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September 27, 2011 1:25 PM The NRA’s self-parody

By Steve Benen

It can’t be easy for the National Rifle Association right now. They have, to a very real extent, simply won the larger debate. It’s over — no one is working on gun control legislation. President Obama, considered by the NRA to be a terrible threat, has actually expanded gun rights. Even after the Tucson massacre in January, there was some sporadic talk about new measures, but they quickly faded away.

The NRA can’t admit any of this, since it would be bad for fundraising. After all, no one feels the urgency to grab their checkbook to support an activist organization that just doesn’t have much to do.

It leaves Wayne LaPierre, one of the NRA’s highest-profile leaders, rallying his supporters with rhetoric that seems like a parody.

“[The Obama campaign] will say gun owners — they’ll say they left them alone,” LaPierre told an audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday. “In public, he’ll remind us that he’s put off calls from his party to renew the Clinton [assault weapons] ban, he hasn’t pushed for new gun control laws… The president will offer the 2nd Amendment lip service and hit the campaign trail saying he’s actually been good for the 2nd Amendment.”

“But it’s a big fat stinking lie!” the NRA leader exclaimed. “It’s all part of a massive Obama conspiracy to deceive voters and destroy the 2nd Amendment in our country.”

“Obama himself is no fool. So when he got elected, they concocted a scheme to stay away from the gun issue, lull gun owners to sleep and play us for fools in 2012. Well, gun owners are not fools and we are not fooled,” La Pierre declared.

“… President Obama and his cohorts, yeah, they’re going to deny their conspiracy to fool gun owners. Some in the liberal media, they are already probably blogging about it. But we don’t care because the lying, conniving Obama crowd can kiss our Constitution!”

If I were trying to come up with over-the-top rhetoric, intended to make LaPierre look like a fool, I’m not sure I could have come up with anything quite this silly.

And yet, the NRA leader actually said all of this, in public. He seriously wants people to believe President Obama’s complete disinterest in gun-control laws is part of “massive Obama conspiracy” to get new gun-control laws.

I’m sure some NRA members fall for this — the group still has a massive amount of money — but once the pitch gets this weak, it’s hard not to chuckle at what’s become of the organization.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • Burr Deming on September 27, 2011 1:31 PM:

    This is entertaining, to a point. The larger contradiction is the idea that guarantees that will continue to be upheld by future governments will protect us from future governments.

  • Equal Opportunity Cynic on September 27, 2011 1:33 PM:

    I know that usage of the word disinterest has evolved over time but it still makes me judgmental when you use it to mean lack of interest.

  • sick-n-effn-tired. on September 27, 2011 1:34 PM:

    Or like here in Florida (I am not making this up) where our bought and sold Republican legislature enacted a law that prevents a Physician from asking if there are guns kept in the house. This means if they are treating a suicidal person they can't ask if they have guns in the house because it will infringe on their second amendment rights. ACLU is currently suing with the support of state pediatricians to have it ruled unconstitutional. This is a state that has taken leave of its senses and abandoned common sense.

  • Rick Massimo on September 27, 2011 1:36 PM:

    As with Rick Scott's teleprompter "joke," this is what they're reduced to now that they can't say "nigger" anymore.

  • Al on September 27, 2011 1:42 PM:

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. America is always one liberal president away from tyranny.

  • Todd for VT House on September 27, 2011 1:45 PM:

    Al's a parody, too, right?

  • Trollop on September 27, 2011 1:45 PM:

    Sooo RETARDED!!

    Well, thanks to Special Ed here, I've got something to laugh about for the rest of the day. All the retarded ones carry guns!

  • Bill Camarda on September 27, 2011 1:46 PM:

    "What's become of the organization?" They won, so definitively that they won't be touched for a generation, no matter what the consequences.

    Someday, just once, I would like to be part of a national organization or movement with a problem like that...

  • c u n d gulag on September 27, 2011 1:47 PM:

    Even though he can't hear the native's drums, he knows they're still out there ready to attack.

    What an asshat!

  • AndThenThere'sThat on September 27, 2011 1:49 PM:

    "Well, gun owners are not fools and we are not fooled," La Pierre declared.

    In 2009, on the heals of Obama's inauguration, the NRA had whipped gun owner's into such a panicked frenzy that several types of gun powder was simply unavailable, on back order for months. Gun manufacturers were one of the few booming businesses during the throes of the recession.

    Gun owners of the NRA stripe are little more than sheep baaing for their fleecing.

  • TCinLA on September 27, 2011 1:53 PM:

    Given the abject moron stupidity of your average gun nut, Wayne doesn't have to worry about ever underestimating their intelligence.

