The NRA throws in the towel on Holder

posted at 10:24 am on January 13, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Color me only slightly surprised by this news from Erick Erickson at Red State.  The NRA will not use the confirmation vote on Eric Holder as a score for its national rankings this year, limiting their opposition to the nominee for Attorney General to a letter to members.  Erick calls this a “pitiful sellout”, but it looks more like a nod to reality:

Sources inside the National Rifle Association tell me the NRA has succumbed to pressure from Democrats to not actively oppose Eric Holder.

Holder has strident, well known anti-second amendment positions. Nonetheless, because the NRA likes to play nice with Democrats, they are going to roll over for Barack Obama on the Holder nomination instead of fighting for, well, the second amendment — their reason for being. …

I’ve now received additional confirmation from the Senate. The NRA will not actively oppose Holder. The NRA will send out a letter in opposition to Holder, but will neither testify against Holder nor score legislators based on their votes for or against Holder.

Erick thinks this has to do with keeping Harry Reid specifically within the pro-gun coalition, but I suspect the NRA is thinking in more general terms.  Orrin Hatch announced yesterday that he would support Holder’s nomination, and with Democrats holding 59 more seats, Holder’s anti-gun positions won’t stop his nomination.  The NRA has to hope that Holder’s involvement in the FALN and Rich pardons and his connections to Blagojevich will derail his nomination, and a high-profile attack from the NRA could distract attention away from those points.

Of course, it could be that the NRA just doesn’t want to pick a fight, as Erick argues, but that doesn’t make much sense.  Wayne LaPierre and the NRA have shown little reluctance to conduct high-profile political campaigns in the past.  If they don’t want to do so here, I’d credit that to strategy rather than cowardice — mistaken strategy, I think, but still a strategic decision.  The NRA would be better off flexing its muscles here rather than keeping its powder dry.  The Attorney General position can create a lot of problems for gun-rights advocates over the next four years.

Will Holder get derailed?  Hatch’s surprise endorsement makes the chances rather slim, but Paul Mirengoff still has serious questions about Holder’s honesty and/or competence:

That relationship was announced by Blago himself at a press conference on March 24, 2004. The Illinois Gaming Board had voted, controversially, to approve a license for a casino in Rosemont, Illinois. In response to the controversy, which included allegations of corruption, Gov. Blagojevich called for a full, independent investigation. He announced at the March 24 press conference that Eric Holder would conduct that investigation.

But in his initial response to questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee in connection with his nomination to be Attorney General, Holder did not mention either the press conference with Blagojevich or the representation announced at that conference. Arlen Specter thus sought clarification of the omission.

In his response, Holder may well have dug himself a deeper hole. He begins by conceding that he should have disclosed the press conference and stating that this was an oversight. So far, so good. But then he asserts: “I never performed substantive work on the matter” of “investigat[ing] issues relating to the Illinois Gaming Board.” He also claims that the “engagement” announced by Blagojevich at the press conference “never materialized.”

Holder’s claim that he never performed substantive work on the Gaming Board investigation does not appear to be accurate. In response to a FOIA request, the Office of the Governor of Illinois has produced a letter of April 2, 2004 from Holder (on Covington & Burling letter head) to the Chairman of the Illinois Gaming Board. The letter begins by stating, “As you know, Governor Blagojevich has appointed me to investigate issues relating to gaming in the Village of Rosemont, Illinois.” After informing the Gaming Board Chairman that “the first stage of the investigation will fous on reviewing documents,” Holder proceeds to request the production of ten categories of documents.

Read the rest.  Hatch may have been better advised to hold off on his endorsement until the end of the confirmation hearings.


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damn hatch & the NRA. who is our friend anymore?

kelley in virginia on January 13, 2009 at 10:27 AM

Anyone who caves on fighting Holder’s nomination has…no…principles.

This guy as the top legal enforcer? A guy involved with those Clintoon pardons?

Cr@p….this country is done.

Let’s roll.

ex-Democrat on January 13, 2009 at 10:30 AM

I can’t believe how many sissies we have on our side of the aisle.

jencab on January 13, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Most Ethical Administration since Warren G. Harding.

It’s the Chicago Way.

kingsjester on January 13, 2009 at 10:32 AM

If the NRA aren’t real men anymore; who is?

Tommy_G on January 13, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Guns Owners of America is still our friend, I suggest joining today, it’s minimum dues are a mere $20 and their membership is growing.

