The NRA Stumbles But Gets Right Back Up Again (Updated)

UPDATE:

The Washington Post in both “No, Sidwell Friends School has no armed guards,” and in its “Fact Checker” (See CODA, below) is debunking the NRA’s claim that says the private school that President Obama’s daughters attend, Sidwell Friends School, has 11 armed guards. “It doesn’t.”

Read more here

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Original Post

Most of us have by now viewed the disgusting NRA video ad using the President’s young daughters to attack the President’s push for tougher gun laws and, in particular, to mock his “skepticism” about placing armed personnel in schools. “Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?” the NRA ad asks.

Many reasonable organizations, politicians and others of influence have already condemned the NRA for such offensive ads.

For example, Republican, New Jersey governor Chris Christie said, “To talk about the president’s children, or any public officer’s children, who have – not by their own choice, but by requirement – to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point is reprehensible.” He adds, “Get to the real issues. Don’t be dragging people’s children into this. It’s wrong, and I think it demeans them [the NRA] and it makes them less of a valid, trusted source of information on the real issues.”

Former GOP member of the House, longtime supporter of the Second Amendment and someone who consistently received an “A” rating from the NRA while in the House, television commentator Joe Scarborough, blasted the NRA on his Wednesday “Morning Joe”: “Their children have targets on their backs and the NRA is putting something out like [this]? What’s wrong with these people?…They need new leadership is what they need. Their leadership has dragged them over the cliff, they are now a fringe organization…What the NRA once was, it no longer is. This extremism is so frightening, and just over, over, over the line.”

The influential The Hill also quotes Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), “a father of six,” saying it’s “very important our children not be used to forward a political cause,” and Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.) saying the ad is “at the very least inappropriate and diverts the discussion away from the important issues.”

The gun lobby’s cynicism becomes even more ludicrous when the children who were present during Wednesday’s gun control announcement are called “props” and “human shields” and when the President’s decision to include them is referred to as “blatant emotionalized exploitation of children for a political objective.”

But there is more:

Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, also rolled out the “kids as human shields” argument on Fox News Tuesday when he compared Obama to Saddam Hussein, who used to film meetings with Western hostages in an attempt to deter targeted attacks during the first Gulf War.

And in an article entitled, “Prop-a-palooza: The Use and Abuse of Kiddie Human Shields,” blogger Michelle Malkin argues that, “From health care to gun control, the left has perfected this fallacious art of prop-a-palooza—the well-being of the children and national discourse be damned.” Malkin also referred to Wednesday’s gun control announcement as “the most cynical in Beltway theatrical staging—a feckless attempt to invoke ‘For the Children’ immunity by hiding behind them.”

One would think that such excesses would give supporters of the NRA and the gun lobby at least some pause.

The Hill says, “Facing its toughest fight over gun reform in decades, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has stumbled out of the gate,” perhaps because the NRA “responded to last month’s Newtown, Conn., massacre with a defiant press conference calling for more guns in schools, then doubled down this week with an in-your-face web ad that drew President Obama’s young daughters into the fray.”

But The Hill also says, “To be sure, the NRA…remains an enormous influence on Capitol Hill, and there’s no evidence its actions have increased the likelihood that Obama’s ambitious gun-reform agenda can move this year, even through the Democratically controlled Senate.”

And,

Despite the criticisms, there’s some evidence that the NRA’s tone hasn’t harmed the group – and in fact has benefited it. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Thursday found that 41 percent of Americans view the group positively – the same figure from a year ago – although the percentage of respondents with a negative view rose from 29 to 34 percent over the same span.

There’s also support for the group’s positions. While some polls suggest growing support for gun control measures, a Washington Post/ABC News poll released this week found 55 percent of respondents support the group’s call to put armed guards in every school, a position Obama viewed with skepticism.

Also, the NRA claims that its membership has jumped by a whopping 250,000 people – up to 4.25 million – since the Newtown rampage, according to U.S. News and World Report.

This should give the NRA some exculpation, the gun lobby something to smile about and gun supporters some vindication — until the next tragedy.

CODA (Added):

The Washington Post’s “The Fact Checker” gives almost every aspect — including “the armed guards” bit — of the “slashing NRA ad on security at Sidwell Friends School” Four Pinocchios.

Read it here

Image: www.shutterstock.com

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

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12 Comments

  1. The continuing popularity of the NRA in the midst of it’s latest meltdown says something very disturbing about the mental health of our nation. Not exactly shocking since it occurs during an era of so many other failures of good sense, but still depressing.

  2. I am not in the least surprised by their continued, if not increased support.
    Three days after Sandyhook, guns and ammo were flying off the shelves. That pretty much told me everything I needed to know about the general mindset of our nation.
    Polls show that really only a very slight majority are favor of gun control, with the largest portion of those in favor of banning semi-auto.
    It’s kind of like the amazement we all felt that after the Reps and Romney did such a terrible job campaigning..caught in lies, flip flops, insulting the people…they STILL managed to get 48% of the vote. That was my first tip off we are a nation in serious spiritual and emotional trouble.
    I still relate most of this thinking to the fact that we have a black man in the White House…but maybe I am oversimplifying.

