As John Ekdahl says, it’s awfully hard not to see a cynical motive in a conservative senator from a blue state suddenly “evolving” on gun control. I can’t believe I’m saying this after spending years rooting for Toomey primary challenges to Arlen Specter, but … is someone going to end up primarying Pat Toomey? Or will Pennsylvania conservatives follow the Scott Brown rule and stay out of his way in the belief/knowledge that no one they nominate will have a better chance of winning their state than the current somewhat unsatisfactory Republican incumbent?
Matt Lewis identifies Toomey and immigration point man Marco Rubio as part of a new “Teastablishment” vanguard:
This gives me two immediate thoughts: First, if Pat Toomey were going to be a standard Republican who works across the aisle to forge compromises with Democrats anyway, then why did conservatives expend so much energy trying to elect him (and oust another Republican senator with more experience)?
Granted, you may say that Toomey has to move to the center in order to win re-election in 2016. But one could also have used that excuse to forgive Specter’s penchant for bipartisan compromise.
The second thing this highlights is that all the worry about those “crazy” and extreme conservative tea party candidates elected to the U.S. senate in 2010 was overwrought.
Yay, I guess?
Two clips for you, first the ad that the Bloomberg gun-control group started running in PA a week ago and, via the Daily Caller, the one they’re running today. I hope Toomey knows what he’s doing: The way Tom Coburn’s talking, it sounds like the new bill’s in for a chilly reception among Republicans because of its provisions about record-keeping. But Toomey can live with that. If the point here is to lighten the load of being a red senator in a blue state, what better way than to be crossways with the rest of the party on a high-profile issue? If it passes, it’s a bipartisan feather in his cap. If it fails, he’s a “different kind of Republican.” Smart politics either way. Unless, er, he gets primaried.
Update: Conservative opposition to starting debate on a bill is relenting:
Sen. Mike Lee says will not block debate on the shrunken gun control measure, which is now just watered-down background checks. Smart move.
— Brit Hume (@brithume) April 10, 2013