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Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Featured, Law, Politics | 16 comments

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?


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  • The_Ohioan

    Waiting on the expose of just how many members NRA actually has. The shrillness of this ad shows how concerned the NRA and its masters are about their profit margin. As one VP, who knew an elitist when he saw one, said – Holy nattering nabobs of negativism!

  • zephyr

    Yes, the ad will backfire, but only in the minds of people who can still think clearly and for themselves. The NRA (like the current GOP) depends on people being too fearful, too thick-headed, and too blindly loyal to see beyond the surface.

  • STinMN

    They may have a few less members today – I talked a couple of co-workers who are (were?) NRA members, even they thought this latest ad was too much. They had a pretty clear distinction on the protection the President’s family needs vs. “everyday” school children, and while we would like to provide the same level of protection, it clearly isn’t economically possible.

  • The_Ohioan


    Since December, before Newtown, they’ve been offering greatly discounted memberships and discounts on hotels, etc. It’s the same ploy AARP uses to build up membership and increase their influence. And it’s done for the same reason; falling membership.

    This ad will separate the normal members from the radicals.

  • slamfu

    To be honest, yes, the presidents kids are more important than mine. My kids can’t be kidnapped and used as bargaining chips in foreign policy. One of many reasons they don’t need 24/7 security, thank god.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    As I have said before, with this despicable ad, the NRA has hit a new low.

    Makes one ponder how those NRA officials responsible for this ad, who have children of their own, would respond to anti-gun ads targeting (and certainly no pun intended here) their children.

  • Momzworld

    What Slam said! Absolutely! And I am quite certain this President is very concerned about the safety of the country’s school children.

  • cjjack

    I guess this means the President is an elitist hypocrite because he flies on a plane that has countermeasures designed to ward of attacks by missiles? Why doesn’t he just fly business class, or even coach like the rest of us?

    I suppose he’s an elitist hypocrite because unlike the rest of us plebes, he gets to ride in a bulletproof car escorted by other bulletproof cars. What gives? Does he think he’s better than us?

    Come to think of it, the President doesn’t even make a visit to someplace like…oh, say, a town where a terrible massacre happened…without the Secret Service spending at least a few days preparing the area, scoping out possible threats, and putting a comprehensive security plan in place. Who does this guy think he is, anyway?

    I mean, it’s not like other Presidents had the Secret Service protect their children when they were on spring break…oh…wait…

  • sheknows

    Well I don’t think anyone has any illusions anymore that the NRA is not speaking for the right. While there is a legitimately crazy element in the NRA that actually believes you will have to pry the guns from their cold, dead hands, there is also the political element that sees this as their chance to blast Obama again.
    Even Republicans who are not in favor of assault weapons and high capacity magazines still defend the NRA just as though they are…well, the Republican party.
    I would like to say this ad will bring a bad reaction from people, but I don’t think it will. Dems who take money from the NRA will keep their traps shut, and of course the Reps AGREE with this thinking.
    The NRA has been successful in this country precisely because of the ignorant, the greedy,and the fearful not to mention the bigots. Their support will not wane in the least. They appeal to the lowest common denominator of human nature and intellect.

  • ordinarysparrow

    It is twisted…..the more we peel back the many layers of gun Rights (with the capital R)…the more we see just how twisted it is…Appreciate TMV for the post and sorting through…

    Do not know much about Truth out but came across this post last evening, which goes back to the historical beginnings of the militia…This is new information to me, do not know if it is credible. Maybe others will know, if credible history of the early beginning of 2nd Amendment, the NRA’s ad seems to have historical tone and roots, twisted.

    Whatever it takes to keep the guns be it slave patrol or school patrol. And the same shove it in your face, domination…

  • dduck

    Sleezy ad from folks that may have a bunker mentality at this point. I really think the forces of reason and common sense may be on a roll. What will come out of it, we will see, but it’s a good thing the revolution is taking place in Obama’s second term. (Yes, that is a snotty remark.)
    Joe, you are assuming a lot with this remark; “use of a President’s children will gain it cheers from people who are conservative Republicans”. Me thinks you are stooping a bit to meet the lower elements of the other side.
    P.S. I thought Obama did a terrific presentation today before signing the EOs. (A bit too dramatic and staged, but that’s OK, it is war after all).

  • zephyr

    Dd, if you spent any time reading the comments section of popular rightwing blogs you would realize Joe’s remark isn’t assuming anything at all.

    It is twisted…..the more we peel back the many layers of gun Rights (with the capital R)…the more we see just how twisted it is

    Right you are sparrow. Hopefully America is finally having it’s eyes opened to this. The NRA has had a long and influential run, one based on pandering to fear and disinformation. Time for reality to come knocking..

  • dduck

    Z, Joe said it, he was not quoting anyone, was he.
    BTW: I’d rather watch paint dry.

  • zephyr

    The people Joe describes are out there dd. Watch paint dry if you prefer to think they aren’t.

  • dduck

    Statement read.

  • Jim Satterfield

    zephyr, it’s not just the right wing blogs where you can find comments supporting the NRA’s ad and even claiming they just don’t go far enough.

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