10 months, 3 weeks ago
For the progressives among us, I know what you’re thinking, or at least what you want your fellow progressives to think. It took on all the hallmarks of a major defeat, the gun bill fiasco did. Your President, your progressives in the Senate, and the turncoat Republicans all conspired to push your agenda, and it crashed and burned. You’re heartbroken and outraged at the same time.
You’ve tried to convince yourself that it wasn’t really the defeat it seemed. The tactics are to blame. “While an A rating from the NRA has long been a point of pride for politicians, MAIG is hoping its grades soon will carry the same weight to ensure votes and donations. The Mayors Against Illegal Guns Scorecard will incorporate the voting records, bill co-sponsorships, and public statements of members of Congress to determine a letter grade, NRA-style. MAIG will look at politicians’ stances on high-capacity magazines, background checks, and state authority to establish standards for concealed carry.”
So the evil NRA just outdid you at your own game. Copy their tactics, you will. It must be the tactics, for it couldn’t be that America doesn’t want your gun control. Yet another tactic you’re investigating is to convince yourselves that the NRA isn’t really as powerful as they seem. You will talk enough to make people comfortable with your plans. But you can’t decide if you’ve got the clout. Joe Manchin even admitted “ff the NRA didn’t score this, we would’ve had 15 more votes.”
And oh, there are the excuses. Poor Michael Hirsh has perhaps the best one. ” … it is practically a iron law of politics that the larger the interest group—in this case, the 90 percent of all Americans who want background checks—the less likely it will be able to mobilize against a smaller, more organized and passionate interest group, such as the National Rifle Association.” Nine out of ten people can’t win anything against the one holdout.
But Michael concludes that with enough money, threats, and primaried Senators, you should be able to construct a Senate that is more conducive to your interests. So we’re back to the NRA tactics again – because, you know, it couldn’t be that people aren’t interested in your proposed gun control measures. Surely 90%+ of the people think like you do, sensible people, who just didn’t play a role against that evil behemoth, the NRA. Everyone was bullied by those monsters from the NRA, Wayne and Chris.
I know, you don’t want to believe that the polls are badly misleading when they ask about those ethereal platitudes, as opposed to when the specifics are presented, complicating things for you. You don’t want to believe it even when your own press tells you this. So the 90%+ number must be right, and the evil NRA is to blame, or your own tactics, or lack of money, or something like that. It cannot be that the people aren’t interested in your gun control measures.
So you hate the evil NRA, and harbor even worse thoughts for the gun manufacturers who makes these ever improving products of death, convince Americans that they need them, and hand over the propaganda points to the NRA. They all must be stopped, you think.
True enough, Wayne and Chris get beaten up a bit in the media, but that’s okay. We gun owners expect them to take it, and pay them well for it. We don’t feel too sorry for them. But there is something that you really don’t understand about all of this, and I feel a bit apprehensive in telling you this, rather like I am divulging our secrets. But I just have to say these things.
The way it really works is different than you think.
The NRA is hearing from its constituency (that would be us), and the firearms manufacturers do our bidding. We’re the boss. A firearm hasn’t been fully vetted until it hits the American civilian market (the military forces its folks to use the bidder of choice), and the manufacturers respond to us. They make what we want. They earn our money, and if you think that we sit back and wait for the manufacturers to tell us what to think, just ask Smith and Wesson what happened as a result of their agreement with the Clinton administration.
We send Wayne out with his talking points. We set Chris up to succeed in the printed media. They’re our front men. But we know things you don’t. You see, we have the guns. We know gun owners … we know them at work and church and in our neighborhood. We talk to them. We see them at the range, we discuss things, we learn from each other. We know that this 90% number you’ve thrown around isn’t right. It’s an outright lie. These 9 out of 10 gun owners you’re talking about just don’t materialize in reality. We know. We’re around gun owners every day.
The hard realities of life are sometimes difficult to digest. But the reality is that we own the NRA. You’re directing your hatred at the wrong folks. The firearms manufacturers make what we want. We keep them financially strong. The Senators aren’t really afraid of the NRA or Smith and Wesson or Ruger. They are afraid that smart analysts will figure out what they’re really doing and the gun owning public will be well educated in the finer legal points of the proposed laws.
They may be spewing their hatred for the NRA, but it’s us they really hate. We are the overlords. We are gun owners, and you don’t control the gun base you thought you did. All your base are belong to us. Make your time.