  • Hedda Peraz on September 27, 2011 2:11 PM:

    We are gunning for you, Obama, and have targeted you for defeat in 2012. We will use every bit of ammunition available in the coming months, lock, stock, and barrel.

  • liam foote on September 27, 2011 2:12 PM:

    I'm a USMC combat vet (III MAF - Viet Nam) and I happen to have a handgun, a present from friends, and I am qualified as a small arms instructor. I deeply oppose extended clips, all automatic weapons, grenade launchers, mortars, anti-aircraft guns and other arms rigidly defended by NRA nuts such as La Pierre.

    I am not an NRA member but consider the organization to have a significant number of responsible people and feel it's unfair to generalize based on the statements of people like this moron. I also drive a Harley, but that doesn't mean I'm going to take my gun to Vegas and shoot up a casino.

  • Perspecticus on September 27, 2011 2:14 PM:

    Just like Obama's hatred of business that he demonstrates by being business friendly, this scam to eliminate the 2nd amendment by not pursuing any type of gun control legislation is dastardly clever in its simplicity. 10-level chess my ass. Obama is playing 10-level chess combined with eight machine Pachinko, four table Baccarat, and 20-card stud. Pure genius.

    P.S. now the captcha security thing is asking me for Greek letters and chemical formulas. Once we move into Cyrillic, I'm not sure anyone will ever be able be able to particpate ni these discussions.

  • SYSPROG on September 27, 2011 2:22 PM:

    Yes, liam foote, there ARE 'normal' members in the NRA. When I was a kid (many moons ago) every 12 year old joined to learn gun safety. Unfortunately, these are NOT the same people at the top running their mouths. It's kind of like AARP...lots and lots of good members that just don't GET it when the 'heads' support legislation bad for seniors.

  • doubtful on September 27, 2011 2:22 PM:

    It's so comforting to know that paranoids like WLP have small arsenals in their homes.

  • doubtful on September 27, 2011 2:29 PM:

    ...it's unfair to generalize based on the statements of people like this moron.

    The particular moron in question has been the CEO of the organization since 1991, so despite the 'significant number of responsible' members (facts not in evidence), this is hardly a case of using an anonymous, unhinged comment to damn the whole.

    This man's job is to speak for the organization.

  • Daniel Kim on September 27, 2011 2:36 PM:

    Maybe there should be a federal program to provide guns and ammunition to every American. Kind of an Affordable Weapons Act. Americans are required to own, maintain and be trained to use a firearm. Those who cannot afford one will be given a voucher to be redeemed against the cost of their firearm, ammo and training. As long as the firearm is carried in full view, it cannot be prohibited by any state or local laws (just to give it that 'overbearing federal government' scent).

    This would make the right-wing's heads explode, as they try to work out how to oppose gun ownership for all Americans.

    Hmmm . . . maybe to eliminate a possible handle on this, the 'training' mandate should be scaled back to a voluntary basis.

  • Mitch on September 27, 2011 2:37 PM:

    Obama doesn't talk about aliens. Why, I'm sure if you asked him about extraterrestrials, he would scoff and laugh.

    But don't believe his silence on the issue. It is just a part of the conspiracy to lull us into complacency in preparation for our eventual enslavement to our reptilian overlords from beneath the fogs of Venus! They are coming to probe your anus and Obama is going to bend us all over for them!

    You heard it here first.

  • DAY on September 27, 2011 2:47 PM:

    "Maybe there should be a federal program to provide guns and ammunition to every American."-Daniel Kim.

    -Sort of like Switzerland. . .

  • Bob M on September 27, 2011 2:52 PM:

    "America is always one liberal president away from tyranny."

    And one bullet away from the NRA's objective.

  • Daniel Kim on September 27, 2011 2:55 PM:

    @Day:
    Switzerland? That's even better! Not only will a federal mandate for gun ownership and open-carry superseding state laws be a killer for the GOP, it has the European kiss of death!

  • T-Rex on September 27, 2011 3:05 PM:

    What Perspecticus said! This is the kind of person who can take the presentation of a birth certificate, a long-form birth certificate and two birth announcements in Hawaiian newspapers as proof that the President has no birth certificate. Or who can look at cool, collected, reasonable-to-a-fault Obama and argue that the "roots of his rage" must come from the Mau Mau rebellion politics of his father. When you ask them "what rage," they explain, the rage against capitalism and white culture that he is so cleverly concealing.

  • Krowe on September 27, 2011 3:52 PM:

    This kind of paranoia among the heavily armed just ain't safe.

  • SecularAnimist on September 27, 2011 3:54 PM:

    Steve Benen wrote: "... itís hard not to chuckle at whatís become of the organization."

    I think that police officers who are now facing down high-powered weapons on the streets thanks to the NRA are probably not "chuckling".

