Guns Fail to Sway Voters

It turns out that District of Columbia v. Heller, the so-called DC gun rights case in which the Supreme Court established that the second amendment is an individual rather than group right, might have been a political disaster for the GOP even as it achieved one of the party's long-standing policy ends. Here's First Read's Carrie Dann writing about Barack Obama's "cling to their guns" comment and its effect -- or rather striking lack thereof -- on Tuesday.

The comment also put an exclamation point on Obama's record on guns, which has drifted to the center since his days as an Illinois state senator. As the general election heated up, the National Rifle Association announced an eye-popping $15 million ad campaign intended to serve as a loudspeaker for suspicions about Obama's alleged hidden intention to limit gun ownership.  

But as the vote margins of the presidential race rolled in, the one-time wedge issue of the Second Amendment did not seem to pack the national-stage punch for which the influential gun lobby had aimed. Nationally, gun owners broke for McCain by almost the identical margin that they broke for Bush in 2004.  But in the states where the NRA Political Victory Fund's toughest efforts against Obama were concentrated -- gun-rich regions in states like Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico -- Obama's victory was decisive. The Democratic nominee won those states by eight, 11, and 15 points, respectively.  Of the 11 states where the NRA's anti-Obama ads were reportedly aired, McCain won only one: Texas.

Down the ballot, the NRA backed all six of the Republican Senate candidates who lost to Democratic challengers. And in several high-profile House contests, NRA-backed candidates like Ed Tinsley, Bill Sali, Steve Chabot, and Phil English came up short.

Just four years ago, when John Kerry lost, and certainly eight years ago, when George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in the until-then traditionally Democratic states of Tennessee (Gore's home state), Arkansas and West Virginia, the thought was that the power of the National Rifle Association was unmatchable, that the NRA's sway over elections was unquestionable. Yet while it's fairly clear that the NRA's policy goals have been achieved to a great extent, with even Obama concurring with the SCOTUS' reasoning in Heller, the NRA's position as an effective campaign arm of the Republican Party appears to be on the wane, if not over. Yes, this was a tremendously successful year for the Democrats, with the nation clearly predisposed to throw the Republican bums out. Nevertheless, in even some of the reddest parts of the country where the power of the anti-gun control movement should have been the strongest, Democrats were still able to claim victory.

I'm not ready to write an obituary for the NRA's electoral efforts because of the sheer hubris of the act demands me not to. But the time of the left obsessing about the power of the NRA over all others may be drawing to a close.

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The Way To Win Florida, Lessons for 2010

There will be - and already are - a vast number of post-mortems about how Barack Obama won Florida. But, the best take so far is the one appearing in this mornings Palm Beach Post.

The highlights of his success are that Obama successfully cut down on Republican success throughout the state, in counties like Duval, Sarasota, Polk, Lee, Collier, Pasco, and Escambia, as well as surpassing Kerry's success in strongholds like Orange and Alachua counties. It should also be noted that Obama took both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, which Kerry lost.

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Smith Concedes


Sen. Gordon Smith calls to concede to Jeff Merkley
Posted by mrollins November 06, 2008 09:05AM

Republican Gordon Smith, who has represented Oregon in the U.S. Senate for the last 12 years, this morning called Jeff Merkley, his Democratric challenger, to concede their race.

Jon Isaacs, an aide to Merkley, said that Smith called Merkley about 8:40 a.m. to concede the hard-fought race, which came down to a few thousand votes. Isaacs described the conversation between the two men as "very cordial."

It came as Merkley prepared to give his acceptance speech this morning at Portland State University.

Merkley, a five-term state lawmaker and former Habitat for Humanity director, took advantage of a surge of Democratic support to win the bitterly fought battle with Smith, a Pendleton frozen food magnate who also rose through the Oregon Legislature.

Merkley was ahead through most of the counting Tuesday night, but then Smith overtook him overnight. By the end of counting Wednesday, Merkley had moved ahead with tallies from Democrat-rich Multnomah and Lane counties.

Great news.

I feel like I did the day after the election in November 1992. A great weight has been lifted with the return of Democratic control.

In a few months: A President Obama, a Democratic Senate with at least 57 seats, and House with at least 258 Democrats.... a much better reality than the past 8 years.

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What to make of the Waxman-Dingell dispute?

CNN is reporting that Henry Waxman, a favorite among environmentalists, is challenging John Dingell for Chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  I could hardly sum up the current challenges of our country more succinctly than "Energy and Commerce" and it would be great to have a more easily recognizable Progressive in charge of this committee.

John Dingell is from Dearborn, MI and is widely considered to be friendly to the automobile industry.  This is an industry that has essentially dismantled public transportation, blocked many reasonable proposals to increase energy efficiency, and is losing badly in the current economic environment.  Then again, the auto industry is probably one of the largest remaining unionized workplaces in the country and John Dingell, despite his supposed ties to the industry, has been given ratings of 94 and 100% by League of Conservation Voters for the past two House sessions.

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Who should fear President Obama and why?

Big Oil, Defense Contractors, Wall St. Speculators and Lobbyists.

They should be afraid because they will no longer have 'one of their own' in the White House.  Barack Obama is not one of them.  He is not the grandchild or child of one.  He didn't take their money to fund his campaign or his career in the US Senate.  Although he may have met their children in Harvard, but he did not go to work for them.

(Cross posted at The National Gadfly

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