I’m a life member of the NRA so this particular position about Holder pisses me off a bit. The strategy has always been to confront twits like Holder, not wait to see what happens and then act. Keeping the powder dry doesn’t mean crap when they come to confiscate it, better that it’s used in a rigid defense.

Bishop on January 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

I can’t believe how many sissies we have on our side of the aisle.

jencab on January 13, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Even sissies with GUNS! Ouch!

beththebaker on January 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

They probably also figure that, if Holder doesn’t get confirmed, the alternative AG might be much, much worse on guns. Holder is a lib but he is more self-interested than ideological.

BuzzCrutcher on January 13, 2009 at 10:34 AM

Hatch is a cowardly, self serving little weenie.

rplat on January 13, 2009 at 10:35 AM

Margaret Thatcher said one of the most difficult parts of being a major political leader was where to spend your resources.
There may be a very worthy cause, but the chance of success is minimal, and there my be a much less worth cause and chance of success excellent…with limited resources you choose the one where you succeed.
She stated often the heartbreak of having to make those decisions.
I suspect the NRA has to weigh the same in their approach, why throw money at a losing situation. I am sure the decision was not as easy as some think.

right2bright on January 13, 2009 at 10:35 AM

I’m really surprised. As a life member of the NRA I really expected opposition to Holder. Good thing Chris Know is on the ball.

Time for a nasty email to the NRA.

alilianstrom on January 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

I can understand why the NRA does not want to fight the most powerful Liberal lawyer in the country. The AG could make life a living nightmare for NRA if they try to derail him.

BroncosRock on January 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

I can’t believe how many sissies we have on our side of the aisle.

jencab on January 13, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Yup.

ExTex on January 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

You’ll get my wet towel when you pry it from my cold, dead, hands!

Now back off before I thwack you on the fanny.

NoDonkey on January 13, 2009 at 10:36 AM

This must make the Secret Service happy. With the slobbering mobs of so-called Republicans tripping over each other to kiss Obama’s posterior, no terrorist could get within a mile of The One.

Laura in Maryland on January 13, 2009 at 10:38 AM

From my cold, dead hands.

MadisonConservative on January 13, 2009 at 10:38 AM

I’m with you on this one, Ed. I just can’t bring myself to believe that my NRA would back away from a fight, I just can’t. But if Holder is confirmed, then boy, are things worse than I thought! The NRA had become the only “political” organization I was willing to give money to.

Weight of Glory on January 13, 2009 at 10:39 AM

You people actually think 65 democrats actually give a hoot about the NRA?? Yes I said 65 democrats, I am including 6 liberals Republicans. NRA has to play nice for them to survive the 2 years until 2011 when hopefully republicans are in a stronger strength to stop democrats in the senate.

BroncosRock on January 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM

the alternative AG might be much, much worse on guns.


It would be difficult to get much worse than Holder on guns. He wrote a amicus brief on Heller vs. D.C. that argued that their was no individual right to keep and bear arms of any kind in the Constitution and that it was the government and only that government that should be armed. All nine judges disagreed with him but this guy is dangerous. It would also allow Obama to keep his promise of himself not being a threat to gun owners. He’d let his AG do the work.

alilianstrom on January 13, 2009 at 10:40 AM

Even sissies with GUNS! Ouch!

beththebaker on January 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Owning a gun doesn’t make anyone less sissy than the next.

DeathToMediaHacks on January 13, 2009 at 10:41 AM

He wrote a amicus brief on Heller vs. D.C. that argued that their was no individual right to keep and bear arms of any kind in the Constitution and that it was the government and only that government that should be armed.

I think he made a provision for rap stars and professional athletes.

I mean, come on.

NoDonkey on January 13, 2009 at 10:42 AM

What would Charlton do?

Laura in Maryland on January 13, 2009 at 10:42 AM

Those 59 real democrats are being pressure right now back George Soros and his irk so there is no way 59 democrats won’t o.k. the Messiah’s AG. The Messiah’s TOO BIG TO FAIL.

BroncosRock on January 13, 2009 at 10:44 AM

What would Charlton do?
Laura in Maryland on January 13, 2009 at 10:42 AM

He would fight the apes.

Bishop on January 13, 2009 at 10:44 AM

I don’t know if this is the right decision or not.

However, in general I don’t like it when senators oppose appointees on ideological grounds. They’re supposed to confirm or not based on the appointee’s competence, ethics, etc, NOT their politics. Holder’s ethics in the pardon mess are questionable, and that may be grounds enough to oppose him.

juliesa on January 13, 2009 at 10:45 AM

He would fight the apes.

