NRA’s defiant theme: ‘Keep your hands off our guns, dammit’

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. salutes before speaking at the leadership forum at the National Rifle Association's annual convention in Friday, April 25, 2014 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. salutes before speaking at the leadership forum at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Friday, April 25, 2014 in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)

Day one of the NRA’s annual meetings in Indianapolis included the heaviest hitters the event will see gathered at one time.

Govs. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.). Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). Potential 2016 contenders all.

But while these names headlined the programs distributed at Lucas Oil Stadium — the cavernous, brick behemoth that plays home to the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts — it was a local-level official who best summed up the gun-rights crowd’s message of the last 12 months.

“I’m tired of seeing the Second Amendment treated like the bastard child of the Bill of Rights,” David Clarke, Milwaukee Co., Wisconsin sheriff, said during a speech.

Clarke said that if the Second Amendment is to be amended — a suggestion of former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and the de facto goal of powerful anti-gun crusaders like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg — it should include the words “Keep your hands off our guns, dammit.”

That’s Clarke’s “seven-word phrase” to counter Stevens’ five-word qualifier, “when serving in the militia.”

The U.S. Constitution’s most scrutinized declaration has held up in the past year, though not without significant and repeated challenges of varying scale. The Colorado legislature pushed a highly progressive agenda that included firearms restrictions. Amid heinous gun crimes in one of that state’s cities, Aurora, and Newtown, Conn., President Obama and congressional Democrats insisted on a round of gun-control measures that they said would curb gun violence. And then there are the latest efforts of Bloomberg, whose $50-million push to counter the NRA is simply the latest of his well-funded, anti-gun endeavors.

The backlash: Gun-control state legislators in Colorado were recalled despite a massive fundraising advantage, the measures proposed at the federal level went nowhere, and Bloomberg, the fat wallet of progressivism, is now the lightening rod of the Right.

“Mr. Bloomberg, you are an arrogant hypocrite,” Chris Cox, the NRA’s top lobbyist, said to cheers inside the stadium Friday. The organization revealed a new web ad during the speakers’ event to rally fundraising support to counter the tens of millions of Bloomberg’s new group, Everytown for Gun Safety — $25 at a time.

The lawmakers on hand delivered inoffensive, red-meat remarks that pleased the crowd. Rubio wrapped his pro-gun message in an “American Dream” narrative that has become a staple of his public persona. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who recorded a video message for the event, also incorporated a signature theme — “making D.C. listen,” which gained steam during his anti-Obamacare push in late-2013 — in praising the efforts of NRA members that have pushed back the encroachment of the gun-control movement.

But an audience as invested and attentive as this had heard the gist before. It was Cox and Clarke who stirred the passions of a group that has not only had its core values questioned on a national scale, but that has become the enemy, itself. As fire fights fire, so will the dollars of Bloomberg’s group fight those of the NRA’s members.

“We’re partners now,” Clarke said to the Lucas Oil crowd before departing the stage.

Comments

Stewart calls House GOP 'turds'

Jon Stewart was looking forward to the end of congressional gridlock now that Republicans control both houses.

John Oliver gloats over net neutrality

John Oliver, who once spurred his followers to crash the FCC’s website demanding net neutrality, is positively gleeful over the news that the agency has approved rules to regulate the internet like a public utility.

Biden jokes about his creepy photos

Remember that time Joe Biden got close to Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s wife?

The 'Notorious RBG' takes over SNL
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gives pretty hilarious and biting interviews in real life — “not 100 percent sober” ringing any bells? — but Kate McKinnon’s version of the “Notorious RBG” on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” may just take the cake. From jokes about her morning exercise routine to her sexy dreams about […]
Jimmy Kimmel 'censors' Obama

Thanks to some mischievous editing from Jimmy Kimmel, these originally innocent TV clips will put your mind straight in the gutter.

White House

Calling for cooperation, Obama engages in confrontation

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid appeals for bipartisanship, President Barack Obama in just three days has provoked Republicans on issues as disparate as immigration, Wall Street and the Keystone XL pipeline — a combative mix of defense and offense that underscores Washington's political realignment.

It’s on: Obama follows through and vetoes Keystone pipeline

Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency.

Biden: The middle class is ‘being killed,’ in worse shape than any time since the ’20s

Joe Biden—everyone’s favorite creeper and truth-bomb-dropper.

MSNBC Host: Obama’s terrorism summit is a ‘dog and pony show’
You know it’s bad when President Obama has even lost the support of MSNBC. MSNBC Host Andrea Mitchell basically called the White House’s Summit on “Countering Violent Extremism” a farce during her show Wednesday. “Here he has the summit, no heads of government coming, the participation has not been at a particularly high level. We’ll have […]
Obama assures ‘almost complete confidence’ there have been no NSA abuses

The president’s interview with Re/code over the weekend touched on privacy issues, with Obama insisting with “almost complete confidence” that there have been no abuses of the government’s vast surveillance program.

Congress

More Congressmen had student loan debt this year
The student loan debt crisis is not just a growing problem among the American public, it’s growing among members of Congress as well. A grand total of 47 members of Congress reported a cumulative total of between $1.8 million and $4.6 million in student loan debt in 2013, as calculated by OpenSecrets based on personal […]
Congress sends Homeland Security bill to Obama

Congress is sending President Barack Obama a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year, without overturning the president's immigration policies.

Dems worry about Warren's leftward push

The Hill reports that Democrats are beginning to worry about Elizabeth Warren's gravitational pull on the party's direction. It's a black hole of progressivism, baby.

Boehner: GOP infighting over 'tactics'
After a week that saw Republican infighting leading to a dramatic near-shutdown situation for the Department of Homeland Security, House Speaker John Boehner was questioned on CBS’s “Face the Nation” about his leadership. Boehner downplayed the divisions and said that it wasn’t the big picture that they disagreed on, but rather how to accomplish it. […]
DCCC fundraises off shutdown that didn't happen
Democrats really jumped the gun on this one. It seems that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee was in such a hurry to fundraise over their hatred for Republicans this weekend that they were willing to spread a little misinformation to do so. The DCCC emailed supporters Saturday morning incorrectly saying that Republicans had allowed the Department of […]