Understand that many a GOP senator will vote against the gun bill knowing that the core GOP vote is with them on this issue. But asking them to do so may be a matter of winning a battle but losing the war. The tea party that just a year ago could do no wrong has, in some states, ventured into areas ranging from ethics in government to fighting nuclear power. On a national basis, the movement is stalling out, and as its members start linking issues such as gun control with what was once considered a fiscally conservative effort, that trend might start to accelerate.
Independent voters, who determine the winners in swing states and comprised a large segment of those who originally backed the tea party effort, are the very same voters who started to abandon the GOP when it pushed for a federal bill to address the state issue of whether Terri Schiavo's husband could terminate her life support. Just look at the national polling numbers from that date. The GOP started to lose supporters nationally and to this very day has had a hard time returning to its heady days of the post-2004 Bush victory.
Perhaps what the GOP, the tea party and the NRA all need are some fresh minds that can reinvent how to package their causes. Clearly, the same old inside-the-Beltway responses coupled with disorganized plans are merely setting the Democrats and President Obama up for more victories and locking Republicans into positions that guarantee defeat.