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The Extent of the NRA's Power

 
 
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... be a shame if anything happened to it.

From Reid Cherlin at GQ:


I asked a Democratic legislative staffer for a first-person description of the NRA's power on the Hill. Here's the response I got, on the condition that I not provide any further identifying information. It's pretty breathtaking.
We do absolutely anything they ask and we NEVER cross them—which includes asking permission to cosponsor any bills endorsed by the Humane Society (the answer is usually no) and complying with their demand to oppose the DISCLOSE Act, neither of which have anything to do with guns. They've completely shut down the debate over gun control. It's really incredible. I'm not sure when we decided that a Democrat in a marginal district who loses his A rating from the NRA automatically loses reelection. Because it's not like we do everything other partisan organizations like the Chamber [of Commerce] or NAM [National Association of Manufacturers] tell us to...

Pandering to the NRA is the probably worst part of my job. I can justify the rest of it—not just to keep the seat, but because I believe most of the positions he takes are consistent with what his constituents want. But sucking up to the NRA when something like Colorado happens is hard to stomach.

I have always understood that Al Gore's victory in 2000 was the defining moment. Why this was so has never been clear to me, but I expect it was really just the culmination of the decades long quixotic attempt to appeal to rural white males. (Gun culture is pervasive throughout the country, of course, but these are the people for whom this issue is paramount.) I doubt their total and complete capitulation has bought them a single vote they wouldn't have had anyway, but it's part of conventional wisdom at this point that any attempt to even discuss guns will result in a GOP sweep so powerful that the Democrats will never again hold a majority.

I have always thought this was nonsense and what this trembling stillness under the NRA's boot heel showed most Americans was simple cowardice, but I could be wrong. It's so far gone at this point that lunatics dressed up in Robocop gear can mow down 75 people at a clip with legally purchased firepower that's only appropriate for a warzone and all anyone can do about it is express sympathy for the victims and "move on." It's embarrassing. And sick.

The NRA's hold over American politics is a perfect symbol of right wing politics in the 21st century. They're thugs. 

Update: Hiyo

Good for the president.

 
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