I think that Dr. Zeus can be negotiated with, he’s the Yassar Arafat of apeland.

Send Hillary to do it, they have a lot in common, including common relatives.

NoDonkey on January 13, 2009 at 10:45 AM

Me? I’m still wondering how Barney, Fish, Wojo, Nick, Det. Dietrich and Inspector Luger at the 12th precinct are going to get by without the guy…

Captain Scarlet on January 13, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Me? I’m still wondering how Barney, Fish, Wojo, Nick, Det. Dietrich and Inspector Luger at the 12th precinct are going to get by without the guy…

Exactly, he was one of the few level-headed guys down there. Now what?

Between that role and his role as Tessio in the Godfather, Abe Vigoda is pretty much the best actor ever.

NoDonkey on January 13, 2009 at 10:49 AM

Bishop on January 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

Thanks for the tip on Gun Owners of America. I left the NRA years ago. And, Hatch is a good example of why the GOP is in trouble.

a capella on January 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

Having a sh!t like Holder as AG leaves the door open for the Hopeandchange Express to railroad us in an efficient manner either by selective enforcement or non-enforcement of our laws, and the purposeful misreading of laws and statutes to further the Messiah’s Mistake’s agenda.

This is too important for the right to just roll over, and not only for 2nd amendment reasons. A stout opposition even if unsuccessful in blocking the nomination would serve notice that conservatives are not going to fade quietly into the night, and are rightfully expecting their seat at the table.

hillbillyjim on January 13, 2009 at 10:52 AM

I don’t know. I’m of two minds on this. A part of me does understand that when resources are limited, you have to pick and choose your battles; but another part of me says that we conservatives have to stand up and fight–or we’re going to get run over.

Problem is, these days, confirmation does depend on politics. Holder is not qualified from an integrity or possibly even competency point of view–but he does meet the ideological litmus test of a majority of the senators–enough to overcome a filibuster once you take into account the co-opted Republicans, so, barring the raising of such a deep stench that the population as a whole reacts in revulsion to his appointment, he most likely will be confirmed.

So…where does that leave us and the NRA? Should the NRA take a pass on stiff resistance here in favor of husbanding resources for the attritional war to come or should it make a strong, yet most likely futile stand. Alamos and Thermopylae’s have their place–make no mistake about that–but so does carrying out strategic withdrawals. It worked for the Russians against the Swedes, the French, and Hitler. A strategic withdrawal might be the way to go here. But it sucks rocks–God does it suck rocks.

Matt Helm on January 13, 2009 at 10:54 AM

It’s strategy. They aren’t supporting him, are writing a letter opposing him, but are choosing not to deplete resources in a losing battle.

With this administration, there are many, many more battles to come. The NRA will need every dollar and ounce of energy they can come up with in the next 4 years.

cs89 on January 13, 2009 at 10:54 AM

How does AG Holder stand on squirty guns and blunt edged scissors.

Because I don’t know how we’re going to create our paper mache statues of Great Leader without those scissors and we’ll need the squirty guns to ward off the swarms of locusts, now that the end is near.

NoDonkey on January 13, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Quislings.

Mr. Joe on January 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Thanks for the tip on Gun Owners of America. I left the NRA years ago. And, Hatch is a good example of why the GOP is in trouble.
a capella on January 13, 2009 at 10:51 AM

300,000 members and counting. It never hurts to join the fight on as many fronts as possible and GOA is pretty much a no-bullshat gun advocacy group. I also sent a “strongly worded email” to NRA but don’t expect much to change; they don’t seem to be as confrontational as they were in the past.

http://gunowners.org

Bishop on January 13, 2009 at 10:56 AM

Thanks a lot Hatch. God how do we have so many rats in this Party?

WisCon on January 13, 2009 at 10:57 AM

The NRA will send out a letter in opposition to Holder, but will neither testify against Holder nor score legislators based on their votes for or against Holder.

This part is interesting as well. By not scoring this vote, they prevent future “soundbites” about Republicans having low NRA scores. Whether or not you agree with the strategy, it’s pretty obvious that this is a strategic decision.

cs89 on January 13, 2009 at 11:00 AM

I just peeled off my van my NRA sticker.
When it’s time to renew I will not.
I will support:
http://gunowners.org/
instead.

