« »

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yet another lawmaker tries to hide his support of anti-background check filibuster

Steve Benen: In competitive states, we’re seeing two kinds of politicians: those who support new measures intended to reduce gun violence and those who pretend to support new measures intended to reduce gun violence.

In New Hampshire, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R), shortly after voting to kill the bipartisan bill to expand background checks, benefited from new ads claiming she voted for “a bipartisan plan to make background checks more effective.” In Arizona, Sen. Jeff Flake (R), who voted the way the NRA demanded last month, this month is telling anyone who’ll listen how much he loves “to strengthen background checks.”

And in Nevada, as Jon Ralston noted today, Sen. Dean Heller (R) is sending out interesting correspondence to his constituents.

“Knowing your interest in gun control, I wanted to give you an update on legislation I have cosponsored and supported recently.”

Imagine how Nevadans felt when they received a letter that began that way from none other than Sen. Dean Heller, who voted against the Manchin-Toomey bill, saying he feared a creation of a gun registry despite his general support for the concepts in the measure. He was hailed by NRA types and blistered by gun control advocates.

I wonder how many folks who received that missive fell for the having-it-both-ways Heller approach.
Probably quite a few. That’s the point — politicians who do unpopular things have to cynically hope they can mislead voters, not by explicitly lying, but by taking advantage of public confusion over details.
It’s yet another sign that voting to do the NRA’s bidding is not something you proclaim proudly to the world, but something you can only survive through chicanery. All of these politicians have no interest in defending their votes — obviously because they’ve come to see their vote as indefensible. Instead, they’ll try to confuse voters into believing they did vote in favor of expanding background checks, when in reality they voted to sustain the filibuster against it. In fact, Ayotte’s helpful ad came from the NRA — meaning not even they are willing to stand by their own position on the issue. The vote was political poison.

This all might work now, but a good opponent would see the opening here a mile away. If Heller or Ayotte or Flake, etc., are so terrified of their own vote that they’d go to such lengths to hide them, then an election opponent would be a fool not to drag that vote out in the open and expose the lie.

And this is why common sense gun regulation will win in the end. The fact that these people feel they have to hide their votes proves we’re already winning in public opinion and that those who stand against us do so at their own electoral peril.

Search Archive:

Custom Search