In yesterday’s Washington Post, columnist E.J. Dionne takes President Obama to task for not standing up to "NRA bullies" and not doing enough to restrict the rights of gun owners nationwide. He also levels criticism at NRA for giving the President a metaphorical “slap in the face” by not agreeing to sit down with the President and his administration to seek common ground. Dionne misses the mark badly on several points.
In calling his White House meetings with leading gun-ban proponents, President Obama has called for NRA to “compromise” on Second Amendment and criminal justice issues. But I say there can be no compromise on the freedoms that generations of Americans have fought with their lives to protect.
Of course NRA would refuse to sit down with a group of people who have spent their entire lives working to infringe upon Americans’ Second Amendment freedoms. These folks are on record with their desire to ban firearms, ration gun purchases for law-abiding Americans, and give the anti-gun elitists at the United Nations the authority to regulate the firearms trade and dictate U.S. gun policy.
No doubt they would like a meeting with NRA, but it isn’t to find common ground. Even The Huffington Post acknowledges that the President has already lost control of Congress on the issue of imposing more restrictions on gun owners.
Rather, this phony olive branch is a classic campaign season attempt to defang NRA and mitigate the impact that NRA members and supporters will have on the 2012 Presidential Election. And make no mistake, that impact will be huge.
The President has indeed lost control of Congress on the gun issue. He lost control after the 2010 midterm elections, where 22 million NRA members and supporters (according to a recent Zogby poll) turned out to vote against any candidate remotely affiliated with President Obama and his anti-gun ideology.
When the dust cleared on November 2 last year, 11 new Senators were A-rated by NRA on Second Amendment issues, one was B-rated, and eight F and D-rated Senators were either defeated, retired or resigned in 2010. The 112th Congress contains 48 A-rated Senators, three B-rated, and just 32 F-rated Senators, 14 of whom are up for reelection next year.
On the House side, we helped elect 227 NRA-endorsed Representatives. In the 112th Congress, 85 newly elected House members were A-rated by NRA on Second Amendment issues, and 10 F and D-rated congressmen were defeated by voters. In all but one race where an NRA endorsed candidate lost, a pro-gun challenger replaced him.
President Obama and his team haven’t had a change of heart on the importance of our Second Amendment rights. They just want to stop another 2010 from happening in 2012. NRA members won’t be so easily fooled.
Asymmetrical Politics: Republicans Act Like an Unruly Mob, Democrats Like a Regimented Army | Michael Barone