NRA – KMA

izoneguy on January 13, 2009 at 11:13 AM

You people actually think 65 democrats actually give a hoot about the NRA?? Yes I said 65 democrats, I am including 6 liberals Republicans

With this administration, there are many, many more battles to come. The NRA will need every dollar and ounce of energy they can come up with in the next 4 years.

Whether or not you agree with the strategy, it’s pretty obvious that this is a strategic decision.

Oily Snow and her RINO pals are like willows in the wind and cannot be counted on in any test involving gun ownership.
La Pierre et al are picking their battles judiciously. With the gradual uncovering of tidbits about Holder’s ties to Blago and other potential conflicts, the NRA might just be letting the nomination unravel itself. Nothing is better that having others do your work for you. With Carol Browner belonging to a socialist organization and Hilda Solis failing to fully explain why she was “for” secret ballots before she was against them concerning card check, the Dems are challenging their own credibility.

Schmo on January 13, 2009 at 11:27 AM

You have to pick the hill you want to die on, but I’m puzzled by NRA’s unwillingness to fight this appointment also. But before I tear up my life membership card I will seek an explanation.
With Obama the slime just keeps oozing to the top.

SKYFOX on January 13, 2009 at 11:28 AM

With the gradual uncovering of tidbits about Holder’s ties to Blago and other potential conflicts, the NRA might just be letting the nomination unravel itself.

If the NRA is naive enough to think that the Democrats are going to investigate themselves, that the media will press them or that the Republicans are going to raise a big stink over the first black AG in American history, then they are clearly delusional and unworthy of my membership.

NoDonkey on January 13, 2009 at 11:34 AM

I almost hope the Dems do try a big gun grab. They’d lose seats over it.

juliesa on January 13, 2009 at 11:39 AM

Thanks a lot Hatch. God how do we have so many rats in this Party?

WisCon on January 13, 2009 at 10:57 AM

The same way we have moronic idiots in PA., OH., VA., FL., MN., that voted for a EMPTY SUIT with ZERO experience, a RADICAL LEFTIST that hates America… That’s how…

Mark Garnett on January 13, 2009 at 11:43 AM

I almost hope the Dems do try a big gun grab. They’d lose seats over it.

a

Not to mention that anything the Dems try to do is foiled by their complete incompetence and blatant corruption.

If the Dems try and grab guns, it’ll go just as most of their counterproductive programs run and end up in a net increase in gun ownership.

Might cost us a few extra bucks in bribes, but hey, that’s the cost of doing business in the United States of Chicago.

NoDonkey on January 13, 2009 at 11:46 AM

While the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the District’s ban on handguns, they also made it clear that the Constitution allows for reasonable restrictions on access to firearms. As Justice Scalia said, “the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited.” When the dust settles, most Americans — and I believe even most in the gun violence prevention movement — will come to see that there are some positives in this decision.

Elected officials will no longer be able to use a mistaken, absolutist misreading of the Second Amendment as an excuse to do nothing about gun violence in our country. Politicians can’t hide behind the Second Amendment anymore.

Whose definition of reasonable? Holders?

Speakup on January 13, 2009 at 11:51 AM

If they don’t want to do so here, I’d credit that to strategy rather than cowardice — mistaken strategy, I think, but still a strategic decision.

I believe the proper word is “stragedy”.

steveegg on January 13, 2009 at 11:57 AM

NRA is a center-left group and has been for some time now. No surprise here.

The Dean on January 13, 2009 at 12:07 PM

Strike the 2nd Amendment from the Constitution.

Who’s abusing the Constitution now?

madmonkphotog on January 13, 2009 at 12:14 PM

Welcome to the Brave New World Spineless New World

UltimateBob on January 13, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Even sissies with GUNS! Ouch!

beththebaker on January 13, 2009 at 10:33 AM

On hold at NRA right now (member) to find out wtf is going on. I keep wondering if they feel that one of Holder’s other ethical and intellectual limitations are going to keep him out of office.

Being stupid and corrupt seems like a bad combination, even for the Obama administration. And they still have that bus warming up.

Jaibones on January 13, 2009 at 12:48 PM

The NRA would be better off flexing its muscles here rather than keeping its powder dry. The Attorney General position can create a lot of problems for gun-rights advocates over the next four years.

The problem here is that from a gun rights perspective, any liberal is going to be equally bad in the AG post. They will all push for stricter enforcement of gun laws, will increase prosecutions of gun dealers for technical infractions of gun dealer laws, and will argue in the courts for whatever gun control laws exist out there. Maybe Holder has been a bit more outspoken about it, but there’s no evidence to believe that Holder has a huge bug up his butt about guns, and will go excessively far out of his way to use his office to reduce gun rights.

