Playing At Delegitimization and Insurrection: How the GOP Is Turning Into a Political Wing of a Paramilitary

So it appears that the new president of the National Rifle Association is actually more radical than Wayne LaPierre (boldface mine):

Porter has called President Barack Obama a “fake president,” Attorney General Eric Holder “rabidly un-American” and the U.S. Civil War the “War of Northern Aggression.” On Friday, he repeated his call for training every U.S. citizen in the use of standard military firearms, to allow them to defend themselves against tyranny.

Gun control advocates say Porter makes outgoing NRA President David Keene look like a moderate on gun issues, even though Keene had said the NRA would try to punish lawmakers who voted in favor of expanded background checks and other gun control measures.

Tom Levenson offers the best insight into the implications of Porter’s utterances I’ve read so far (boldface mine):

…anyone who denies the reality of Obama’s right to his office is telling the majority of the American electorate that their votes are fakes too. That public decisions don’t count.

That — given that we’re talking NRA here — the armed rump of the American right, among whom are over-represented amongst those who want to refight the Civil War, are the arbiters of who gets to hold power, and damned be to the rest of us.

I don’t know what you all call an armed minority spreading such stuff, but to me? Well, it ain’t treason until someone actually takes up arms and attempts to enforce that view…but it sure is dancing near that line.

I’m not simply name calling here: this is dangerous talk. There is a responsibility that lands on the elected leadership of the right to reject such talk, to dismiss it, to banish it from public discourse, because the failure to do so expands what Obama wonkishly termed the permission sphere for anti-democratic behavior — along with increasing the potential for political violence itself.

It doesn’t help when NRA spokescritters say things like this (boldface mine):

Wayne LaPierre, the nation’s most visible gun-rights advocate, rallied supporters on Saturday for a renewed fight against gun control, saying membership is up since the Newtown massacre, and calling the effort to stop new limits a “long war” and a “fight for everything we care about.”

The National Rifle Association’s executive vice president vowed in remarks at the group’s national convention that “we will never surrender our guns.”

A Long War? Speaking of Long Wars, if you take “NRA” and replace the “N” with…well, I’ll turn it over to Thers:

Anyway, what we have here is a situation where a relatively small minority of Americans are claiming the right, ultimately backed up by their possession of weapons, to define the True Nature of American Freedom.

Which is fine, I guess, at least according to CNN…

How this differs in any important philosophical regard from the position, of, say, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, I cannot say.

How it differs in any practical sense, well (McVeigh cough) who knows.

Yes, too many Democrats are de facto Rockefeller Republicans–and we desperately, urgently need better. But if these Democrats have a saving grace, it is that, unlike the Republican Party–which is completely in thrall to the NRA–they do not resemble the political wing of a paramilitary organization.

Something to be said for that.

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10 Responses to Playing At Delegitimization and Insurrection: How the GOP Is Turning Into a Political Wing of a Paramilitary

  1. Amber says:

    The NRA makes me sick, and I say that as a flaming blue liberal, who not only hunts, but owns guns. I suspect there are people out there like me, and I wish I could find them. But I also suspect that, like me, mum’s the word when it comes to this stuff. I had a comment on my site about a month back straight up assuming that because I was a hunter, I must hate the “liberal hell hole” that is Madison.

    They act like any uprising they carried out would be For The People. Yeah, for their people. It wouldn’t occur to them to look around and notice that the people saying the same stuff as them mostly look just like them. But then, it also wouldn’t occur to them to care about that, either. The rest of us who *don’t* look, act, speak, and vote exactly like they do don’t matter, as Mr Levenson pointed out. It all makes me crabby, and then my ability to form words and voice my opinion in a coherent manner goes out the window.

  2. Gingerbaker says:

    “… the Republican Party–which is completely in thrall to the NRA…”,/b>

    They are in thrall to the NRA because the NRA gives them millions of votes from one-issue voters. Imagine what the success rate of Republicans candidates would be if they did not have the votes of millions of gun owners virtually guaranteed.

