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