Jeff Flake hints: I’ll support expanded background checks in return for changes on Internet sales

posted at 11:21 am on May 7, 2013 by Allahpundit

A week ago, he noted on his Facebook page that his poll numbers after voting no on Toomey/Manchin put him somewhere south of “pond scum.” Today, this.

He won’t face the voters again for five and a half years, but he shares a home state with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. They can hurt him by campaigning against him in 2018 more than they can anyone else in the Senate. No wonder he’s looking for ways to flip:

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told CNN he is willing to reverse his opposition to expanding background checks for guns if the Senate sponsors change on the bill’s provision dealing with internet sales…

He said under the measure as written, if a gun owner sends a few friends a text or email asking if they want to buy their gun, or posts it on their Facebook page, “that is considered a commercial sale.”

For people in rural areas in his state and others, he said that becomes inconvenient and costly…

Some Republicans opposed the measure out of fear that expanding background checks would put the country on a path to a national gun registry, but Flake said that is not his concern.

If Flake flips, that’s 55 votes for Toomey/Manchin. Johnny Isakson also allegedly told a gun-control activist yesterday that he’s “having conversations” with T&M to improve their bill, but when pressed on that by reporters, his spokesman claimed the bill “would have to be significantly reworked” to get his vote. Even so, Democrats are whispering that two Republicans have approached them to restart debate on it; assuming that Flake is one of them, that means there are potentially 56 votes for the taking. But wait, we’re not done:

“Joe Manchin called me yesterday,” Reid said. “He thinks he has a couple more votes. The one senator, Republican Senator from New Hampshire [Kelly Ayotte], has been — wham, man has she been hit hard. She’s the only senator in the northeast to vote against background checks. She went from a hugely positive number in New Hampshire — her negatives now outweigh her positives. She is being hit every place she goes. So we are going to pick up some more votes. I may be able to get another Democrat or two. That would get us up to 57. We may only need three additional Republicans. So we’ll see.”

If Reid can get two more Democrats, that makes 58 votes — tantalizingly close to 60, with Kelly Ayotte suddenly under even more pressure to flip and break the filibuster. She has an op-ed out today, in fact, insisting that she does support background checks but reiterating that “we shouldn’t be expanding a flawed system. The focus should be on fixing the existing system, which criminals are flouting.” Whether that means she’s resolved to stick to her guns by opposing T-M or whether she’s merely floating a trial balloon here to see if it’s enough to get gun-control fans to back off, we’ll see.

Even if Ayotte flips, Reid will still need one more. Politico has a fun piece today about Democrats whining that their pal Mike Bloomberg won’t leave poor Mark Pryor alone and focus on attacking pro-gun Republicans instead, but I wonder if that calculus will change if/when they’re a vote away from passing Toomey/Manchin. In that case, they can use a little extra arm-twisting. What I don’t get, though, is why Bloomberg’s group would attack Pryor with its own ads rather than fund local gun-control groups to do it for them. Having a big-city blue-state alliance like Mayors Against Illegal Guns dumping on him makes it easy for Pryor to dismiss them as outsiders meddling in a southern state’s affairs. Get a bunch of liberals from Little Rock to form “Razorbacks Against Self-Defense” or whatever and make them the front man.

Here’s what MAIG’s up to with Ayotte in New Hampshire.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Why is anyone surpprised at this? Both sides are pushing the same damn crap. They are playing bad cop good cop on the entire country. Have been for years. Wake up people.

bgibbs1000 on May 7, 2013 at 6:12 PM

So Flake is for Open Borders Amnesty, higher taxes (internet), and now ready to flip and push gun control?

Is he running for RINO of the year?

DaMav on May 7, 2013 at 6:22 PM

I don’t understand the desire to die on this hill repeatedly, when the war will end in the House, which they have no control over and will most likely not pass this bill.

ButterflyDragon on May 7, 2013 at 2:21 PM

You’re kidding, right? Do you really think that John Boehnor will provide any serious opposition at all, especially when the Senate bill has the sheen of “bipartisanship” courtesy of unprincipled cowards like Flake and Ayotte (who, I’m sure, is anxious to get on board as soon as she can figure out a plausible cover story).

The house “leadership” will be all too happy to recruit most of the democrats and a minority of republicans (allowing a few inside-friends who need to appear “conservative” to vote meaninglessly against it once they’ve calculated the whip count).

Boehnor has already demonstrated by word and deed that the concept of the “Hastert Rule” is of no concern to him. Think about the significance of that: he feels no compunction against acting in direct contradiction of the expressed wishes of the majority of the members of his own party, who in turn, presumably represent the majority of the voting citizens of this country.

There is less and less reason to try to differentiate between the “Democrat” and “Republican” parties. Neither believes that We The People have any right to have a say about our own governance.

bofh on May 7, 2013 at 6:36 PM

I’d never heard of Mr. Flake but now I have. Do it Mr. Flake and you’ll be back in the private sector so quick your name will change, no? Try us on the National Stage Mr. Flake.

Tangerinesong on May 7, 2013 at 7:03 PM

If Republicans think Obamacare is a volatile issue they ain’t seen nothin’ yet. If they were to flip and pass a gun control bill through both Houses that doesn’t have say Coburn and Grassley behind it. They may as well disband. There would be no recovery.

bluesdoc70 on May 7, 2013 at 8:56 PM

Jeff Flake told CNN he is willing to reverse his opposition to expanding background checks for guns

Might just as well
pull the trigger on the one you
have pointed at your head, dumbass!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on May 8, 2013 at 12:01 AM

Then plant him on Boot Hill
between Marco’Pancho’Rubio
and Johnny ‘Flap Jaw’ McCain:

~~~~~~~Here Lies~~~~~~~
~~~The fastest rolloverer~~~
~~~~~~in the West~~~~~~~

On Watch on May 8, 2013 at 12:30 AM

Is this guy not capable of saying NO to both?!?!


RealMc on May 8, 2013 at 7:39 AM

That argument is the same as the Left’s on late-term abortion. No one wants some sort of national registry or gun banning, however we should have a set of principles we believe in and stand by, not political positions. I like to think we are above that sort of thinking.

Tater Salad on May 7, 2013 at 12:02 PM

Read this bill proposal from Oregon (which appears dead for the moment):

Now tell me Mr. NRA/people should compromise, how do you argue with that? They want to ban darn near 90% of modern guns. A lever action .22 is an assault weapon? There is no compromise with these people. This is the line and no further. This showdown has been building for over 100+ years. Government vs the individual.

oryguncon on May 8, 2013 at 12:03 PM

So Flake is for Open Borders Amnesty, higher taxes (internet), and now ready to flip and push gun control?

Is he running for RINO of the year?

DaMav on May 7, 2013 at 6:22 PM

He has let the mother of all rinos, john mccain, make all his descisions.

doublee on May 8, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Flake is such a disappointment. We (Arizonan’s) need to recall his butt along with McCain.

John_G on May 9, 2013 at 12:12 PM

South Carolina sympathizes with y’all in Arizona.After all we have Lindsey Graham!

redware on May 9, 2013 at 7:26 PM

Comment pages: 1 2