  3. The continuing popularity of the NRA in the midst of it’s latest meltdown says something very disturbing about the mental health of our nation.

    I don’t know about mental health, but perhaps education?

    Just look at a few of the arguments put forth with a straight face by the opponents of sensible gun laws:

    1. The NRA’s latest ad sticks out as particularly egregious, and Christie hit the ball out of the park in response as far as I’m concerned. Similar arguments are trotted out whenever the government spends X amount of dollars taking the President and/or his family to (fill in the blank destination.) Sorry, folks, but the President has good reason for being driven around in a bulletproof car, flying on a special airplane with security measures built into it, and being surrounded at all time by a security detail. Had Mitt Romney won in November, he’d be spending exactly the same amount of taxpayer money on security, he’d be flying in the same plane, and he’d be protected by the same guys that are protecting the Obama family.

    2. The slippery slope argument that if we give an inch on gun control, then the government is a-comin’ fer our guns. We have had in this country “gun control” since at least 1934, when machine guns were effectively banned following prohibition. That law was revised in 1968, and is still in effect today. If the slope were even half as slippery as the NRA was indicating, then the feds would have long ago come to confiscate the shotguns, deer rifles, and revolvers of law-abiding American citizens which, incidentally, will all be exactly as legal as they always have been even if every single one of Obama’s executive actions are put in place.

    3. And then, Hitler. This bothers me because I spent quite a bit of time in college studying the rise of fascism in Germany. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the photos going around the internet comparing Obama to Hitler, suggesting that the former is merely following the latter’s plan? Disarm the people, then take over! Of course anybody with access to a computer and an internet connection can, with only a few minutes of searching, discover what I did during my studies…that such an argument is so full of holes you’d get an “F” if you submitted it to any history professor.

    The fact that these arguments gain traction among the populace is not an indication of a growing mental illness problem, but of nothing more than good old fashioned ignorance. Most Americans alive today remember when a President was shot. Many remember two times. Yet the security of the President and his family are suddenly up for debate? I don’t think so.

    Most Americans alive today have lived their entire lives under federal laws that make it a felony to own automatic weapons without first passing stringent background checks and registration. Yet we’re supposed to believe that one more law will undo our liberties writ large?

    And if our education system were worth a dime, then every American should be able to tell the difference between a megalomaniac screaming racism at the top of his lungs and a black man who pledges support for Israel.

    Instead of an armed guard at every school, how about an extra history teacher?

  4. Totally agree Dorian…

    As far as the surge of NRA membership… at one place read they instantly discounted the price for membership….

    As this article from Mother Jones says, with the NRA there are lots of smoke and mirrors… relying on their claimed figures looks to be unreliable…

    Does the NRA Really Have 4 Million Members?

    Only if one counts the dead guys…

    http://www.motherjones.com/moj.....ip-numbers

  5. All good points, cjjack, although I don’t quite follow:

    And if our education system were worth a dime, then every American should be able to tell the difference between a megalomaniac screaming racism at the top of his lungs and a black man who pledges support for Israel.

    Can you give me a hint? And I am not being sarcastic. Thanks

  6. Apparently, once you have been a member of the NRA, you REMAIN a member on their books, and are given ” honorary” membership even if you left years ago.

  7. Can you give me a hint? And I am not being sarcastic.

    Or to put it another way, Americans should have enough of a grasp of history to understand the difference between Hitler and Obama.

    We don’t even need to go into the history of Germany leading up to WWI, or cover the Wiemar Republic in great detail. Just enough info to help folks differentiate between a raving lunatic who managed to hijack an entire nation and try to take over the world, and a milquetoast American politician who can’t even get a budget passed.

  8. Got it. Thanks :)

  9. A couple of points:

    1. Sidwell Friends is a Quaker school; its security personnel do not carry guns. Of course, the Secret Service agents protecting the President’s daughters do.

    2. The original purpose of the Second Amendment was to arm state militias, specifically those in southern states that were known as “Slave Patrols.” Most of them required every able-bodied white male to be a member.

    Given that the President’s daughters are black, there’s an interesting interplay between those two items.

  10. Bob:

    The NRA ad (at least in the longer ad) is not talking about the by-law required Secret Service protection for the president and his family, it specifically says the school Obama’s daughters attend has 11 armed guards. A Flat- out Lie!!

  11. Looks like the NRA is prone to lying… we are increasingly seeing more evidence of propaganda…

  12. The second amendment does not contain a lot of words. Two of the first three are “well regulated.” Whom, if not the government is supposed to be in charge of the regulating? A well regulated militia, surely has something to do with the government regulating the militia. Please correct me if I am wrong.

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