Fri Dec 21, 2012, 05:26 PM
DonViejo (14,961 posts)
TNR: The NRA's Emperor Has No Clothes
December 21, 2012
For two decades now, the legend of the National Rifle Association has grown in Washington. They were the most feared lobby of all, as influential and professionally run as the AARP or AIPAC but with the literal firepower behind them to enhance the aura of intimidation. They could get just about everything they wanted. Republican candidates came to their conventions to pay annual tribute: "This fine organization is sometimes called a single-issue group. That’s high praise when the single issue is freedom," said Mitt Romney in his speech to the group in April. Meanwhile, even liberal Democrats tip-toed around the group as if it was the big troll hiding under the bridge. In 2010, House Democrats added an explicit NRA carve-out to their failed legislation requiring disclosure of donors to outside groups buying campaign ads.
But this cloak of power was stripped away today at NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre's press conference on the Newtown shootings, revealing the NRA as a lobby with no clothes, or at least nothing but a holster strapped to the ankle (would that count as open carry?). LaPierre's rambling statement on the shootings wasn't really any more more far-out than anything else he's been saying the past few years. ("All of what we know is good and right about America, all of it could be lost if Barack Obama is reelected," he said earlier this year.) But this was the first time many in Washington and across the country had actually focused squarely on him and his organization in a long time, and this newfound focus, combined with the post-Newtown context in which LaPierre was speaking, was enough to make the NRA seem utterly, surreally amateurish and out of touch. You could all but hear the question rising around Washington: We've been letting ourselves be led around by these guys?
It was hard to say what was most tone-deaf about the statement, the first such one that the NRA has ever given after a mass shooting. The call to install armed guards in every American schoolhouse? "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun." The call to develop a national database of the mentally ill (while continuing to resist efforts to register and track guns, of course)? The shifting of blame to an entertainment industry that, irresponsible as it may be in its glorification of violence, has hardly less of a hold in countries with vastly lower levels of gun homicides? "Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?" LaPierre asked. And isn't the gun industry profiting hugely from people who can act on those fantasies to stock up on their own private arsenals—and in fact marketing their products on specifically those grounds, as magical testosterone-enhancers?
Above all, of course, there was the utter absence of any gesture toward the sort of new regulation that could mitigate if not prevent future Newtowns, and that many, many gun owners would be glad to support, whether it's limits on military-style rifles, expanded magazine clips, or closing of the gunshow loophole and other blatant gaps in existing requirements for background checks to make sure guns don't end up in the wrong hands. This was profoundly startling to those of us who have become used to lobbies and special interests adept at playing the game of public relations and tactical compromise—heck, even Wall Street was willing to accept some new restraints on its behavior post–financial crash.
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Response to DonViejo (Original post)
Fri Dec 21, 2012, 05:43 PM
Iggy (1,418 posts)
2. uhhhh, it's the MIC that doesn't have any clothes
it's more than a bit astonishing the completely hysterical, knee-jerk reaction here against LaPierre's speech today-- when in fact he is totally correct about at least one thing:
we do spend BILLIONS per year on "aid" to arsehole nations like Pakistan... and let's throw in the $2 Trillion congress has thus far wasted on bush's two wars of choice.
Given the Billions of dollars wasted in just the last 11-12 years, I'm supposed to be dumb enough to believe "we can't afford" $80K per year for armed security guards in our schools and universities??
uhhh, no, I'm not that stupid or gullible.