Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Melting Snowflakes: Making Excuses in Advance for NRA Inaction on Holder

"The problem with retreating is that once you do it, it's hard to stop." -- Sgt. Lee T. Johnson, 23rd Regimental Combat Team, Korea, 1950.

The Pragmatic Chorus Rehearses for a Carnegie Hall Rendition of "The Bugout Boogie."


I sent Sebastian an email about pushing the NRA off their dead asses on Holder. He must have made a few phone calls, got the talking points, and posted this at Snowflakes in Hell:

The Holder Battle and the NRA

Jan 7th, 2009

I would probably be remiss as a so called pragmatist if I didn’t explain my take on the political situation surrounding the Holder confirmation. I should note that it is very important that folks contact their Senators and express their concerns about Holder, and ask them to oppose his nomination. The reason it’s important is because it lets our representatives know we’re out here, and that we have a lot of concerns about the upcoming administration. I also don’t think there’s any harm in NRA members calling NRA to tell them what they think. I would welcome the NRA getting involved in trying to defeat the confirmation of Eric Holder for Attorney General, but I believe that involvement unlikely. What I will try to explain is why this is unlikely, and why it’s not unreasonable, lazy, or cowardly for NRA to decide the upside to opposition might not be worth the downside.

It’s not unheard of for a nominee to be rejected by the Senate, but it’s rare. Even rarer from The President’s own party. If you look at how large the Democratic majority in The Senate is, it is extremely unlikely that Eric Holder will not be the next Attorney General, short of him being caught with a dead girl, or a live boy.

You can call me defeatist all you want, but that’s reality. Republicans and the braver blue dogs can ask tough questions, hew and haw, and rake Holder over the coals, but they are not likely to have the votes to outright defeat his nomination.

Late in 2007, we had a similar issue with the Sullivan nomination, and I would note that the Bush Administration is now ending with Michael Sullivan still director of ATF. He was never confirmed, because allies in the Senate put his nomination on hold, but he remains Acting Director of BATFE to this day.

The NRA is probably in the most precarious political situation it’s seen itself in since 1994. We have the mother of all battles coming. If you look at things from their point of view, you would look at the risk/reward equation in the following manner:


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

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

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

Pleasing membership who expects NRA to fight everything.

Very remote chance of defeating the confirmation.


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.

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

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.

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

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

It’s perfectly reasonable to believe NRA should get involved with the fight against Holder, but it’s also perfectly reasonable for NRA to see a lot of risk for not much chance of benefit too. When you and I act against Holder independently, it has no downside, because we are not creatures of DC, and don’t have to worry about perceptions of our political capital. The National Rifle Association does not have the same luxury. They have to very carefully weigh which fights they need to wage.

There will be times when it is necessary to fight with no hope of victory, but members should ask themselves whether they’d rather have NRA go down swinging trying unsuccessfully to defeat Holder, enhancing the paper tiger meme, or whether they’d prefer NRA preserve its political capital to defeat gun control bills?

Before someone suggests, “But all we’re asking for is a membership alert,” the other things NRA doesn’t have the luxury of is half measures. It will become known that NRA alerted its members, and NRA will incur many of the risks outlined above. They either need to poop, or get off the pot. This is actually an area where GOA, JPFO, Firearms Coalition, blogs, and forums can be of tremendous help, because they can speak on issues, like this, that are very risky for NRA. Like I said, I would welcome NRA’s involvement, if they decide the risk is worth the reward, but I won’t blame them if they don’t see it that way.

The friend who sent me the link had this comment:

Sebastian sure straddles both sides of the fence. Looks like he's got all the talking points so the prags can give the NRA a pass on being cowards. They remind me of the Scottish Lairds in Braveheart.

My own reply to Sebastian included Sgt. Johnson's quote above and this:

Horsesh-t. If the NRA won't fight this battle, they won't fight any battles.

Saving themselves for the "big" battles? Puhlleeze. You boys need to learn the "Bugout Boogie."

"Lordy, Lordy, won't you listen to me,
The colonel said 'Stand!'
But it ain't gonna be,
'Cause we're buggin' out,
Yes, we're movin' on . . ."

And, I might add, that being fence straddlers they can sing it in castrato.


Johnny said...

"There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them."
George Orwell

Kurt '45superman' Hofmann said...

I'm hoping he'll respond to this.

I actually do like Sebastian well enough, but is there any degree of uselessness and inaction on the NRA's part that he would find unacceptable?

Anonymous said...

Nothing new, the nra compromises and appeases every chance they get while telling you they "fight for your rights". What a crock! They have actually endorsed every major anti bill since and including the 34 nfa act, check the records. They don't tell you that outright but they go along with the politicians then tell you they made the best deal they could. Then you can go on and on with undercutting the state groups and opposing Heller initially, etc, etc. As a life member I have written and emailed them scores of times and had only two responses that said if I didn't agree with the party line I was out of line. They are part of the problem. We are in a much worse position than had they never existed. No problem with the training folks but the politicians and bureaucrats suck. Yes, make the calls and send the letters but don't hold your breath waiting for a principled position. The sad part is that the prags and fudds will ask no questions and keep sending checks to support being stabbed in the back. The quislings will deserve what they get.

chris horton said...

This should not suprise you Mike.

boggle the mind for sure,but no suprise.

Nice Orwell quote,Johnny.


j said...

Why do the memories arise, of soemone saying, "I've had a successful meeting with Mr. Hitler, and I have his word that we can work together for peace in our time."
Let me see if I get it:
We do NOT want to fight a battle that we might lose. Right? We might see the NRA fight a losing battle, so it is better if they sit on their thumbs and whistle?
That's what my membership gets?
Hmmm... I wonder if the Founders thought like that?
"We can't resist Mother England; after all, we have no assurance of victory, and things might go hard for us if we raised her ire. Let's just go home and forget this talk!"
Anyone remember the opening scenes of the meeting hall, in Mel Gibson's "The Patriot"?
Actually, I have now begun supporting the JPFO and the GOA...

AlanDP said...

I can tell you that the NRA is using this as a scare tactic to recruit new members, because I got one of their canned phone calls yesterday.

Anonymous said...

The Palace on Waples Mill Road in Northern Virginia/Southern D.C. is too comfortable. The NRA should be run out of a warehouse with card-table desks and 90 cents of every dollar going to educate the public about their role as the unorganized militia of the Second Amendment. Instead, if we hear about that at all, it's that no NRA member or law-abiding citizen would belomg to a militia. It's about how GOOD having concealed-carry gun owner registration PERMITS in over 40 states is. It's about our traitorous Congress being our friend because they open up a few more acres for the public to HUNT.
My sister bought her dog a new collar. Monogrammed, shiny chrome hardware, very stylish.
If the dog tries to slip out, it cinches tighter like a choke chain. The leash is the same old leash.
The dog licked her face and wagged its tail. Mommy loves me!

John Higgins said...

I'll put this so simple, even the praggiest prag would get it:

Belonging to the NRA makes you a hypocrite and a fool.

That might ruffle some feathers here, as I know we have NRA members, but tell me:

With their behavior, in this case alone, would you continue sending them money? How about when you add in all of their other immense failures and dishonesties?

Send the same amount to GOA or JPFO. Split it between them. Whatever. But don't join the NRA if you can avoid it - you'd be as well-served by sending your money to Sarah Brady herself.