Weekly Obsession: A shot across the GOP bow

Monday, August 6, 2012 at 9:05pm

The National Rifle Association is who we thought they were.

The nations’ foremost gun-rights group inserted themselves loudly — and expensively, to the tune of $75,000 — into the Tennessee House District 45 primary, pouring in thousands of dollars, erecting billboards and running radio and TV spots in an effort to oust Rep. Debra Maggart from office.

And it worked.

The NRA took issue with Maggart — who had regularly earned top ratings from the association — for her position on the so-called “guns in parking lots” bill. They asserted she was part of a cabal that kept the bill from a vote on the House floor.

As the House Republican Caucus chairwoman, the Hendersonville Republican was one of the state’s most powerful legislators, and the rest of the GOP leadership — the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House and on and on — backed her in her primary battle against Courtney Rogers.
The NRA’s bucks effectively turned the primary into a single-issue race — there was precious little discussion of Maggart’s work getting other planks of the Republican agenda into law. No, this race was about one thing: a vote that never happened.

All those dollars quashed any memory of Ronald Reagan’s famous edict, the so-called 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” Both Maggart and Rogers spoke plenty of ill. Maggart asserted Rogers had been deceptive about past bankruptcies and was misleading about Maggart’s support for gun rights.

Underneath it all, this race was a microcosm of what happens when one party has unchecked political power: infighting is the only sure result. Not to oversell it, but it was a battle for the soul of the Tennessee Republican voter.

There’s Maggart — despite her nearly flawless record on pro-gun legislation, cast as the establishment candidate who still sees property rights as the top priority for the GOP. There’s Rogers as the upstart, vociferously defending the right to bear arms pretty much everywhere, property owners’ wishes be damned.

Take a hard, uncomplicated line like that against the NRA’s Public Enemy No. 1 and the NRA has your back, and will even erect a billboard comparing Maggart — a darling of the right — to Barack Obama.
And when the NRA starts throwing its war chest around, voters are sure to follow the money right into the voting booth.

10 Comments on this post:

By: Ummm... on 8/7/12 at 4:40

Teapublicans in a circular firing squad (pun intended)- I think we've discovered a new olympic sport!

By: GUARDIAN on 8/7/12 at 7:15

As an EX-democrat I can speak the truth about My old party of Jackson. The democrats are far to evil and way to socialist to be elected and the republicans are fare to self centered and self serving to be elected. F.Y.I. I have never been nor am I now a member of the republican or tea parties. BUT I can trust them not to turn America into a communist state.... GUARDIAN----GOD, COUNTRY, FAMILY and FRIENDS. The American Way.

By: GuardianDevil01 on 8/8/12 at 6:06

I wish infighting was the inevitable result "when one party has unchecked political power". History has shown this to be untrue. Just look at the federal government from 2001-2008. Republicans completely abandoned the supposedly Republican principles of fiscal conservatism and limited constitutional government simply because they had the power to do so. Reagan's 11th Commandment might have been his biggest political blunder. When groups, whether they are families, communities, businesses, or political parties, lose the will or ability to be critical of their members they quickly lose their way and disaster follows.

By: frodo on 8/8/12 at 6:28

Throwing money around to win votes is evil only to those who don't like the way of the vote. I don't hear that complaint much when the special interest funder is a union, an I-want-to-marry-my-horse(s) activist or a save-the-planet-by-living-in-caves enviro fund.

By: shinestx on 8/8/12 at 7:54

Hey Guardiandevil01... you need to go back and check who was running certain chambers of Congress when George W. Bush was president... Also, I notice you didn't put the years 2009-2011 in your attempt to make a point... years when the Demwits had the very unchecked power you describe. Hack! Too many people (Guardiandevil) cannot see reality for their emotions.

By: shinestx on 8/8/12 at 8:04

Frodo, you are exactly right! The leftists complain about "corporate money" as bad, bad, bad... but think "union money" is GOOD GOOD GOOD despite the fact that the thugs who run the unions don't give their members a say in how their confiscated money is spent.

By: GuardianDevil01 on 8/8/12 at 8:04

Sorry, shine, but I do not attempt to have intelligent discussions with those who call others childish names.

By: humble on 8/8/12 at 9:49

once again the Republican party eating their own....no wonder they are a minority in this County.

By: pswindle on 8/8/12 at 12:42

The NR has turned this country into a wild, wild west. We are paying for this everyday with killings across this country.

By: wiseguy1 on 8/9/12 at 11:04

Swindle ... here is a baby ruth for your punch bowl. NRA has not turned us to wild wild west. Clinton Whitehouse philosophy of "It isn't wrong until you get caught" is largely to credit. His personal philosophy planted the seeds for much of Wall Street financial fiascos we have suffered. Bill & Hil make millions on a book to pay legal fees & poor Hewt was shamed by Democrats tto giving up his paltry $100,000 (or so) to charity on a book deal. Gee THAT seems fair.

But since you raised the issue of wild wild west, consider this ... if everybody in the Aurora, Colorado theater had a gun, the perp would be among the casualties, and his shooting spree would have been very brief. No doubt would have saved many lives and many casualties. Folks would tend to respect others a whole lot more. Sure, there would still be crime, always will be. Credit Adam & Eve for the flawed human nature.

Maybe ... possibly ... some of those illegal aliens will not like it here so much if everyone openly carried a firearm and find a new place to swarm. And .. just maybe ... the folks that want the US to be like Europe wold leave to live in Europe. America fought a war in the 18th Century to ensure separation from European subjugation. If you like it, go there and leave us with our guns, democracy, and work to get ahead ethic.