Thursday, January 8, 2009

"Even if we lose, we win - if we make a good fight of it.": Jeff Knox Takes on Snowflake Sebastian

"Bluto's right. Psychotic, but absolutely right. We gotta take these bastards." -- Otter in Animal House, 1978.

When we last visited Sebastian here, (Melting Snowflakes: Making Excuses in Advance for NRA Inaction on Holder), Snowflake was feathering the NRA's nest of excuses for not getting involved in the fight against Eric Holder's nomination as Attorney General.

Jeff Knox bearded the Snowflake in his own freezer with this:

Jeff Knox Said,
January 7th, 2009 at 10:36 pm

I couldn’t disagree more.

In spite of all of the doom and gloom being circulated about what Obama and the Dems are going to be pushing for on the gun control front, the reality is that Dems have not pushed gun control for the past two years because they like being in power and they remember 1994. The key to whether they will push gun control now is not about whether they can pass the bills or whether Obama will sign them, but what the reaction of the voters would be.

Sarah Brady and her crew are trying to convince the politicians that the “gun lobby” is dead; that gunowners strongly support “reasonable restrictions” on guns and that the NRA has lost its influence because Heller took away the threat of an outright ban on guns.

NRA has a choice right now to either step up and lead the fight against Holder or sit quietly and reinforce the belief that they have lost their clout. Even if NRA keeps silent they are going to receive the credit or blame for whatever happens in this fight. If they go for a full-out press to block Holder’s confirmation and GunVoters make a huge stink - it doesn’t matter if we don’t succeed in the end - everyone knew it was an all but impossible fight to win, but we made a good show and rattled the old saber. If we do succeed - that’s HUGE!!!

The only way to lose capitol on this one is to not fight or not fight very hard and look like wimps. That’s where NRA is leaving us right now.

Let me tweak your pro’s and con’s:

1. Getting the grass roots fired up over Holder, who appropriately makes a good villain.

[And the grassroots are desperately looking for something to cling to. They need to be put to work or they are going to drop off or get into mischief. (Yes I'm talking about you Vanderboegh)]

2. Letting politicians know NRA’s membership is not happy with Holder.

[Letting politicians know that the reports of our demise are exagerated.]

3. Letting Holder know NRA and their membership are unhappy with his record, and are skeptical of his appointment.

[I don't really care what Holder knows or thinks about us. He's anti-gun and he's going to take anti-gun action as AG.]

4. Pleasing membership who expects NRA to fight everything.

[Not everything - everything that makes sense, and this does.]

5. Very remote chance of defeating the confirmation.

[Very remote chance - as opposed to NO CHANCE if they don't get involved.]


1. Holder will try to get back at NRA for their public opposition to his confirmation. NRA will be shut out from working with anyone, even friendly people who might be holdovers, in the Department of Justice for the next four years.

[Holder is going to be the most NRA-unfriendly AG in history regardless of what NRA does or does not do regarding his confirmation.]

2. NRA throws its political weight behind defeating Holder, is ultimately unsuccessful, and signals the Obama Administration that NRA can’t oppose it.

[Nonsense!!!! There is no shame in losing a fight that everyone believes is un-winnable. As long as we make a good showing, we win - building political capitol and engendering fear and respect. Doing nothing sends the message that the gun lobby is impotent.]

3. Distracting membership from bigger fights looming on the horizon, like a new Assault Weapons Ban, Gun Show Loophole, and other gun control wish items, which might be winnable.

[Nonsense! Those things are at the front of members minds - as gun sales prove. Organizing for, and leading members into, this fight is a good warm-up for the fights to come and some of those fights might just evaporate if we make a good showing right now.

Also, "might be winnable"?!? We do not want our first battle with this Congress and this President to be over something which, if lost, is going to be a major substantive set-back for our rights. Losing this fight over Holder is no harm - as long as we make a good fight of it. Losing a fight over AW's or 50's is a big deal. Making a good fight over Holder could preempt any fight over AW's or .50's, thus securing the victory without the battle.]

4. By not getting involved, upsetting membership who wants Holder defeated.

[Members want to be doing something NOW. Not getting them involved and activated now is a big mistake and might result in them not being available to help in the future.]

5. If against all odds, Holder is actually defeated, the strong likelihood Obama will nominate someone just as bad.

[And we might have to do battle again, but we'll have sent our message loud and clear - Don't Mess with the Gun People and the Second Amendment!]

Our opposition to Holder is growing and I believe that it is only a matter of a day or two until the lame-stream media will be shifting their reporting on the Holder issue to include Second Amendment concerns with concerns about Marc Rich and Holder’s Sixth Amendment memo. Once that happens, this will be a matter of “the gun lobby” opposing Holder. Once it is the “gun lobby,” it is the NRA whether they are actually involved or not. So all of the negatives apply without any of the positives and no chance at some of the positive potential.

