So you're the National Rifle Association and you're on defense because you've staked out a position against expanded background checks for gun purchases. Senators across the country who backed your position are finding their popularity nosedive, while your opponents have gained ground. You've got a problem, and you decide to fix it.
But who in their right mind would fix it like this?
The National Rifle Association is going after Sen. Joe Manchin in a new 30-second ad.Sure, the NRA could have taken a different approach, adopting the position shared by Joe Manchin and almost all Americans that commercial gun transactions ought to be subject to background checks. After all, that used to be the NRA position. But that would have made too much sense for today's NRA. So instead of doing the smart thing—and the right thing—now the NRA has decided to make opposition to expanded background checks a litmus test.
The ad plays footage from one of Manchin’s 2010 campaign ads for senate, where the West Virginia Democrat boasts his NRA endorsement as he loads a rifle and shoots a copy of the cap and trade bill, while saying he’ll “protect our Second Amendment rights.”
“That was Joe Manchin then. But now, Manchin is working with President Obama and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” an announcer says. “Concerned? You should be. Tell Senator Manchin to honor his commitment to the Second Amendment and reject the Obama-Bloomberg gun control agenda.”
But perhaps there is a logic to the NRA's position. After all, they are basically a front for the gun lobby. And the easier it is for criminals to get guns, they probably think the greater the demand will be among law-abiding citizens to arm themselves for protection. It's an old-fashioned arms race. And the more guns that get sold, the more money the NRA's financial backers will make. But if that's their logic, they're forgetting one thing: It only works if they keep on winning elections. And come 2016, you can bet your bottom dollar that they aren't going to beat Joe Manchin.