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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32 Responses to “Making the NRA toxic — The Bad-Dem Senate pushback has begun”

  1. NameNotGiven says:

    The pro gun control “National march on K street” garnered 100 people according to the Post, all bussed in.

    NRA membership is skyrocketing (I tis already the largest civil rights group in the history of the US), number of households with guns is skyrocketing, and crime s dropping as a result.

  2. Deven W says:

    Did you take two full days to come up with that response?

  3. Deven W says:

    At least mine is separate from my head.

  4. karmanot says:

    ppppffffttttt waste of time.

  5. Nomechick says:

    Mostly agree with your points, although the Okies and Texans did not migrate to the state for PFDs…they came from the oil patch to work in the oil patch. BUT I certainly do not agree with the Begich ad which says “91% of the voters”….which implies 91% of Alaskan voters. The other ads clearly state “79% of Montana voters”….etc. There is no way Begich could vote for any gun legislation, no matter how benign because there is no way 91% of Alaskan voters would back any gun legislation. Nor could Murkowski, who has her own problems. Murkowski won her election as an independent, having lost in the primary to Joe Miller. Although a moderate Republican, Murkowski has to place her votes carefully. Only Young seems safe and I think that’s because we Alaskans (well, not me but most of the other Alaskan voters) don’t mind a colorful, belligerent, arrogant “character’ as long as he brings home the pork.

  6. Deven W says:

    I am very sorry about your husband, I’m sure it has been difficult, especially if you had kids.

    Long term and short term disability can be had for 1-3% of your income, depending on your age, it goes up as you get older.

    I grew up poor and lived poor most of my life. I had to leave college my junior year because I couldn’t pay for the tuition. My household had taken in a bit more than average for 5 of the past 6 years, I worked my butt off and would probably be considered upper-middle class now, but on an average income it is not difficult to put away 13% of your income towards retirement and disability insurance. If the government didn’t take away 13% of it already, you wouldn’t even notice a difference in your paycheck, and you would come out far ahead in the future.

    My point is, yes I can afford to pay the extra bit on top of what the government does. But, my insurance is much better that SS, while less expensive, and my retirement accounts are much better than SS, while less expensive.

    I haven’t read any Ayn Rand, but from what I hear, yes I guess it is the free market approach.

    The problem of course is that if you give many people their own choice in their retirement, they will ignore it completely and end up on the street when they are incapable of working.

    Mandatory private retirement accounts and mandatory disability insurance in the free market would work much better than the government run ponzi scheme we are all a part of now.

  7. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Please share your source for inexpensive insurance. I would be interested in seeing you’re benefits and benefit period. You will also need long term care insurance. For most of us mere mortals, the premiums for these two insurances are not within our means, especially when you consider that we also need to purchase medical, dental, automobile and life insurances. They would take much more of a bite from our incomes than SS or Medicare premiums. Perhaps you’re an Ayn Rand devotee, because you are giving absolutely no thought to those who have normal incomes. Of course, you have yours. Why be concerned about those who don’t have theirs?

    I chose to teach. I knew the income would not be great, but since my husband would be bringing in another income, I knew we would get by. Unfortunately, my husband died three years ago. I can still get by, but much more frugally. How about those who make twenty or thirty thousand less than I do?

  8. Deven W says:

    Guns and Gay Marriage, not principled stands, but distractions from our economy. Whatever your opinions on either of them, good for you, but don’t get too distracted. Gays and straights, gun owners and hysterically emotional wing nuts, Homophobes and Hoplophobes, we’re all going to be equally miserable unless we can get our fiscal house in order.

  9. Deven W says:

    I have disability insurance? Which, by the way, is very cheap. Both long term and short term. So, no, still not needing the government at all.

  10. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I’m certain you could a lot better if you could put that money into retirement accounts, but what will you do if you become totally and completely disabled on July 17, 2013?

  11. Deven W says:

    SS and Medicare… well… If I could keep the 13% of my income that I pay into it, I would have absolutely no problem not taking those benefits when I retire. Actually I put another 13% into my own retirement accounts, and should be able to retire off that when I’m 55 quite comfortably.

    So yeah, SS and Medicare, definitely the wrong side of history. A giant Ponzi scheme where I’ll be lucky to get half of what I put into it.

    And WW2? Really? After WW1 the entire country didn’t want to go to war. It was quite bi-partisan, really. After Pearl Harbor, it became quite bi-partisan to enter the war.

  12. Deven W says:

    Holy revisionist history, batman!

    Actually you can thank conservatives for ending slavery, for women’s suffrage, for black suffrage, and civil rights. Eisenhower and the republicans were the true champions of civil rights. Johnson hijacked it at the end when he knew the dems were going to lose.

    Did you know the KKK was an arm of the democratic party, and the only thing they liked more than lynching republicans was killing blacks?

    Before you spout off about the Republicans being Democrats and the Democrats being Republicans back in the old days, please take a look at the party platforms throughout time. You will find that you’re very wrong in that assumption.

  13. nicho says:

    When I was a cub reporter in a corrupt town many many moons ago, there was a contentious school committee meeting one night. They were in a deadlock, and needed a two thirds vote to break it. One of the guys had to pee and asked for a recess. The chairman, who was on the side who wanted to break the deadlock, said no. If the guy had left the room without a recess, there would have been enough votes to break the deadlock. Finally, after about a half hour of squirming, the guy just got up, opened the window, and peed out the window.