Political capitol is not like money, it is not something which is diminished when you spend it. Political capitol is lost when you lose power. Making a Hell-of-a-fight over something which is perceived as rather minor, builds political capitol whether you win the fight or not - it is the fight itself which generates the capitol.

When you combine all of Holder’s problems and the interest groups which should be opposing him, the potential for victory is looking better and better every day. NRA is making a HUGE mistake if they do not get out front on this and lead the charge.
This really is straight forward: An avowed enemy is being offered the most powerful job in the land and our leading government watchdog group is going to sit idly by and not say a word?

NRA sitting this one out can not be justified. If they do not get involved they are making a very big mistake. I sincerely hope that they are just quietly getting some ducks in a row before they drop a bombshell because they have nothing to lose in opposing Holder and much to gain.

Jeff Knox
The Firearms Coalition

Much more information about Holder and the fight to keep him out of the AG’s chair can be found at:

To which Sebastian replied:

Sebastian Said,
January 7th, 2009 at 11:03 pm

You make a good case. The best case made for getting involved I could probably imagine. But I still think there’s serious risks to NRA pulling out all the stops on an fight with very little chance of a positive outcome in the end. People know guns weren’t much of an issue in this election too, and yet we still have stories in the media about how the NRA is dead. I can’t think of too many better ways to demonstrate that than by fighting Holder and losing.

I also think you overestimate how many people are actually fired up and rearing to flood Congressional switchboards. Dedicated people are tough to find. Perhaps that will change, and the stars will line up the wrong way for Holder, and NRA will pile on with all the other groups pointing out the skeletons in his closet. If that happens, great. If he’s defeated, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong. But even in that instance, I don’t have high hopes for Obama’s second choice in regards to guns. If I thought there was a pro-gun AG somewhere behind Holder, I might be more inclined to demand NRA go down swinging, but this is one of those battles that even if you win, you still lose.

Then we had this little exchange:

Mike Vanderboegh Said,
January 7th, 2009 at 11:35 pm
Aren’t you save-it-for-later types just the least bit worried that if the rest of us, in alliance with a broad spectrum of groups, actually derail Holder that you will once again be seen as ineffectual cowards whose default mode is to avoid a fight, any fight, if possible?
Just curious.

Sebastian Said,
January 7th, 2009 at 11:47 pm
I’ll worry about that when it happens. But even if it does, do you think Obama is going to pick someone pro-gun for the second try? Just curious.

Mike Vanderboegh Said,
January 7th, 2009 at 11:59 pm
Of course not. But he will KNOW that WE (not counting y’all of course) forced him to do it. You don’t defend the walls of city by waiting for the seige engines, Sebastian. You carry out spoiling attacks while the enemy is vulnerable in the approach march.

An enemy with a bloody nose does one of two things. He either recoils in shock, or loses his temper and comes at you with everything he’s got, hey diddle diddle, right up the middle. Either action can be used against him to win the fight. All of that presupposes that you are willing to fight at all.

Of course, if you’re willing to prove our previous point about your analysis being grounded less in principle and more in self-preservation, then just hide and watch. You risk nothing that way, except, as I say, the proving of our point.

Sebastian Said,
January 8th, 2009 at 12:07 am
The approach march was in November. We lost that part. What you’re suggesting is shooting the bastard manning the siege engine, when there’s another bastard right behind him willing to step up. We will run out of defenders before they run out of attackers.

Sebastian Said,
January 8th, 2009 at 12:31 am
I should refine that analogy a bit better… you’re suggesting the general tell everyone to shoot the bastard manning the siege engine, rather than take individual initiative in making the bastards manning the siege engines a target of opportunity. Ammunition is limited. It will need to be spent where it counts the most.

All of which Jeff Knox answered thusly:

Jeff Knox Said,
January 8th, 2009 at 2:02 am

Mike is right. Unnecessarily confrontational and abrasive, but right. This is not about Holder or even stopping Holder, it’s about fighting. You characterized this as, “one of those battles where even if you win you lose.” That’s exactly wrong. This is a fight where even if we lose, we win - if we make a good fight of it.

We are going to have an anti-gun AG. That is not in question. Are we going to sit idly by and allow the appointment of an AG who has stood up on the front lines of assaults on the Second Amendment?

This is not about winning it is about fighting. Not fighting is losing by default and inviting more attacks. This is school yard bully stuff. A bully starts taunting and pushing you and you either push back or it will get worse. You might know he’s going to kick your butt, but he’s going to do that whether you fight or not - that’s what bullies do. If you fight though, and fight hard, not only will he be much more cautious about messing with you in future, the other bullies who were lining up to take a shot at you will back off too.

