[ Bitter and I were talking about this last night, and I decided she had a lot more to rant about than I did, so I asked her to put it all down, and I’m thus posting it here.Â – Sebastian]
Facts, timeliness, context, facts – those are things best left to others when sending out ALERTS!
Oregon Firearms Federation posted this alert yesterday about an endorsement announcement that’s weeks old. David Keene endorsed Mitt Romney. Woo-freakin-hoo. Who is David Keene, you ask? According to OFF, the major news about Keene is:
That’s bad enough, but now a prominent NRA board member has endorsed an openly anti-gun candidate for president. NRA Board member and second vice president David Keene has endorsed Mitt Romney in spite of Romney’s repeated attacks on gun owners and his promise to do so again if elected.
As Governor of Massachusetts Romney supported and signed a ban on semi-auto firearms. …
David Keene, according to NewsMax, will automatically become president of the NRA in three and a half years.
So, before I dig into every bit of news that’s wrong in this alert, how about we look at who Keene really is in the context of Republican politics:
David A. Keene Has Been The Chairman Of The American Conservative Union Since December 1984. Keene, a major national conservative spokesman since the seventies, has worked in the White House and the Senate, writes a weekly opinion column for The Hill and his articles have appeared in National Review, Human Events and the American Spectator. He has held senior positions in the past presidential campaigns of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and former Kansas Senator Bob Dole.
Context of Keene’s background and his role in a Republican primary paints a different picture, now doesn’t it?
Now, factual problems. As you all know from my blog, I hate Mitt. I am the last person who will get up and say something nice about Romney because I actually lived under his rule in Massachusetts and wouldn’t wish it upon anyone in this country – not even the Massachusetts residents I was so happy to leave behind. However, as I’ve beat my head against the wall trying to tell you people for years, Mitt did not sign any assault weapons ban or even a provision to make it permanent. If anyone was in Massachusetts at the time analyzing the current (at the time) law and the bill (as it passed the House and Senate), they would clearly see that the state law had no sunset clause to begin with. (NOTE: His statements at the presser/signing ceremony should still damn him when it comes to gun owners, but the bill he signed should not.)
Perhaps the most important problem that I have with groups like this that look for any reason at all to attack NRA is that they don’t actually know jack about NRA. For example, no one automatically becomes president of NRA. There’s this pesky little thing called an election. The Board of Directors votes for the officers. Tradition dictates that they serve two years in each position and move up. So by traditional standards, Keene will become president. However, tradition has been bucked before and it easily could in the future.
Maybe OFF leaders have an unusually short memory, but there was that whole Charlton Heston dude. You know, the one who did the dead hands thing? Or maybe you remember him as freakin’ Moses? Yeah, he served for an unprecedented number of terms. He even “jumped” in line, so to speak. And there’s always the possibility that the board members decide that Ron Schmeits shouldn’t be trusted in their minds after running to the WaPo with stories about how other forces can further divide the gun movement on outdoor issues to vote Keene straight to the top after Sigler’s reign. (NOTE: I’m not saying this would happen, just throwing out hypothetical based on any number of reasons – real or imagined.) Point being, it’s patently lying to say that the direction of NRA’s leadership is 100% secure. What it all comes down to are who the members vote on to the Board of Directors. As members, people can change the direction and make up of the Board.
However, the root of the problem with this alert that really gets things wrong is that Keene’s personal endorsement means a damn thing regarding current legislation and/or the presidential primary vote for NRA members. NRA volunteer leaders who in no way represent the organization’s stated positions are allowed to make their own endorsements. There are former staffers working for McCain. There are folks volunteering for Giuliani. There are people volunteering for Fred. Sometimes they make these endorsements based on the gun issue, but more often than not, they are already politically active on other issues and sometimes it’s the entire package they look at to select their candidate.
The best part is that if NRA didn’t allow their volunteers this freedom to support whoever they wish based on any number of personal issues important to them, then groups like OFF would continue to bitch. Really, it just goes to show that ALERTS like these are nothing more than mud slinging for the sake of getting dirty.
To close this already insane long post, anyone who is concerned about how Keene’s personal endorsement might be misconstrued by the campaign or mainstream media to constitute an NRA endorsement should note the campaign release. I noticed something immediately. Go take a look. I’ll wait…
Done reading? Good. Did you see what I didn’t? That’s right, Keene did not allow Mitt to even mention his background with the NRA. David Keene is a smart man, and he knows conservative politics. He knows what even a mention of NRA next to Mitt’s name would cause, and that’s why he isn’t letting them talk about it or talking about it himself. For that, I applaud him. And Keene has my endorsement the next time he’s up for the Board.