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So you're the National Rifle Association and you're on defense because you've staked out a position against expanded background checks for gun purchases. Senators across the country who backed your position are finding their popularity nosedive, while your opponents have gained ground. You've got a problem, and you decide to fix it.

But who in their right mind would fix it like this?

The National Rifle Association is going after Sen. Joe Manchin in a new 30-second ad.

The ad plays footage from one of Manchin’s 2010 campaign ads for senate, where the West Virginia Democrat boasts his NRA endorsement as he loads a rifle and shoots a copy of the cap and trade bill, while saying he’ll “protect our Second Amendment rights.”

“That was Joe Manchin then. But now, Manchin is working with President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” an announcer says. “Concerned? You should be. Tell Senator Manchin to honor his commitment to the Second Amendment and reject the Obama-Bloomberg gun control agenda.”

Sure, the NRA could have taken a different approach, adopting the position shared by Joe Manchin and almost all Americans that commercial gun transactions ought to be subject to background checks. After all, that used to be the NRA position. But that would have made too much sense for today's NRA. So instead of doing the smart thing—and the right thing—now the NRA has decided to make opposition to expanded background checks a litmus test.

But perhaps there is a logic to the NRA's position. After all, they are basically a front for the gun lobby. And the easier it is for criminals to get guns, they probably think the greater the demand will be among law-abiding citizens to arm themselves for protection. It's an old-fashioned arms race. And the more guns that get sold, the more money the NRA's financial backers will make. But if that's their logic, they're forgetting one thing: It only works if they keep on winning elections. And come 2016, you can bet your bottom dollar that they aren't going to beat Joe Manchin.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:22 AM PDT.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA, Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA), and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Someone needs the clip from Morning Joe (10+ / 0-)

    This was covered this morning.

    Great reaction to the fact that the ad shows Obama photoshopped to appear much more darker-skinned then he actually is.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 08:27:06 AM PDT

  •  Calling Manchin's office.... (8+ / 0-)

    from my 304 area code and telling him AGAIN, that I respect this stand and this is the issue that will make ME campaign for him or donate to him.  I would vote for him anyway, because I am such a yellow dog Democrat and the Republicans who run here are really nuts.  

    You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

    by murrayewv on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 09:00:52 AM PDT

  •  Manchin has dropped in the polls, but it could (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, slowbutsure, unionblue, Matt Z

    just be temporary. Don't worry too much about it. It's a long time until the next election.

    Would help from Bloomberg or Daily Kos help him or hurt him? Would they be willing to give it?

  •  Manchin's gun ad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slowbutsure, tytalus

    Won him the election.  

    Now he's having it turned against him.

    Live by the sword die by the sword.

    His poll numbers are dropping here. I'm not sure it will hurt him in the long run. It didn't hurt Clinton here.

    However for every bit that abortion has receded as an issue here esp in So WV the gun issue has got stronger.

  •  It should be obvious (5+ / 0-)

    that the NRA welcomes crimes committed with guns. Instead of saying

    And the easier it is for criminals to get guns, they probably think the greater the demand will be among law-abiding citizens to arm themselves for protection.
    I would say that the NRA is deliberately fomenting gun crime in order to provide flimsy excuses for their propagandizing.
  •  Whistling Past the Graveyard (3+ / 0-)

    I know it is not a popular position here on DK (kind of like saying Obama might be pro-Security State and pro-1% a few years ago...), but the gun issue is, and always will be a loser for Democrats.

    In fact, we can revisit this issue a year or so from now, and I am willing to bet the recalls in CO will have succeeded, and Bloomberg's efforts against Red State Dems will have failed.

    There is a truism in politics that although not what people like to believe should be accepted as gospel truth:

    Due to unfamiliarity about the subject, Democrats should never talk about issues surrounding guns and Republicans should never talk about issues surrounding vaginas.

  •  This is sort of weird (0+ / 0-)

    because previously the NRA cadres kept themselves a significant number of Red state/district Democratic politicians so that in periods of Democratic trifecta control of state or federal government, they could split Democrats enough to prevent passage of regulation.  

    This of course could be and gets leveraged a bit beyond gun issues into Republican election success in swing districts and swing states, which is why I've considered the NRA cadres largely a front group generally operated more for the GOP than the gun lobby.

    Manchin would seem to be the perfect sort of politician to keep in the NRA stable under this general strategic picture.

    But this sort of thing and various other recent developments do seem to say that the Right sees a change in the strategic landscape.  West Virginia is now a solidly Republican state in Presidential elections and Republicans will probably take over the state House and the open U.S. Senate seat.  Nick Rahall (D) 's margins in U.S. House elections keep shrinking and he's surviving due to incumbency rather than Party.  Manchin's popularity has dipped greatly in significant increments from his governor days as his constituents judge him with ever more partisan eyes; his days look numbered.     In short, Democratic prospects in West Virginia generally and Manchin's in particular are to lose majorities and offices.  The place is going Red.  

    So as a political calculation, the NRA is probably right that Manchin can be written off, i.e. triaged, as a politician useful to their purposes long term.  He serves them short term and can hardly back off from that now.  Which makes him attractive as a target to make an example of.  Maybe these ads are designed to prevent his shearing out short term or to undo him long term.

