Saturday, February 24, 2018

Will There Be Races Where A GOP Candidate Is More Progressive On Guns Than A DCCC Candidate?


The video up top is from 2010 and if you didn't know better you might think Ann Kirkpatrick is a Republican, especially when she starts repeating racist GOP talking points about immigration and criticizing Obama. Just before the 4 minute mark she starts her oft-repeated schpiel about the NRA. The DCCC is crushing the campaigns of local progressives Matt Heinz and Mary Matiela for this carpetbagging blood-soaked murderess who bragged about her longtime love affair with the NRA: Like protecting our rights, like our right to bear and keep arms. And that's why I have an A rating with the NRA." After decades of puplicly licking the NRA's ass she's now trying to pretend she isn't responsible for all the children who have been slaughtered in the schools when she could have walked up to each one of them and shot them in the head for how she has voted on gun legislation. Brian Robinson, Matt Heinz' Campaign Manager spoke out yesterday on the DCCC gun nut: "Ann is what everybody hates and distrusts about career politicians. When she ran for Congress in Flagstaff, she bragged about her NRA A rating, vocally opposed reinstating the Assault Weapons ban, and even praised the NRA as 'one of the country's oldest continuously operating civil liberties organizations.' Make no mistake, the gun crisis is a problem of her making... Maybe if she had spent more time living down here, she would know that Southern Arizonans can spot a fraud from a mile away."

Along with Kirkpatrick (AZ), Jeff Van Drew (NJ) and Anthony Brindisi (NY) are two more of the many right-of-center Republican-lite Democrats who generally see as eye-to-eye with the NRA as your garden variety Republican does. But these three were aggressively recruited by Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Lujan of the DCCC. And yes, Nancy and Ben were very much aware that Kirkpatrick, Van Drew and Brindisi are all gun nut fanatics with long, bloody records of supporting the NRA and of support from the NRA. All three are on the DCCC "Red to Blue Page" and all three have been endorsed by the Blue Dogs and/or the New Dems, together the Republican Wing of the Democratic Party. There are only 24 candidates on the Red to Blue page, representing the exact number of seats the Democrats have to flip to win back control of the House. Most of them are garbage candidates but few are as overtly conservative as Kirkpatrick, Van Drew and Brindisi. The only one I can confirm being a bona fide progressive in the whole lot of them is Lisa Brown (WA), although we're still trying to figure out Andy Kim in New Jersey.

Most of the DCCC candidates are keeping purposefully mum about on guns. Read through their skimpy campaign websites are you'll be hard-pressed to know if they will or won't support a bill to prevent the sale of assault rifles. There are Republicans with better positions on guns than many of the DCCC candidates! Take Brian Mast (R-FL). Generally speaking, Mast is a hopeless and clueless Republican, as awful as the rest of them. Yesterday, however, he penned an OpEd for the New York Times considerably more progressive than what most of the DCCC have done (or would do): I'm Republican. I Appreciate Assault Weapons. And I Support a Ban. He wrote that he supports a ban on the sales of assault or tactical firearms, including the AR-15. Like putative Democrats Kirkpatrick, Van Drew and Brindisi, Mast was elected with the support of the NRA. Unlike the DCCC-Dems, he's breaking with them in a very major way. A decorated and grievously wounded vet from the Afghanistan War, he wrote, "I have fired tens of thousands of rounds through that rifle, many in combat. We used it because it was the most lethal-- the best for killing our enemies. And I know that my community, our schools and public gathering places are not made safer by any person having access to the best killing tool the Army could put in my hands. I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend."

The NRA gave him $4,950 when he ran in 2016 and spent another $26,569 on his behalf to help flip his district from blue to red. He wrote that he doesn't "fear becoming a political casualty" and that although he supports the 2nd Amendment it "does not guarantee that every civilian can bear any and all arms." Many of his positions are sure to drive the NRA folks wild with rage. He wrote that he backs expanding background checks, raising the minimum age for gun purchasers, outlawing bump stocks and that he opposes allowing people barred from flying because of terrorism concerns from purchasing guns. He also backs lifting the ban on federal research into gun violence as a public health threat. Don't be surprised if the NRA seeks revenge by backing New Dem Lauren Baer, whose website says she has a dog named Biscuit but doesn't say how she stands on banning assault weapons, just that she wants to create "a bright future" which includes "enacting common sense gun safety measures that protect our families," something that says nothing and could be a position that any Republican or any Democrat takes.

Last night I reached out to the candidates Blue America has endorsed and asked them if they will vote for an assault weapons ban. Some people have actual lives and it was Friday night so I couldn't reach everyone but everyone I reached seemed quite enthusiastic about an assault weapons ban. The very first response came from Alan Grayson (D-FL) who reminded me that when he was in the House he had already worked on a bill to ban assault weapons. "I introduced a one-sentence bill to accomplish that. I called it the Freedom From Fear Act, HR 5615. The wording was very clear and Grayson's co-sponsor was Barbara Lee (D-CA): "To reinstate the ban on semiautomatic assault weapons." Boom! That's it. Paul Ryan buried it in the House Judiciary Committee and refused to ever allow a vote on it.

