Making the NRA toxic — The Bad-Dem Senate pushback has begun

I said earlier that anti-NRA and gun safety activists will be pushing back hard against the horrible Senate guns voting. There were several measures voted on, but the most important of them was the watered down Manchin-Toomey amendment to the underlying gun safety bill, a “substituted amendment” designed by Democrat Joe Manchin and Republican Pat Toomey to create something that might pass with 60 votes.

That amendment, weak as it was, went down to defeat 54-46 (because 60 votes are always needed, thanks to Harry Reid). Reid voted No in order to preserve his right to bring it up again, but would have been a Yes if his vote were needed to pass it.

That means that 55 Senators were ready to vote Yes. Of the others, four were Democrats, three of whom were up for election in 2014. Those four — freshman Mark Begich (AK), long-time troglodyte and lobbyist-favorite Max Baucus (MT), freshman Heidi Heitkamp (ND), anti-gay Mark Pryor — are now drawing fire as predicted. Good.

This is not over. If that bill comes up again, we want these four Dems to vote their constituencies and their conscience — yes, this is really a matter of conscience, and NRA money is their “thirty pieces of silver.” Then we can got to work on getting one more Republican.

There are three developments to note — a Maddow report, an in-your-faces ad campaign, and a way for DC residents to show K Street what for. Read on for the details, or click the link to jump.

Rachel Maddow on Max Baucus

Rachel Maddow had a nice segment this week on Max Baucus, who is resigning. It’s short; listen all the way through if you can.

She pivots at the end to an interesting question — why are all these senators resigning at once? — but note the Baucus list of wrongs, and also the anti-Baucus print ad she showed. PCCC is responsible for that ad, and they actually did four of them, one for each Bad Dem listed here. Their list is my list.

PCCC takes out ads against all four Bad Dems Senators

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is one of several groups in the hunt to call out these senators. Their goal is to make the Bad Dems feel so much heat that (god willing) when the Manchin bill comes up again, they will vote Yes the next time.

(My goal is a little different. I want these senators to feel so much heat this time, that they cave. Then, when the Keystone vote comes up, they’re already looking nervously over their shoulders. This is bigger than a one-battle war, and these perps are on the other side of almost all of the coming fights.)

“But what about the NRA?” you may ask. “Don’t they need the NRA to get red-state-elected again?” Glad you asked. The answer is, we’re making an NRA endorsement toxic; flipping it from a gotta-have to a don’t-go-near. We’re flipping the red-state game, changing the equation.

As I wrote earlier:

If there are no consequences, there are no incentives. If gun rights activists won’t go head to head on a really bad vote, one they really care about, they should find new work or a different issue, ’cause otherwise I see losing battles from here till the sun goes dark.

Besides, right-wing Dem senators are arguing that getting re-elected requires bending to the NRA. Let’s show them we can play that game too, and on exactly the same ground. Let’s show them they got it exactly backwards — that bending to the NRA can cost you.

They may claim to need the NRA backing, but they don’t. What they want is the NRA money. This shames them for taking it. All four ads are below. Notice the polling percentages in each state favoring background checks. The least support is in Montana — at 79%. That’s a lot of constituents Baucus said No to on his way to the bank.


These are cropped images, by the way. Each ad also has a list of local endorsements from gun owners. Props to PCCC for doing this right. To view each ad, click the name — Begich, Baucus, Heitkamp, Pryor.

Feel like helping? Spread these ads around. I hear Facebook needs content.

Want to help out even more? Sign the petition.

Want to help out even more than that? Click here and call the Bad Dem Senator of your choice; all four phone numbers are listed. You can even call them all — it’s still a free country, so far.

And if one of them complains and tells you that Dems need to hold the Senate, tell them you’ve figured out just the way to do it — Cast Better Votes.

DC residents: Don’t let the NRA feel forgotten

Because this really is about the money — Judas money, if I wasn’t clear enough, and blood money too — we don’t want the NRA and K Street lobbyists to feel left out. If you’re a DC resident, or just want to come in for the day, today is “March on K Street Day”.

My friends at The Political Carnival have the goods (my emphasis):

Activists to Target NRA “K” Street Lobbyists – Hand Deliver NRA Checks & Post-Mortem Victim Photos

“March on NRA Lobbyists” Begins at Noon, Thursday, April 25th at McPherson Square

Unveiling of new Shepard Fairey anti-NRA artwork

WASHINGTON, DC –Riding a wave of public anger at the Senate’s failure to pass even minimal gun control legislation, a coalition of activists, advocates and campaign finance reformers will lead a march on Washington firearms lobbyists this Thursday, April 25 at NOON. The goal is to drag the lobbyists out of the shadows where they prefer to operate and expose exactly how the National Rifle Association subverts democracy.

The event will begin with a news conference in McPherson Square, where gun violence prevention leaders will lay out the web of influence controlled by the NRA and unveil a new anti-NRA artwork by Shepard Fairey, who produced the most memorable image of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The protest will then move along the K Street corridor, symbolically holding up giant checks from the NRA made out to key lobbying firms and delivering crime-scene photos illustrating the devastating effects of gun violence to those firms’ offices. …

Name them and shame them, and have fun doing it. There’s more information here. It is truly blood money, and you can help say so.

Again, McPherson Square, today (April 25) at Noon. Head on over and raise a fuss. It’s bound to be a good time.

Bottom line

This is just a start, folks. Obama, despite his sometimes timid ways, is continuing the push. So is Obama-friendly MSNBC, whose evening hosts haven’t let up at all. That should tell you something. Reid has the underlying guns bill in his back pocket, and I’ll bet he has plans for it. Groups like PCCC are spending money to keep up the pressure.

All of which means — this is not over yet, and it can be won. Please help if you can. Thanks!


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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