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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Liberal donors not giving up on gun regulation so easily

Greg Sargent:

With red state Democratic Senators remaining skittish about embracing Obama’s gun proposals, at least two top Democratic donors are stepping forward and vowing to withhold any and all future financial contributions from any Democrats who don’t support the centerpiece of Obama’s plan: Expanded background checks.

Kenneth Lerer, a New York businessman who is chairman of, and David Bohnett, a technology entrepreneur and philanthopist based in Los Angeles, are both major financial supporters of Democratic candidates, having each given scores of large contributions over the years. They are both key players in the political fundraising world and wield influence among other donors and fundraisers.

Neither will give another dime to any Senate Democrat who does not support expanded background checks, I’m told — and both will suggest to other donors that they do the same. The move underscores the rising importance of gun control as an issue in Democratic politics — and the rising frustration in some Democratic circles with elected officials who continue to regard gun politics as a third rail, at a moment that presents a real opportunity to achieve serious reform, with a policy that enjoys near universal public support.

“At some point you have to draw a line in the sand — for me that time is now,” Lerer told me in an interview. “If candidates or officeholders can’t support something like comprehensive and enforceable background checks, then I wouldn’t think of giving them any money going forward.”

This sort of thing should happen more often. There’s no point in having a party if there’s no party discipline. If these people can’t be bothered to be anything other than Republicans in Democratic clothing, then we should focus on electing people to replace them. I’ve never been a big fan of blue dogs anyway and recent elections have shown that other voters aren’t either. As Harry Truman said, “Given a choice between a fake Republican and a real one, the public will choose the real Republican every time.” You have to be an alternative to the Republican candidate in order to be an alternative to the Republican candidate — you can’t just be the same guy in a different suit.

There have to be a least a few core Democratic values. Sensible gun regulation and standing up to the pro-criminal blood lobby should be one of them.

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