If one is honestly trying to win over the hearts and minds of responsible gun owners nationwide, why on earth would he/she pal around with or take money from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the clarion voice of the modern gun control movement?
This is the question I have for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) who is allowing the billionaire media mogul to host a fundraiser for him on July 22, at the mayor’s home on the upper East Side of NYC.
It just doesn’t make any sense to me. Bloomberg is an anathema to gun rights. He spends tens of millions of dollars attacking the National Rifle Association, lobbying for bans on commonly-owned rifles, shotguns and magazines, and pushing his nanny-state agenda. Put quite simply, the vast majority of gun owners do not like the dude’s politics or his stance on the Second Amendment.
Therefore, why would Sen. Manchin, who hails from gun-friendly West Viriginia, who is a self-described “sportsman” and avid hunter, who had a “A” rating from the NRA, opt to work with Bloomberg or his pro-gun control organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns?
Doesn’t Manchin know that by doing so he completely delegitimizes his cause in eyes of gun owners?
For reference, Manchin is spearheading the effort to expand background checks to cover firearm transfers made over the Internet and at gun shows. Thus far, he’s been unsuccessful. His bill, “The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” co-authored with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), failed to get the 60 votes needed to overcome a Republican-led filibuster in the Senate back in April.
While other senators have expressed only tepid interest in voting on gun control again in 2013, Manchin’s made it clear that he’s not giving up and that he wants to bring the bill back for another vote sooner rather than later.
Given this mission, again, I have to question his political game plan. His expanded background check failed because it didn’t have enough pro-gun lawmakers on board, not because it lacked the support of gun control advocates.
Consequently, why isn’t he doing more to reach out to gun owners and the gun community? Why isn’t he courting pro-gun lawmakers who have the backing of the NRA?
To some extent, he may already be doing this. But, it’s all in vain if he keeps close ties with Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Most gun owners will not take him seriously, especially if it appears that he’s on Bloomberg’s payroll.
Bottom line, if Sen. Manchin wants to effect real change in Washington, he’s got to listen to gun owners, he’s got to remember his roots and he’s got to find some new friends. Whatever goodwill and clout he has left with the gun community will be gone if he doesn’t change course.
Oh, and by the way, if you were interested in attending the fundraiser, tickets start at $1,000 per person.