itself. The WaPo story seems to be better. It also has a quote from Alan Gottlieb regarding Cooper’s departure.

        Accumulated vacation can be paid out. This is common practice. Chris Cox resigned in June. I doubt he had 2 months of vacation and sick days left. If he is still on the payroll, then he is still an NRA employee. There is a potential of conflict of interest if he does anything else, like creating his own lobbying firm. This all is rather uncommon business practice and sounds fishy to me.

        • TrialByFire says:

          CFT you get one thing right. Telling the story they wish could be true, but isnt.
          Assuring members of “strong financial footing” from leaders who think noone looks at numbers. The last audit showed a third of assets are **accounts receivable**
          Reputation damage has a delayed impact on the next year, when advertisers dont renew contracts, annual members dont renew memberships, donors renege on intended gifts. Hobble along another year then 2020 show reality.

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  6. Joe says:

    Don’t you just love it?….We elect Republicans, but, we get the Democrat Agenda.

    What are the odds that an AWB passes the Senate? The House is already a done deal, but after enough Republicans are called ‘racist’ enough times, how many of you all think they’ll cave on the 2nd Amendment next?

    The more of this crap that comes our, the more it burns to know that there were people like Wayne LaPuke just getting rich off campaigning for Gun Rights.

    I know I’ve been ripping Trump on having Prince Jared and Princess Ivanka as his Senior Advisors on ALL issues. If Trump continues to follow them, his Presidency is over.

  7. Chris says:

    We have now lost walmart, Kroger, and even the LDS church.

    NRA’s demise may not be the cause but its sure correlated with a broad shift in opinion on our issue.

    • 399 says:

      The “broad shift in opinion” is more than a little related to the NRA climbing in bed with Donald Trump and his acolytes in 2016. I could never have predicted how it would play out, but I knew it was going to be bad news. My analysis now is that Trump was so sure to polarize public opinion, that anything connected with him was going to have a massive constituency of people who would come to see that issue as “bad.” Less predictable was the extent to which Trump would stir up psychotics and hate-driven characters of all kinds. Now we have been delivered an organization that has discredited itself both by its associations and by the antics of its principals, against a backdrop of more mass-shootings than anyone could ever have expected. It’s a perfect storm that the NRA delivered to us, and which I don’t see any way of stopping.

      • Joe says:

        I’d actually wager to say we lost Kroger and Walmart after Sandy Hook. LDS Church was never ‘politcal’ on the gun issue, but they’ve chosen to become lapdogs of Bloomberg and other Wallstreet and Silicon Valley Democrat Party Billionaire Donors.

        I think you’re right in some ways and wrong in some ways on Trump, as it is beyond him. You’re overblown on Trump being the polarizing figure, and the Democrat Party since 2009 has moved so hard Left, that they are a Party of Stalinism/Maoism. Look at their 2020 field and how far Left they are on every issue and how they are flaunting the imposotion of their agenda. It’s go along or they will stomp your brains, guts, and carcass into the turf.

        The next factor in them getting away with this is that you have a feckless GOP that is really nothing more than staged opposition at this point. They’re interested in going to DC to feather their nests, get their political connections, retire after enough time, collect a pension, then go lobby. See Paul Ryan. Trump has turned or is starting to turn leftward on the political issues too.

        Regarding the NRA, they were really just profiteering off of the campaign for Gun Rights, and despite people here at the blog insisting that the NRA got to cozy with the SoCon Movement, it turns out they’re just a wing of the Establishment GOP.

        I’d still hold to my opinion that Big-Tech is the big driver in the gun-control push going on. Their censorship activities of the right (especially on Gun Rights) and active campaigning and propaganda pushing on behalf of the Democrat Party is the true danger before us.

  8. Charlie Foxtrot says:

    So, the NRA apparently hired Wade Callender, the former general counsel for Gearbox Software LLC, to replace David Lehman: https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/06/politics/nra-wade-callendar-gearbox-lobbying/index.html

    • 399 says:

      From that article:

      “He’s a rock-solid individual, a man of high morals, strong Christian values, conservative politically, ex-military. . .”

      So, he fits a profile. I see that in his latest pissing contest with his former employer he was playing the “victimized Christian” card.

      There are certain connections worth keeping an eye on, if only to identify factional alignments. Identifying factions will often tell you which direction things will go.

      • HappyWarrior6 says:

        But you would still be bitching about the choice even if they nominated Rep. Steve King or Sheriff Joe, so what are you going on about?

        BTW this thread = zombie. It just never dies until the next Debbie Downer feed gets flushed on through.

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