Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Remember How GOP Strategists Used To Get So Excited About "Guns And Gays?" No More


The gun lobby power derives from support of cowardly politicians like Ted Strickland

Gays used to be a big GOP issue. The tide has turned and now most Republican electeds-- other than in a few backwards Confederate districts-- would rather it not be brought up. Guns as an issue is turning around too. It was once a winner for the GOP and now... Democratic strategists are eager to use gun massacres as a cudgel against Republicans this year. The vast majority of Americans want background checks and support the Democrats' in their quest to close the loophole that the Republicans and the NRA insist on that suspected terrorists who aren't allowed to fly are allowed to buy guns, including military assault rifles. The Republicans are in an almost indefensible position. The Republicans and a small handful of right-wing Democrats who vote with them and the NRA.

It makes it awkward for the DCCC, for example, to spend $4,000,000 on reelecting super-conservative Minnesota Blue Dog Collin Peterson when he consistently (100% of the time) votes with the Republicans on everything the NRA wants-- including the right to sell guns to terrorists. Yesterday, writing for Politico, Elena Schneider showed how "in Ohio, Nevada, Florida, and elsewhere, Democrats who were once cozy with the NRA are facing questions and attacks in primaries. What Schneider doesn't point out, though, is that most of the NRA-Democrats are across-the-board conservatives, far more likely to back toxic portions of the GOP agenda-- from gutting Obamacare and EPA environmental protections to working to undercut consumer protections regarding Wall Street and food safety-- than normal Democrats. Peterson, in fact, is a perfect example, going so far as to vote with the GOP on virtually every crucial matter and even against raising the minimum wage!

Two weeks ago we pointed to Darren Soto in the Orlando area as a complete NRA shill, but he's one of the Florida state legislators most likely to vote with the GOP on a wide range of issues. He's locked in a tight primary battle for the seat Alan Grayson is giving up to run for Rubio's now virtually abandoned Senate seat. And last week we pointed to the crass hypocrisy of longtime NRA-worshipper John Oceguera trying to win a congressional seat in a blue district by flip-flopping on his erstwhile NRA allies. Schneider, (Politico) completely pulls her punches-- muddying the issue in both races with typical Beltway reporting-- in describing the same two instances:
A House candidate in Nevada, former state House Speaker John Oceguera, worked to build up his pro-gun credentials before a 2012 run for Congress. The Democrat is running again in 2016 but singing a different tune: Oceguera said he was “fairly pro-gun” in the past, but he thought “enough was enough” when Congress voted down a pair of gun-control measures a day after the San Bernardino attacks. Oceguera then renounced his NRA membership. Another candidate in a four-way primary, state Sen. Ruben Kihuen, recently wrote a letter urging his state legislative colleagues to ban people on the terrorism watch list from buying guns, a popular proposal that nevertheless failed in Congress recently.

In central Florida, near where George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin in 2012, two Democrats are already fighting over their gun-safety bona fides. State Sen. Darren Soto, long mentioned as a future Democratic star, earned an “A” rating from the NRA in 2012. His record in the state Legislature includes a controversial vote regarding leaving guns in workplace parking lots, a measure that was opposed by Disney and other major Florida corporations.

One of Soto’s current opponents for Congress, former Alan Grayson aide Susannah Randolph, said Soto told constituents he would “vote like a strong Democrat,” but when he got to Tallahassee, “he got swept up into a go along, get along… That’s not understanding the real world consequence of your vote, and that’s disturbing.”

Soto’s campaign countered Randolph’s assertion, saying that he supports expanding background checks for gun sales and banning sales to those on the federal no-fly list. “I stand for common sense gun reform and hope to bring that common sense to Washington,” Soto said in a statement.
The most glaring problem for the Democrats, though, isn't necessarily the DCCC's. The DSCC has a much worse situation. A young progressive running on a strong gun safety platform, P.G. Sittenfeld, is being sabotaged by Schumer, Tester and the DSCC machinery in favor of one of the NRA's most consistent and fervent allies, conservative Democrat Ted Strickland, who has a long record-- in the House and as governor-- of standing with the Republicans and the NRA, for which the NRA awarded him an A+, even better than how they treated the current NRA-shill in the Senate seat, Rob Portman, who scored an A from the NRA.

The new wave of attention to this issue from the left, which has watched closely as Hillary Clinton embraced gun control from the bully pulpit of a presidential campaign, signals a strategic shift for Democrats in some parts of the country. The party once let its moderate members off the hook on gun-related votes, understanding that Democrats from swing districts needed to hew closer to the NRA’s positions in order to survive politically.

Rep. Robin Kelly, a Chicago Democrat whose first race for Congress in 2013 focused on guns, credits the new power of the issue for her place in the House. “It helped that my opponents were ‘A’ rated by NRA,” Kelly said in an interview. “If we were all ‘F’ rated [by the NRA], maybe, who knows what would’ve happened.”

“It’s now a wedge issue, not just between Democrats and Republicans, but between Democrats, over who can be the strongest on this issue,” said Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the grass-roots arm of an advocacy group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Everytown for Gun Safety.

While Democratic voters are virtually all-in supporting stricter gun laws-- 76 percent back such legislation, the latest CBS/New York Times poll found-- candidates like Strickland built their records when the issue was less of a litmus test in the party. Now, with gun violence at the front of Democrats’ minds, old votes and positions are coming back to haunt candidates with records that once fit loosely within the Democratic Party.

Strickland compiled an NRA-friendly voting record in the House of Representatives, and the group endorsed him for governor over Republican John Kasich in 2010. But Strickland’s position shifted after the Sandy Hook tragedy in 2012. He has spoken in favor of the universal background check bill introduced soon after. “He would have voted for it in 2013,” said Jennifer Donohue, an Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman. “He continues to support it today.”

According to Strickland opponent P.G. Sittenfeld’s campaign, Strickland “has now experienced an election-year conversion on the subject of guns,” said Dale Butland, Sittenfeld's campaign spokesman. “Ohio Democrats will have to decide in March if that conversion is sincere or merely politically expedient.”

...“It depends on their overall record,” said one national Democratic strategist, granted anonymity to discuss primaries. “So if it’s one issue or one vote with a reasonable explanation, that’s one thing, but if it’s part of a larger pattern, of a conservative versus liberal voting record, then it’s a problem.”
Luckily for conservative Democrats like Henry Cuellar, Collin Peterson and Ted Strickland, the corporate media doesn't have staff capable of anything as abstract as figuring out patterns than span years of playing footsie with conservatives, sometimes-- as in the case of Strickland-- on more than one job.

Watch, this video and decide if you think you should contribute to P.G. Sittenfeld's campaign here. As he said, "Any politician who lacks the courage to take on the NRA and to stand up against the slaughter in our streets, does not deserve to represent Ohio in the Senate of the United States." Maybe someone needs to tell arch-hypocrites like Chuck Schumer and Jon Tester as well.

NOTE To Regular DWT Readers:

Noah's year in review is coming very soon. It's called It's Republican World!" And, as you know, "Republican World" is the alternate universe of the mind that Republicans live in. Lot's of holiday fun!

Labels: , , , , , ,


At 4:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democrats aren't going to do much about guns - AGAIN! The entire focus of real Democratic Party action appears to be involved with ensuring that Bernie Sanders doesn't prevent the coronation of Hillary Clinton as America's First Female President. Everything else that erstwhile Democratic voters might want will be sacrificed to that goal, one which will entrench corporatism as the ruling system of this nation.


Post a Comment

<< Home