The Republicans would love to give Obama a bloody nose right now, but they, like the NRA, don’t think they have the clout so they are mostly just taunting and blustering. With the clamor rising, it would be NRA who was doing the R’s a favor if they jumped into this thing about now. I half expect the ACLU to issue a statement opposing Holder over the Sixth Amendment memo. Don’t you know the press would eat up an ACLU - NRA coalition opposing Holder?

Something else about winning the fight. We don’t have to win the fight in the Senate. That’s next to impossible. We need to win the fight in the public. The media isn’t going to help us much, but that picture of the storm-troopers grabbing Elian Gonzalez and Holder’s quote; “”He was not taken at the point of a gun” are pretty powerful stuff.

Janet Reno was Bill Clinton’s third or fourth pick for AG. None of the earlier ones were defeated by a vote in the Senate they had hired “undocumented” nannies or gardeners or something. Holder has flagrantly abused the Constitution. If we and others can raise enough ruckus, he will be too tainted to be seated and he’ll decide that he’d like to return to private practice.

I still say that fighting this fight hard builds political capital rather than spends it.

I hope the powers that be at NRA will see that in time to take action. In the mean time, I encourage the continued pressure through letters and calls to both the Senate and NRA, but I discourage the arguing about it. Rights supporters disagreeing in strategy or tactics, arguing about it, and letting the argument get personal thereby dividing us and keeping us from working together even when we do agree, has done more to harm the movement than anything else ever has. Those of us who want to fight this fight need to stay focused on the fight with Obama and avoid getting wrapped up in fights with the folks who want to sit this one out. There will always be another fight and we’ll all need each other before this presidency is over.

"Mike is right. Unnecessarily confrontational and abrasive, but right."

Why do I feel like Bluto being defended by Otter? ;-)


CCK said...

I can't assemble ideas as well as the three of you and you and I have spoken about this previously, but I will throw this out there again.

Eric Holder is the ideal AG for the III% !!!

If we fight (democratically) and win, meaning Obama picks a different nominee who is less confrontational, less anti-RIGHTS (1,2,6 all come to mind for Holder immediately); we get a watered down, less worthy opponent to hold up to the people when they attack us.

That idea probably didn't register the way I wish, and the best analogy I can think of is this. Ohio State football fans (spits on ground) want Michigan to be undefeated when they play each other.
It makes the resulting win "sweeter". If Michigan is 0-9 when they play, everyone expects a win and its not something that fans can rally behind.

I think the same applies to Holder. I'm happy Obama gave me what appears to be the most wretched nominee he could.

Because no matter whom he chooses the war is still coming with him in office!! I don't think there is any way to dodge this, no bit of crafty "write your senator" is going to stop Obama from bringing it all to us.

And I want the best face of the enemy I can find up front to rally the troops around. Not some watered down guy that Obama compromised to get in.

I want the face of the enemy to be pure evil. And Cthulhu has nothing on Holder.

Did any of that track?

jon said...

everyone seems to agree that an anti will be the AG.

however, the difference between holder and the second pick is that the second pick will be reminded that holder lost his job before he got it for what he's done and said in the past. a third pick ought to be subsequently further impressed.

if this is no check for tyranny, then nothing else will be.

Anonymous said...

This rally cry, personally, leaves me flat.

We've lost the soap box and the ballot box. There's a storm brewing that will require some resolve and a full cartridge box.

Holder won't do anything to me. I've already resigned myself to live according to the Constitution and scripture. In there is a line drawn in the to speak.

the pistolero said...

I don't know, but I find it ironic as hell that someone who advocates effecting change through the political process would actually try to justify not taking part in that process.

Anonymous said...

smack in the middle of the X ring.

Anonymous said...

"Mike is right. Unnecessarily confrontational and abrasive, but right."

Mr. Knox is unnecessarily and inaccurately judgmental and completely wrong in his ideas of unity of purpose. To have unity of purpose, we must all be after the same thing.

III%ers are after liberty and the autonomy that goes with it. The pragmatists, like Snowflake, are after all the privilege they can wheedle out of their masters as long as they risk nothing in that wheedling.

Shame on the part of the pragmatists requires them to denigrate those who will not surrender their liberties or rights in order to join in the wheedling. Cowardice requires them to pretend they believe they are more politically savvy than the realists who oppose their philosophy in our camp, else they be exposed.

If, as Mr. Knox indicates, he believes we should speak with one voice from the position of a unified purpose, let him exhort the other side (the weak sister side) of the gun community to claim their rights and join us, rather than exhorting us to polite language and surrender of our claim to those rights in order to join them at the begging bar.

I will not give up what is mine so as to be acceptable to lesser men than I. I suspect I am not alone in that.