  14. nicho says:

    Actually conservatives have been on the wrong side of almost any issue you can name — whether it’s slavery, segregation, women’s rights, whatever. Conservatives are the douchebags of history.

  15. There is no allotted time in senate rules. Once ya have the floor, theoretically, you can go on for infinity assuming, of course, that ya have a secret pee-pee bottle hidden in the lectern.

  16. Hell, just deny it.

    After all, what what does being nailed on video and the truth have to do with your bagger base still disbelieving reality and voting for ya anyways?

    The crazier ya are, the more fervent these knuckle-draggers are.

    I say GO FOR IT!

  17. Don’t forger the E-meter.

  18. BeccaM says:

    Me too. “No sorry, we can’t rewind. It’s just not possible.”

    Then, to the Australian politicians, “Look, I can rewind and you can try that again. I know I told someone else I couldn’t, but I was lying.”

  19. Swami_Binkinanda says:

    For Begich there are some Alaska specific problems. First, the corrupt bastards’ club of the late Ted Stevens and that senator’s loss of his seat was a fluke that Begich will have to work very hard to prevent the Tea Party militia freaks of Alaska from reversing. Joe Miller, hypocrite and scumbag wingnut, is running against Begich with the help of outside (Koch, Olin, etc.) money and started polling months ago looking for a weak spot. Guns in Alaska are religion and (white, mostly) people move to and live in Alaska because they want that “last frontier” feeling. Many are people for whom Montana and Wyoming are too populous and citified. Case in point: the Michigan Militia idiots have added their imbecility to the political mix, adding to the oil field Okies, Texans, and other colorful rural folk who have migrated to the state for PFDs and third world lifestyles. If Begich votes for gun control in any way shape or form he is politically toast.

    Second, Alaska has a huge rural indigenous population of people who hunt for substantial portions of their food. Many of these people have unique and colorful relationships with the legal system and a background check system would leave them unable to feed themselves and their families-no bowhunts, no snaring allowed by regulation. Too late to go back to the caveman days and unable to maintain their traditional ways of life, the Alaska Native would be forced to move into town to fight for jobs in already tight and racially biased against them job markets.

  20. Papa Bear says:

    “…living in a hut in the woods…”…? No, no, no — the Italians had it right.

    Lampost, nicho, lampost…

  21. Papa Bear says:

    I loved the part where the US guy, after being chided by the interviewer, said “Can we re-do that part of the interview?”

  22. BeccaM says:

    Nah, I think most of the retirees see those vast piles of lobbyist money and speech money and wingnut welfare sweetheart book deals and want a share for themselves.

    I saw part 2 of Jon Oliver’s brilliant segment on The Daily Show the other night, where he compared gun laws in Australia and the U.S. — and there was an amazing bit where he asked “What’s the most important goal in politics?” (The context being that difficult votes can have a political cost for a person’s career.)

    The Australian leaders all responded with, “The most important thing is to serve the people and do what’s right, even if it’s hard.” The immediate response from the U.S. guy was, “Get re-elected.”

  23. BeccaM says:

    Nice to know you think America’s entry into World War 2 was a mistake, and that we really should’ve let Britain, France, the rest of Europe and the entire Pacific Rim fend for themselves.

    And here’s hoping you’ll do the “right side of history” thing and refuse to accept Social Security retirement and Medicare benefits — because these were also passed by the Democrats.

  24. RonThompson says:

    Do you understand that there is a difference between resigning and retiring?

  25. karmanot says:

    But an asshole is always wrong….congratulations.

  26. Deven W says:

    The gun debate is a godsend for Republicans, lets only hope that it carries into the elections next year.

    Democrats pride themselves for always being on the right side of history. Which is quite funny because they’ve always been on the wrong side of history. This will be another example. Perhaps the only time Democrats can legitimately make that claim is for gay marriage. Good for you guys, I guess. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  27. jomicur says:

    Maybe they’re all quitting because each of them has finally realized that being in the senate involves working on a daily basis with 99 of the other most disgusting creatures in the republic. Liars, thieves, con artists, thimbleriggers… Personally, I couldn’t set foot in the senate chamber without a good store of barf bags, a few gallons of Pepto-Bismol and a good, sturdy colostomy bag.

  28. nicho says:

    The problem is that shame doesn’t work any more. It used to be that if a person did something reprehensible, they would withdraw from public life — or they would be shunned by decent people. There was a fine tradition in which, if a man did something shameful, whenever he entered a room, decent men would get up and leave.

    Now, politicians and members of the one percent wear their shame like a badge of honor. It doesn’t stop them from putting themselves out in front of the public and bragging. Just look at Bush and the opening of his library. He’s a guy who should be living in a hut in the woods, trying to avoid facing normal people. Instead, he gets a freaking library — just like the traitor Nixon, and the mentally ill Reagan.

    I had to laugh the other day when reading about the two jerks involved in the investigation over the ricin letters. One of the suspects was suing the other for defamation because he had claimed that the guy was a member of Mensa. Only in the US would you sue someone for claiming that you were smart.

  29. nothardly says:

    How about some kick about jobs???? Where is that outrage?

  30. Drew2u says:

    How does Rand Paul’s talking filibuster differ from the secret filibuster in how he is able to talk past any allotted time without being removed from the floor?

  31. NotoriousPAT says:

    How about making the filibuster toxic instead?

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