Quotes of the day

posted at 10:41 pm on May 1, 2013 by Allahpundit

The contentious political fight over gun control moved into the White Mountains of New Hampshire on Tuesday as gun-control activists began to focus on Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) as a prime target in their effort to revive their push for stricter gun laws

Back home this week for a series of town hall meetings, Ayotte is facing new constituent anger and a coordinated effort by gun-control groups to turn her vote into a political liability. These organizations include Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group founded by New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), and the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress. Other groups are deploying organizers to New Hampshire, Arizona, Arkansas, Nevada and North Dakota in hopes of shaming moderate senators of both parties who voted against the background-check plan…

“There’s a sense that the people who support background checks know that they’re in the mainstream,” Stadtman said. “To be rejected by Ayotte like that, when it was so obvious that many of her constituents wanted her to vote for it — it was a tipping point.”

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New PPP polls in Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio find serious backlash against the 5 Senators who voted against background checks in those states. Each of them has seen their approval numbers decline, and voters say they’re less likely to support them the next time they’re up for reelection…

After just 3 months in office Jeff Flake has already become one of the most unpopular Senators in the country. Just 32% of voters approve of him to 51% who disapprove and that -19 net approval rating makes him the most unpopular sitting Senator we’ve polled on, taking that label from Mitch McConnell…

We saw serious improvement in Rob Portman’s poll numbers in the second half of 2012 following his consideration as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, but he’s taken a nose dive in 2013. Portman’s approval has dropped a net 18 points over the last 6 months from +10 (35/25) in October to now -8 (26/34) in April. Portman’s popularity decline has come across the board with Democrats (from 15/39 to 8/50), Republicans (62/11 to 46/19), and independents (28/23 to 24/32) alike…

And in Nevada Dean Heller has seen a more modest decline in his approval numbers, from 47/42 right before the election to 44/41 now. However with the independent voters who were critical to his narrow victory in November, his approval has dropped from 52/37 then to now 42/42.

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Nothing like waking up to a poll saying you’re the nation’s least popular senator. Given the public’s dim view of Congress in general, that probably puts me somewhere just below pond scum.

Now, notwithstanding the polling firm’s leftist bent, I would assume that my poll numbers have indeed taken a southerly turn since my vote against the Manchin-Toomey background check proposal. It was a popular amendment, and I voted against it.

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Via Gallup:

gal

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Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) revealed that some members of his party opposed expanding background checks for gun sales recently because they didn’t want to “be seen helping the president.”…

“In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it,” Toomey admitted on Tuesday in an interview with Digital First Media editors in the offices of the Times Herald newspaper in Norristown, Pa.

The Times Herald noted that in “subsequent comments,” Toomey “tried to walk that remark part-way back by noting he meant to say Republicans across the nation in general, not just those in the Senate.”

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“After you get the 29″ votes to filibuster, one conservative staffer put it, “you know who to beat up.” The filibuster effort, by this telling, was something of a whip count by a guerilla unit of conservative freshmen.

So Lee, Cruz, and Paul — and their staffs — set out to work on those Republicans who were less than firm. Almost the entire GOP conference was pretty strong in opposing the Democrats’ more Draconian gun control proposals — such as an assault weapons ban — but the conservative rump didn’t want any new regulations on gun ownership by law-abiding citizens. Cruz, along with almost every other Republican, signed on to an alternative bill by Sen. Charles Grassley, which mostly beefed up the current federal database behind background checks.

Anything more ambitious was a nonstarter in the eyes of Cruz, Paul and Lee. Specifically, they rejected the proposal by Sens. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., to create a mandatory universal background check. Toomey-Manchin was the only real chance Obama had of passing a gun control bill. If that went down, gun control went down…

So, the Obama account is wrong in part because it portrays the NRA as calling all the shots within the GOP on guns. But it seems it was Cruz, Lee and Paul who drew the line, and then the NRA came in to hold that line.

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Last night on MSNBC’s Hardball, Chris Matthews played this video and asked for my response.

I brought up the analogy of terrorism yielding calls for war in the Muslim world, or restrictions on civil liberties. These are standard responses to terrorist attacks, and it’s very likely that some victims or their families would advocate such a response.

“Just because there’s a victim who wants a direct response,” I said, “doesn’t mean that is a correct policy response.”

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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