  • IDTT on September 27, 2011 4:40 PM:

    Maybe he's not so crazy. Afterall, by trying to cut them, President Obama has cleverly tricked the GOP into trying to raise taxes on the middle class. So....THIS is what 11th dimensional chess looks like.

  • Another Steve on September 27, 2011 4:56 PM:

    "Normal" NRA members are enablers of the insanity, just like "sane, sensible, sober" Republicans like David Brooks. More culpable, in many ways, than the loons because they should know better.

    The reason LaPierre's keeps fanning the flames of derangement ever higher is the Benjamins. Its all about the Benjamins. Fear=dues. If "sensible" NRA members would ever respond to LaPierre's unending insanity by cancelling their memberships, he'd fucking stop. By not cancelling your membership, you're just validating his theory that making people believe crazy things is what keeps his blood-soaked hands free of callouses.

  • sparky on September 27, 2011 5:25 PM:

    For many years the NRA has been nothing more than a republican PAC. Their campaign contributions have helped a lot of spineless morons who are too afraid of them to ever seriously confront the gun problem in this country. Their ultimate argument is that a heavily armed populace is necessary to keep the government in check. The logic of this argument seems to ignore one fact that they should consider--Liberals buy guns too.

  • Jim B on September 27, 2011 6:22 PM:

    "Another Steve is absolutely right. It's all about the Benjamins." Fear, fear, and more fear.

    President Obama is the best friend La Pierre ever had. The NRA has never been able to raise money like this before. Firearms manufacturers have to love the Prez too. Prices are up a minimum of 25% in the last 3 years. Ammunition makers must adore Obama. They can't make ammo fast enough. The price of ammo is way up too. NRA, arms makers, and ammo makers never had it so good.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on September 28, 2011 3:13 AM:

    It's hard not to chuckle? Really? You should get down Mexico way, you'll be splitting your sides . . .

  • ken anthony on September 28, 2011 6:38 AM:

    I love how people here will assert someone else is stupid yet not a mention of the illegal gun running to mexican drug criminals that is sure to be a hot topic with hearings by this summer.

    To say this admin hasn't been working against the interest of gun owners is to have your head firmly inserted in your rectum.

  • Perspecticus on September 28, 2011 8:16 AM:

    Okay, Ken:

    "To say this admin hasn't been working against the interest of gun owners is to have your head firmly inserted in your rectum."

    How about some examples? They have to be plentiful if you are so assured that people have their heads up their asses for not noticing, yes?

  • EvilNYCliberal on September 28, 2011 1:05 PM:

    So does anyone know how much money NRA is taking in these days? Is it falling or rising? and how much overhead bloat did they acquire during the fat years?

  • newhavenguy on September 30, 2011 10:36 PM:

    @ Liam Foote, respectfully:

    Point taken, but why do you continue to pay dues to the NRA, an organization run by an increasingly unhinged Board of Directors? I know more than a few people who are serious about 2nd Amendment rights and gun safety who quit the NRA almost 20 years ago over this kind of... well, call it what it is: insanity.

    The NRA exists now for only two reasons: (1) to serve the interests of gun manufacturers who make money on every unit sold, whether it goes to responsible gun owners in Montana or to Mexican drug cartels or their stateside distributors, and (2) to elevate the most reactionary creeps possible to political power in the US.

    Lately, it has become all too clear which of these is the priority.

    This is not an ad hominem attack, really. But if you really believe in the things you say you do, the ACLU is a better place to send your money. I know the NRA used to be a respectable 'brand', but then again the Republican Party used to be one too.

    Things have changed since then.

  • newhavenguy on September 30, 2011 11:00 PM:

    @ Liam Foote:

    D'oh!

    I read fast, too fast sometimes. I find it easy to understand why you do NOT pay dues to such an organization. But any person who does is not a "responsible person". Honest, I think spending that money on fast food, internet porn, Dubra, PPV Jersey Shore, Crack, Meth or even Glenn Beck's latest world changing $9.99 gimmick would be better for everyone concerned.

    If there are any sane and responsible members of the NRA left, the question is why? Reminds me of a political party I used to know. Hope NRA members are a better bunch than that. Hopefully most are ill-informed and/or dumb rather than malevolent.

  • Jim on November 22, 2011 7:30 AM:

    Fast and Furious was the brainchild of Obama and Holder, so they could point to American sold guns ending up in Mexico as a way to try and infringe on the Second Amendment. Yes, I know Bush had a like operation, but guns weren't lost and ICE agents weren't killed, and civilians on both sides of the border not killed. If you are a gun owner and trust Obama, you might as well do the famous, "shoot himself in the head", routine.

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