Today April 14 Reuters has reported that the NRA have been busy claiming that there has been a rush to condemn George Zimmerman. As there appears to be no doubt that George shot and killed young Trayvon Martin that would seem a foolish statement. It may be that they are referring to the circumstances surrounding the murder but that still lacks reason.
This constant hype by the gun lobby and right wing America generates the media counterbalance. Killed in February 2012 with no investigation or charges until a public outcry ensued how can you call it a rush? Hiding behind dodgy Florida Stand Your Ground gun laws which are open to abuse and a police force reluctant to do the job fuel fury.
Reuters reported"I wish all those folks demonstrating and making the inflammatory statements would keep their powder dry," said Owen Mills, an NRA board member, who runs a firearms training facility in Paulden, Arizona. Mills said he was not speaking for the NRA as an organization." Yes as you would of course had it been your son. For shame.
It seems to this blogger that those directly affected by this crime have done just that and kept a calm exterior. Without the public outcry the death of Trayvon would have gone unnoticed by many and neglected by more.
In spite of NRA GOP links Mitt Romney is not generally popular with this group. Allegedly he disassociated himself with the lobby in 1994 and reciprocated by declining to endorse him in his 2002 governor's race. The successful GOP candidate it seems will need to be able to promise no tightening of US gun laws. Possibly in order to wow the GOP crowd Romney is now the proud owner of two guns, or so he claims.
In Washington in February 2012 according to the Guardian blog, "Romney stood up and delivered a speech that dropped the word "conservative" two dozen times in 20 minutes, including when he called himself a "severely conservative Republican governor" "My state was the leading indicator of what liberals would be trying to do across the country," he said, "and they're trying to do right now. And I fought against long odds in a deep blue state. But I was a severely conservative Republican governor." His words failed to rouse the crowd.
His team were of course hoping for better this time around. Romney is now the "heir apparent to the GOP" in all but name. So how did he do when he addressed the NRA? Here is the full blog re Romney's speech:
"He ingratiatingly notes that some folks call the NRA a single-issue group. Well, he says, "that is high praise when the single issue you are fighting for is freedom. You can be proud of your long and unwavering defense of constitutional rights and liberties."
No applause so far. Romney is quoting Truman. "This November, we face a defining decision. I'm offering a real choice. ... We know what Barack Obama's vision of America is. We've lived it for the past three-and-a-half years." Romney says as president, "the constitution will be my guide and the Declaration of Independence will be my compass." Nice. "First I want to talk about this president's assault on our freedoms.... The American economy. It is fueled by freedom."
So far "freedom" is the key word. It's this speech's version of "conservative" in the CPAC address. Romney is talking about marginal tax rates. Not red meat. Then comes the first applause line:"Congress does not need more money to spend. It needs to spend only what it has." Mitt Romney is droning on before the NRA. He's speaking in front of a blue backdrop with clouds in it. He looks like an angel of the right to bear arms.
Second applause line, referring to Keystone oil pipeline tabled by the Obama administration: "We used to build the interstate highway system and the Hoover Dam. Today we can't even build a pipeline." Then the first big applause line: "The truth is we're struggling because our government is too big." Romney is striking themes of loss, of national ruin, of regulators running amok. He is painting a maudlin picture of the American present. Now he's on to Obamacare.
Twelve minutes into his speech before the NRA annual convention, here's a word Mitt Romney hasn't used yet: "Gun." Why not? That's what we're here to talk about, isn't it? The second amendment? Now Romney gets close to actually mentioning guns:
"The right to bear arms is so plainly stated, so unambiguous, that liberals have a hard time attacking it directly." Instead of mentioning firearms, he's talking about the threat to "erode our rights." Here's the biggest applause line so far: "I join those who call on Attorney Gen. Holder to resign or get fired."
There it is – first mention of "gun." Romney says he will protect "lawful gun owners." Then, "I will protect the second amendment rights of the American people." Overall it's not a speech that could be called rousing, but it does use the language of the NRA, he's depicting the greatest threat to American freedom as being the American government, he's attacking the attorney general and he's fawning over the conservative Supreme Court. Romney: "In his first term we've seen this president try to browbeat the Supreme Court. In his second term he would remake it."
Romney says if Obama gets a second term he'll appoint a court that will screw up the country not for four years but for forty, "and we. Must. Not. Let. That. Happen." Big applause. The rousing conclusion. First Romney appeals to the America of Norman Rockwell, Grant Wood and Francis Scott Key, flying on an American flag magic carpet past Mt. Rushmore with fireworks lighting their way: "There was a time not so long ago when each of us could walk a little taller, stand a little straighter, because each of us had a gift that no one else shared: We're Americans."
The language sounds condescending, somehow, coming out of Romney's mouth. He is by nature an optimist. The present isn't damaged as he sees it. But in this language it is. Romney is trying to channel the desire of his audience – what he believes to be the desire of his audience – for a golden age of American power. And in the mouth of a Rick Perry or an Oliver North (also speaking) that promise probably will sound exciting; there won't be any ironic distance between speaker and speech.
With Romney there is a distance between the man and the words, and it undercuts what he's saying. It's condescending because he proceeds as if the audience will believe him. Anyway let's listen to the big finish: "Join me in this great cause. Let's take back this great nation and defend our freedoms." More applause, but mostly polite."
The heir presumptive it seems has had the etch a sketch out and redrawn the guidelines. Will it wash with folks? It will be up to them to decide how sincere he is and if they want a Romney government. As the latest GOP drop out Rick Santorum has declined to endorse Romney but has chosen to endorse them all instead it would seem that he is not sure about Romney as far as the Presidency goes.
The other GOP hopefuls were evident at the NRA convention. The LA times reported "Gingrich, in keeping with his reputation for outsized thinking, chided the NRA leadership for being "timid" and told the crowd that, if elected, he would push the United Nations to expand gun rights to the entire world. "The right to bear arms comes from our creator, not from our government," he said, to cheers. "Far fewer women would be raped, far fewer children would be killed ... and far fewer dictators would survive if people had the right to bear arms everywhere on the planet."
You have to laugh or you would cry. Of course those at the NRA convention loved it. What planet does Gingrich occupy. Are crime rates so low in the US and if so is it due to gun toting civilians? It seems that in the US Conservatism, Chritianity and Guns go hand in hand. What would our Dear Lord make of it all?
TAGS: NRA, Mitt Romney, speech to NRA, Rick Santorum, Washington, Obama, White House