    These same one-issue voters could be one-issue voters for Democrats. These voters are hunters, and the Republicans are doing absolutely NOTHING for the environment. If the Democrats were smart, they would stop making gun control an issue and start talking about how maintaining habitat for hunters is the heart of the environment movement.

    If we want to change the world on the big issues – global warming, social justice, healthcare, etc – we need to stop losing elections by giving away million-voter blocs to the Republicans by stupidly going ballistic for gun control when a shooting rampage occurs. First you win Congress, then you talk gun control. Get it? It doesn’t work the other way round.

    • Amber says:

      I would temper that by saying not all gun rights folks are hunters. Some of them just like having lots and lots of guns. To add to that as well, many hunters and outdoorsfolk are fervently religious. Which, for many of them, means believing that global climate change isn’t A Thing, much less something they need to worry about. You’d get more of them by talking about deforestation and about stocking efforts for everything from trout to elk. Add to that even more than so many of them think we Dems/liberals are, to put it lightly and offensively, are sissy vegan hippies? It would be a damn hard sell, which isn’t to say it’s not worth it. We would just need some damn good marketers.

      • good points.

        I would disagree that religion would be a big stumbling block – I just don’t see the attitude that some religionists have – that the phrase about “having dominion” over the earth should be interpreted as not caring about ecological consequences – is resonant among that many folks who actually go out into the wilds. habitat conservation is an issue for the majority of hunters – and hunters all over the country recognize that habitats are not only being lost to development, but are also changing as climate warms.

        Yes, we would need good marketers, but the fit is there. And the potential for winning elections is enormous – very often a few percentage points changing hands would make all the difference.

        People just don’t know wtf the Democrats actually stand for – it is a party that does a pathetic job of communicating its core values and standing solidly behind them. This might be a good place to start.

        The Dems would also have to change how they market gun control. The use of guns for personal protection, hunting, target shooting, and collecting would have to be completely sacrosanct and this is a message that must be repeated ad nauseum. You will never get even simple background check reform until gun owners truly believe the Democratic party is their true ally and not only is not interested in taking their guns away from them, but has has been a champion of that cause for a while.

        Considering that we have two Supreme Court rulings asserting the rights of individuals to purchase, own and bear arms the idea that the Dem party even allows discussion about banning guns, etc, ; that it doesn’t have policy in place to discourage this sort of conversation by bloggers, public faces is => completely irrational<= .

        Preserving gun ownership rights is actually a classically liberal position. The left – on all other issues I can think of, interprets the Constitutional as preserving even unenumerated rights to the individual as opposed to the right, who always loves to interpret the constitution such that only enumerated rights are protected. As a liberal, I believe in unenumerated rights – the right to privacy of home , body and mind.

        The 2nd amendment is a personal liberty as well. We should be in the business of protecting such liberties, not opposing them. Heck, if we zealously protected our rights to personal autonomy, we would legalize drugs, which would likely end 80%+ of gun violence in the country.

        • Amber says:

          You have a point re: hunters being concerned about the environment, but I’m just speaking from my experience. Back home (in a blue state) people did worry about the environment. Where I moved to (and the hunters I associate with here- other people may be different), that dominion attitude is prevalent. And it isn’t even a very red state- It’s Wisconsin. I live in Madison, specifically, but my boyfriend and many of his friends are from far northern, and they all don’t litter, for instance, but they’re GOP to the bone.

          Many of them are so spiteful, I don’t think they’d ever be swayed. But I’m a cynic, and it makes me pessimistic.

  3. hipparchia says:

    “the GOP Is Turning Into a Political Wing of a Paramilitary”

    that strikes me as pretty accurate.

    i’ve long resented the rockefeller republicans for taking over the democratic party and have wished they’d just take back their own party instead… then again it’s hard to fault them for refusing to associate with terrorists.

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  5. If you liked this, you’re sure to like my take on it — “The NRA Shows Its True (and ugly) colors.”

    It’s at

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