Where NRA needs to focus its attention is at the Congressional level and directly to Obama, to prevent an assault weapons ban from being passed or other serious gun control measures. And if NRA jumps up and down and screams at Holder, all they will do is lose any possibility they have of persuading Democrats to keep their mitts off our guns.

Outlander on January 13, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Is it possible that the NRA is saving their brownie points to fight things like H. R. 1022? This bill is the reinstitution of the Scary Looking Gun Act, but adding more weapons and features, eliminating the sunset clause (and from what I’ve heard but haven’t found yet) allow the AG to add guns to the prohibited list at his discression.
Additionally, they have to look at the one’s stated intention of eliminating ccw nationally.

Catseye on January 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM

The things that are going on in the U.S. now, are strangely reminiscent to things that happened in Germany prior to WW2.

Johan Klaus on January 13, 2009 at 1:10 PM

Keep your stinking paws off my guns you damn dirty apes.

PappaMac on January 13, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Is it possible that the NRA is saving their brownie points to fight things like H. R. 1022? This bill is the reinstitution of the Scary Looking Gun Act, but adding more weapons and features, eliminating the sunset clause (and from what I’ve heard but haven’t found yet) allow the AG to add guns to the prohibited list at his discression.
Additionally, they have to look at the one’s stated intention of eliminating ccw nationally.

Catseye on January 13, 2009 at 1:02 PM

What is more scary is the attempt to control ammunition.

Johan Klaus on January 13, 2009 at 1:14 PM

The NRA is about useless, which is why I cancelled my membership nearly 15 years ago.

Looks like we are on our own for real now.

Cowards.

-Dave

Dave R. on January 13, 2009 at 1:31 PM

Keep your stinking paws off my guns you damn dirty apes liberals.

PappaMac on January 13, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Fixed it for you!

grapeknutz on January 13, 2009 at 2:07 PM

Ammo is already a problem thanks to Obama. I had to go to 3 different stores to get .270 ammo. Forget the 7.62 X 39 or the 9 X 18 Makarov.

One big sporting goods store I went to was stocking shotgun shells. I looked at the rifle ammo section, and it was blown out. I asked them when they were going to stock the rifle section, and they said they just did.

Even Midway USA is blown out, as is Cheaper Than Dirt. Things are already getting ugly on the ammo front.

saiga on January 13, 2009 at 4:06 PM

The Attorney General position can create a lot of problems for gun-rights advocates over the next four years.

Exactly. I would argue that the AG is the only appointment that the NRA should be concerned about. No one but a Supreme Court Justice can have as much of an impact on gun rights. Have we forgotten Janet Reno so soon?

JackOfClubs on January 13, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Spoke with NRA at Alexandria and the comment was “bloggers got it wrong.” My response was no cash if the do not fight Holder tooth and nail. Texas State Rifle may get all the money along with Gun owners of America. LaPiere needs to step up and speak out, PRONTO. 2010 is gonna be a biggee.

Col.John Wm. Reed on January 13, 2009 at 5:27 PM

Dems/lefties betting that they will destroy economic hope sp badly that no one is going to give a rats petoot about that silly Bill of Rights.

Benjamin9 on January 13, 2009 at 5:57 PM

It looks like the NRA is picking the battles. Sending letters to members is not lack of action — If you’re a member of the NRA and get one of those letters, write or call your congresscritter and gripe about *your* opposition to Holder on 2nd amendment grounds. Enough of those letters and even the most tone-deaf may listen.

/yeah, ammo situation is bad. Demand has spiked since the election. Just like the stock market performance, it’s another leading indicator of the public’s confidence in the Obama administration. i.e., the stock market is based upon what investors think will happen in the future — they are showing they do not believe the Messiah is going to help the economy or recovery. Analogously, Gun owners are buying everything they can get their hands on now because they don’t believe The One’s statement that he supports the second amendment (or at least that he supports it in the way we think support for the second amendment means)

AZfederalist on January 13, 2009 at 8:55 PM

NRA deliberately threw California under the bus as an “axample” in the 90s by pulling active support from those opposing the CA AWB, so that CA could “serve as an example.”

This was how Tanya Metaksa of the NRA explained it to me, so don’t give me any crap about me being anti-NRA.

Yes, they will throw their members under the bus. No doubt about it.

Merovign on January 13, 2009 at 10:55 PM