The Victory In The Eye Of The Beholder?
GOA Racks up Huge Victories from Coast-to-Coast” the email proclaimed. “Candidates backed by Gun Owners of America scored tremendous wins….”
The “no-compromise gun lobby” was referring to the results of the Nov. 2010 midterm elections, where Republicans recaptured the House and took an unstoppable majority away from Senate Democrats.
“In many cases, GOA was the only national pro-gun organization to actively oppose Nancy Pelosi’s ‘Blue Dog’ Democrats,” the announcement continued. “Our aggressive opposition to these Representatives—who are mistakenly considered to be somewhat conservative—was well worth the effort as Pelosi has now been reduced to minority status.”
This was a thinly-disguised reference to the National Rifle Association’s “single issue” endorsement policy that included support for many presented as “pro-gun Democrats.”
“We are a non-partisan organization, and we don’t base any grade or any endorsement on a party affiliation,” Institute for Legislative Action executive director Chris Cox explained in a National Review Online interview. “We have a pro-incumbent policy,” he added.
This did not go over well with the GOP establishment, which apparently feels a sense of entitlement, despite fielding a few outright miserable choices like “assault weapon” ban bill author Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Dan Coats of Indiana, who had previously supported both the Brady Bill and the federal semi-auto ban.
“National Republicans are furious with the National Rifle Association, their natural ally,” Z. Byron Wolf of ABC News reported, “for endorsing 58 incumbent Democrats who support gun rights. And with Republicans aiming to win control of the House, some are promising retribution for the NRA next year.”
As expected, claims of victory came not only from the actual winners, but also from those desperate to put a good face on a bad outcome.
“Supporters of common sense restrictions on guns, from both political parties, won a number of US Senate seats,” the Brady Campaign postured, citing the afore-mentioned Kirk as their poster boy for triumph.
“On the Democratic side, gun control supporters Senators Barbara Boxer in California; Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand in New York; Ron Wyden in Oregon, Barbara Mikulski in Maryland and Daniel Inouye in Hawaii won. Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut, Michael Bennet in Colorado and Chris Coons in Delaware were elected to the Senate as well,” their release continued.
“This shows again that support for common sense gun laws will not hurt candidates at the polls,” Brady president Paul Helmke implausibly claimed.
Fortunately, author and attorney David B. Kopel (see “Aiming for Liberty,” Aug. 2010 “Quartermaster”) was able to put this in perspective.
“US Senate: The net result of Tuesday was a gain of +6 votes on Second Amendment issues,” he wrote in the New Ledger. “In not a single US Senate seat did the gun control lobby gain ground.”
There’s no question the elections give cause for hope. But unless the “pro-gun” representatives show a willingness to challenge the status quo, rebuff new citizen disarmament attempts and start repealing existing edicts, I’d hold off on proclaiming “Mission Accomplished!” and focus on “We have just begun to fight.”
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