    In the bigger picture, 2014 looks as if the trend since 2010 of extinction of the conservative Democrats elected in Red districts and states is going to continue.  And Democratic politician replacement will continue to shift their caucuses in D.C. and elsewhere more liberal and more committed to gun regulation.   In short, the Right/conservative wedge strategy employed since the 1960s- to keep Democrats in schism, on guns or other matters- is losing structural basis as the last significant numbers of conservative Democrats become Republicans or die out as a voter demographic.  The variety of politician they prefer shrink in numbers in elected office along with themselves.

    This is well known in both Parties.  The NRA may have decided recently that it might as well give up on some or all of the conservaDems already, ahead of other interest groups and the party apparatus.

  •  We'll see how well that works out... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, Matt Z, LilithGardener

    my guess is Manchin will survive just fine and now they've made an enemy out of him.

  •  He should do one with the polls showing that (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62, tytalus, BachFan, Matt Z

    the people wanted background checks and that was ALL he was doing....

  •  A very simple message (7+ / 0-)

    But now, Manchin is working with President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” an announcer says. “Concerned? You should be.

    He's working with a black guy and a Jewish guy!  Get the pitchforks and torches!

  •  An old fashioned arms race... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, tytalus, Matt Z, LilithGardener

    ...well-stated.  They are counting on escalating gun sales, both to the bad guys, AND to the law abiders who need the protection.  The fear stoked is much like the fear stoked during the Cold War about the Commies (the bad guys).  The problem is that detente was possible with truly doomsday weapons.  That's why the war was "cold".  But this is a stockpiling of weapons that are regularly used, and regularly used to kill and maim people.

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:52:46 AM PDT

  •  The left needs better branding (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, eps62, Matt Z, LilithGardener

    The NRA represents the "Wall Street / Wal-Mart profit agenda."

    I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

    by CFAmick on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 10:58:19 AM PDT

    •  Good point (0+ / 0-)

      Get the gun industry in the same emotional category as private equity (which in fact typically owns them) and maybe people can take a more balanced view.

      Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

      by Dogs are fuzzy on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 01:09:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, many people LIKE Wal-Mart, especially in (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      less urbanized areas.  It is often the least expensive with the biggest selection.  They don't see how it killed Main st. or dumps its employees on taxpayer-paid medicaid.  They just know it saves them some $, especially cause it keeps telling them so.

      A better ad would be to run the Convicts letter where he thanked NRA for making sure he can get another gun when he gets out to do more crime.  The ask: "Background checks only keep criminals, terrorists and crazy people from getting guns.  Why would the NRA try to trick you into making sure criminals, terrorists and crazy people get guns?"

      The voters are not stupid on this, which is why 80-90% support it.  Its just the rabid 10% who only vote on this issue have an outsized impact bc too many of the rest don't understand they have to vote D to stop the NRA and Thugs playing them for fools.

  •  They are making an example of him (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tytalus, prfb, Matt Z, LilithGardener

    He's not up for reelection for a long time. It's a warning to others running in the upcoming election not to buck the NRA or there will be a price to pay. Obama tried to explain why guns are a big issue in states like WV but got mocked for it.  People know the American dream is slipping away but don't know how it happened. Nobody is talking about why people can't get a good paying job ever since the steel mills and the glass factories closed down so let's talk about issues like guns that can be explained in a 10 second ad. I don't always agree with Manchin, but I do on this issue. People should let him know.


  •  But not one word in PA about Pat Toomey's vote? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Do you think it has something to do with the (R) after his name?  You would think they would be just as hard on Pat Toomey (after all, it was the Manchin-Toomey Bill) but somehow, he has escaped the wrath of the NRA.

    It makes me laugh that they talk about Obamabots but a guy with a lifetime rating of A+ from the NRA is now their enemy.

  •  You are forgetting the 12 word 2nd amendment. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eps62, tytalus
    The right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed.
    24/7 gun responsibility has become whenever gun responsibility with granny back up.

    NRA rules. I remember when Rush was king. Things change. NRA is going down.

    •  Yeah, people who are that combo of careless (0+ / 0-)

      and paranoid, to carry a loaded gun in their back pocket, and lose it on an amusement park ride, are a walking menace.

      There is no right to create a menace for others. Whenever Mr. short attension span, can keep track of the guns in his pocket, he is creating a menace for others. Really shatters the argument, "I needed it for self defense."

      No you didn't need it, because if you did you wouldn't have been so careless to not notice it fell out of your back pocket, after you sneaked it into the park. This is another jerk, like those, who attempt to board planes every day, having "forgotten" that they carried a loaded gun into the security check.

      When his kid shoots a friend, can we use this incident to show a history of gross negligence?

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:03:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice add (5+ / 0-)

    NRA might just as well have said "Look at Joe working with the N Word and the NYC J_W". I hope someday these dog whistle ads will cost more votes than they win. NRA gets more despicable by the minute.

  •  It only just occurred to me, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    although smarter people have probably said it long ago: why doesn't the NRA leave it to the SCOTUS to defend the Second Amendment? After all, that's their job, and we have a heavily conservative court that has consistently upheld the rights of gun owners.

    Is it possible the NRA is actually defending something other than the Second amendment? What could that possibly be?

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 12:47:01 PM PDT

    •  Yes, they are stoking fear and irrational gun (0+ / 0-)


      It's a marketing strategy.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Thu Jun 13, 2013 at 06:04:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I mean... (0+ / 0-)

    Bloomburg and Manchin are shaded in the add too. We can let this one go, really.

  •  Basically the ad says (0+ / 0-)

    the black guy and the New York Jew want your guns.

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