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Tuesday, January 02, 2007


The NRA Targets Unfriendly Legislators

A sign of the times. As the 210th Congress begins its session under Democratic majority, there is concern among lobbyists about new rules of the game. Democratic lawmakers did not sell themselves lock, stock and barrel to the lobbyists as the Republicans did but they did not remain impervious. It is too early to tell how far the Democrats will go, or succeed, in curbing the insidious influence of K-Street.

Now, one of the powerful lobbying organizations has launched an attack against legislators it considers as enemies of guns.

Jeffrey Birnbaum in the Post:

In lobbying, a threat is good for business, whether it's genuine or not.

"The new leadership could be one of the most unfriendly to the National Rifle Association," declared Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the NRA. "If there's an effort to pursue gun control, we will mount an active defense."

The famously combative lobby, with 4 million members, is displeased with the voting histories of Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and other top Democrats in the House and is putting them on notice that it won't tolerate passage of anti-gun measures.

The only problem: No one expects gun legislation this year.

True, a few Democrats would love to take a potshot at the NRA. But its $20 million in political firepower has long discouraged any such effort. It helped to snuff out the presidential hopes of Democrat Al Gore in 2000 and to elect dozens, mostly Republicans, to Congress.

Besides, one of the NRA's biggest backers is a Democrat, Rep. John D. Dingell (Mich.), who was instrumental in blocking the last major attempt at gun control in 1999 and will reclaim the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee this week.

No matter. The NRA is on high alert, and its latest weapon is a pamphlet designed to send its members into fits of paranoid rage and to inspire them to open their wallets.

A draft of the 27-page document, which was provided to The Washington Post by a source outside the NRA, lashes out at such icons of the left as investor George Soros, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Pelosi. They are depicted as part of "a marching axis of adversaries far darker and more dangerous than gun owners have ever known."


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