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The Right, guns and violence June 22, 2009

Posted by Paige of Quarrel in pressure gage.
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Considering the recent history of Right wing violence, in this country and the world over, now is the time to call the Right to account when they pander on guns.  Now is the time to begin (re-)building a solid case for the public.

The issue of gun control and gun violence has been abandoned by the mainstream Left for several years.  Call it part of the James Carville/Rahm Emanuel strategy to carve out the political center and avoid hot button issues.  With little public or widespread support for meaningful, sensible gun control, now is the time to shackle it with Republican PR drag.

Consistently pestering Right wingers when they pander on guns, then stepping away, will allow them to demagogue on the issue, will tie it to the flagging Republican Party, and over time will highlight for the mainstream how the Right, in their own words, make the best arguments for gun control.

Consider this tweet from the Florida Republican Senatorial candidate who’s challenging Governor Crist from the Right, Marco Rubio:

I have a feeling the situation in Iran would be a little different if they had a 2nd amendment like ours. #sayfie #tcot #nra

First, that hash-NRA tag is worth a thousand words.  Rubio needs support from the traditional Right, not just the Cuban community, when facing Crist and guns are second only to god for the Panhandle Right.  Also note that unlike almost all of his recent posts on the subject of the Iranian protests, this post is not tagged #iran or #iranelection.  This red meat was obviously not meant for international consumption.

More importantly though, yes, you are correct to assume that Rubio is invoking the militia movements most repeated argument that guns are necessary to defend against our own government, a stance that at least theoretically supports violent revolution in the US.  There’s a reason this isn’t the typical NRA party line.  While it’s common knowledge that this is a primary argument within pro-gun circles, they usually hide it behind a public face of personal safety concerns and a tradition of hunting.

Because it’s really freaking scary to the mainstream.

Now, Rubio is far from being a noted thinker in the Republican Party, even if he is acknowledged as an adept and charismatic politician.  He also quoted Dr. Martin Luther King out of context earlier on Twitter and threw this gem out inexplicably, “POTUS, call for emerg meet of UN Sec Council to prevent massacre in Iran, if they fail to act will expose UN as useless.”  It’s plain to see that he lacks any basic understanding of world politics, but also of policy.  He’s full of the usual Republican buzz words like “taxes” and “big government” and awe of his creator, but he appears to be struggling with handling the the party platform at large and shows no signs of being able to make rational arguments for any of it.

That’s the point here.  We need to coax the Right into making all of their irrational, illogical appeals to fear on the gun issue.  We need to poke them and step back and they’ll naturally gravitate towards fear mongering and inch themselves toward the edge of reason.  We need to get them to put their simplistic, nonsense ideas on guns out there as often as possible, saturating the voters’ minds.  Call them on it initially, let them huff and puff and bluster as they defend it, and then wait.

Then, when the time is right and the mainstream has strayed from Leftist priorities like healthcare again, we can make the sound arguments, the rational arguments to the mainstream and allow them to judge the contrast between our side and what they’ve been hearing from the clumsy Right wing as it scrambles to pander to the NRA.

Sure, it puts a lot of faith in the average American voter, who is by definition emotional and ill-informed, but I think they’ll get it right on this one if we frame it — and time it — correctly.