The NRA’s Jump-the-Shark Ad Using Obama’s Daughters and Attacking Him as “Elitist Hypocrite” Could Backfire


Actually, you can’t say jump the shark because it goes beyond that: the NRA has an ad calling President Barack Obama a hypocrite for allowing his daughters to be protected by the Secret Service but balking at armed guards at schools. And you could say it’s jumping the shark. This will likely continue the current course where the NRA is shifting in the way the general public sees it from being a serious interest group promoting a goal to a fringe element largely of one political party because it’s language increasingly paints it as a)partisan b)ideologically extreme.

The NRA will still have considerable clout in Congress, particularly among House Republicans. But with ads using language like this — it seems to be what you’d expect to see on Sean Hannity or hear on Rush Limbaugh rather than offering even an emotionally reasoned argument — it will have problems expanding its tent and may start to see some of its clout diminish within the Republican Party itself.

It’ll hurt the NRA for several reasons: a)Presidents’ kids aren’t used in political ads b) Barack Obama has not said he is opposed to security in schools c)it won’t win over any people who are wavering and paints the NRA more than ever as a political niche group.

Its biggest problem may be this: its hyper-partisan tone, name-calling, use of a President’s children will gain it cheers from people who are conservative Republicans but for those who may not be or who are Republicans torn between defending anything that comes close to in their view infringing on the second amendment and taking some steps to regulate guns, the ad could be a turn off. They may sympathize with of the NRA’s opposition to Obama’s proposals, but will see the NRA as one more group using verbal overkill and acting out political hatred rather than trying to win by fostering overpowering arguments. It’s the old story about smelling like a skunk if you lie down with it. CNN:

The National Rifle Association released a new television commercial Tuesday night charging President Barack Obama of hypocrisy for being “skeptical” about placing armed guards at schools, while his own two daughters are protected by the U.S. Secret Service.

“Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” a narrator says in the 30 second ad. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school.”

The commercial is running on the Sportsman Channel, a cable network focused on outdoors programming such as hunting and fishing. It is also posted on a dedicated web site “Stand and Fight.”

On Wednesday, Obama is set to unveil a new set of proposals that would place very tough restrictions on the ownership and sale of firearms.

In the ad, the narrator only mentions Obama by name, but it also features images of Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NBC anchor David Gregory. Bloomberg is an influential voice in favor of stricter gun laws and has dipped into his personal fortune to help fund a lobby campaign, and Feinstein, a California Democrat, is helping spearhead a congressional effort to enforce tougher gun laws.

The ad:

In the Great Minds Think Alike Department, here’s MSNBC’s First Read:

*** The NRA brings a sledgehammer to the fight: Indeed, over the past 30 days since the Newtown shootings, the NRA has brought a sledgehammer to the debate, not even attempting nuance or persuasion. First the combative Wayne LaPierre press conference at the National Press Club. Then LaPierre’s uncompromising appearance on “Meet the Press.” And now this web video. The NRA is acting as if this were 2001 — after beating Al Gore and facing a cowed Democratic Party. Instead, this is 2013 — after the NRA was unable to beat Obama and after Democrats expanded their majority in the U.S. Senate. The danger the NRA is facing, especially after releasing this new video, is that it’s potentially alienating the handful of Democratic allies it has. The Harry Reids, the Joe Manchins, the Jon Testers. While the NRA has always had a deeper reach within the Republican Party, what has made it particularly powerful is its influence inside both parties (a la AIPAC). But how the NRA has reacted to Newtown may very well have reduced its influence to just one political party. And if they decide to keep their attacks focused on the president, they will end up alienating the rest of the Democratic Party — and that will cost them down the road. Right now, they are acting like an ideologically driven cog of the conservative movement rather than attempting to persuade or keep its Democratic supporters.

May I use the word I don’t often use?

“Ditto.”