Goal ThermometerThe next response was from state Rep. Kaniela Ing from Hawaii. I already knew what his response would be, but of course he'd vote for a ban. "It worked in 1994, and should be reinstated." I love these clear answers with no "ifs," "ands" or "buts." Here are the rest of the responses in the order they came in:

Randy Bryce (WI)- "I would back it. The .223 round is designed to ricochet once it penetrates the body. I'll never forget being taught that in basic training."

Ellen Lipton (MI)- "I back an assault weapons ban. I grew up in Alabama, and i understand hunters. Assault weapons are not for hunting."

Tim Canova (FL)- "Yes, I would back an assault weapons ban. Here’s my two minute statement on the gun crisis and mass shooting."

Paul Clements (MI)- "Yes certainly."

DuWayne Gregory (NY)- "I would definitely support a ban on assault weapons!"

Dan Canon (IN)- "Yeah, I'm not convinced it's the best approach and it's certainly not a panacea, but I'd back anything that had the slightest chance of saving even one kid's life. Anything is better than nothing."

Antoinette Sedillo Lopez (NM)- "Yes, I unequivocally support an assault weapons ban.  Military weapons have no place on our streets."

Lillian Salerno (TX)- "Yes, I will back an assault weapons ban."

Kara Eastman (NE)- "I favor a ban on assault weapon sales. Loudly."

Tom Guild (OK)- "Yes, I will support and vote for a ban on the sale of assault weapons. Thanks for asking."

Wouldn't it be great if the DCCC was on this list with their name crossed out too? (Don't hold your breath)

UPDATE: Democratic Incumbents Who Also Suck

There are plenty of Democratic incumbents in the NRA's pockets and I didn't address that in this post at all. But Darren Soto in the nice blue district (PVI D+5) Alan Grayson used to represent is a good example. After the Orlando massacre Soto tried painting himself as a leader on gun control. "In fact," wrote Peter Schorsch, "the opposite is true. Throughout his 10-year-career in the Florida Legislature, Soto has consistently sided with the gun lobby-- on everything from “Stand Your Ground” to 'Docs vs. Glocks' and more. Soto even received an 'A' rating from the National Rifle Association as a state representative and as a senator.
[In 2015] Soto voted to strengthen Florida’s infamous “Stand Your Ground” gun law (SB 344), making it harder for prosecutors to try gun cases. Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, a black teenager killed in Jacksonville in a 2012 dispute over loud music, urged the Senate Criminal Justice Committee to vote down SB 344. Soto sided with the gun lobby rather than grieving mothers when he voted for the bill, which the NRA deemed a “must-pass priority.”

In 2014, he voted to extend “immunity” to gun owners who brandish their firearms under the “Stand Your Ground” Law (HB 89).

In 2008, Soto voted for a bill to allow employees to bring their guns to work-- even if those employees worked at daycare centers (HB 503). The bill was backed by the gun lobby, including the NRA. Soto also voted to rescind all local gun laws-- including rules against bringing guns into public buildings or city parks. In 2011, he voted for HB 45, a law that prohibits local governments from regulating firearms and ammunition in their communities.

Soto’s pro-gun record is so extreme, he even voted to prohibit doctors from talking to patients about gun safety (HB 155 in 2011). The Florida Pediatric Association opposed the bill (referred to as the “Docs vs. Glocks” bill)-- for asking a patient a question that could save his or her child’s life, a doctor in Florida could lose her medical license or be fined $10,000.

Soto has voted for a number of other bills backed by the gun lobby, including an NRA-backed bailout of gun clubs-- costing taxpayers $1.2 million (HB 33-A) and a 2015 bill (SB 290) that would allow unlicensed gun holders to carry a firearm in an emergency evacuation. His loyalty to the NRA extends even beyond state lines-- he was one of only four Florida Democrats who signed onto a 2009 Supreme Court Amicus Brief opposing a Chicago handgun ban.

Make no mistake-- politicians like Soto have helped create a toxic environment in which the gun lobby reigns supreme in our state.

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At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From this post, it isn't hard to understand that the leadershit of the DINO-Whigs could care less how many people die as long as they remain at the front of the gravy train.

I have sent donations to the opponents of Pelosi, Washerwoman-Schitz, and DINO DiFi - so far. Tim Canova has received some of my funds, and several of Howie's selections will as well.

If this is all I can manage to do to get rid of corporatist DINO-Whigs, then I will do it.

At 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I understand your revulsion to the named democraps, your money is wasted. Even if half of the BA slate wins (the odds of even half winning is nearly zero), the democrap party leadershit is still in charge of democrap policy. And by that I mean their donors who dictate all policy the democraps do and don't do (like anything on guns).

Pelosi, hoyer, Crowley and the next 20 in line won't lose. The "progressives" who might win will start at the bottom and be targeted by the money in their next primary.

There may well be some Rs who are truly better on guns than their democrat or democrap opponent. But, as with the democraps, their party is also held captive by the nra and other money sources. Should those few Rs win, they will be silenced on their gun positions by the constant droning din from their leadershit's nra dictated policy.

This is just another issue which screams for a replacement left party. Absent that, nothing will ever change substantively on guns. Rs' voters need their guns to feel manly. And Ds are far too terrified of upsetting a single "moderate" voter to ever change anything of substance.


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