Bloomberg to spend $50 million to "outmuscle" the NRA

Actually, it’s difficult to choose whether to start with the first paragraph or the last paragraph in this New York Times report on Michael Bloomberg’s latest project. The first paragraph covers Bloomberg’s ongoing efforts to pass gun-control legislation after the failure of his Mayors Against Illegal Guns to move the needle at all on his agenda. Besides, several of the mayors walked out after it became obvious that Bloomberg opposed a lot more than just illegal guns … which are, of course, already illegal.

This time Bloomberg wants to spend $50 million to set up a grassroots network to take on the National Rifle Association:

Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.

Normally, that would be arrogant enough to fuel a few blog posts all on its own. That brings us to the last paragraph, in which Bloomberg mulled over his mortality with NYT reporter Jeremy Peters. And … well, this has to be read to be grasped:

But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you if there is a God, when I get to heaven I’m not stopping to be interviewed. I am heading straight in. I have earned my place in heaven. It’s not even close.”

Ahem. According to Bloomberg, there may or may not be a God, but Bloomberg will tell Him what to do in the former case. I’m not an expert on Bloomberg’s Reform Judaism, but, ah … I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works. Or maybe Bloomberg just believes that heaven is the eternal nanny state. Hard to guess, really, from the data presented here, but from Bloomberg’s track record here on this side of the veil, I’d guess that Bloomberg figures to be on Big Gulp/Trans-Fat Watch for the rest of eternity. That may be heaven for Bloomberg, but how many of us dream of an afterlife with a self-important bureaucrat telling us and God how it’s going to be?

Speaking of which, here’s Bloomberg’s idea about how to win friends and influence people here on Earth:

Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said gun control advocates need to learn from the N.R.A. and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda — even Democrats whose positions otherwise align with his own.

“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ ”

He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”

Well, it’s his money and he can do what he wants with it, but there are over 60 million lawful firearms owners in the US. He’s not even putting up a dollar against each of those. Fifty million samoleans might buy an election or two in New York, but spread out across the US for grassroots purposes, it’s not going to make as much of an impact as Bloomberg anticipates. It’s just a little over a fifth of the NRA’s annual budget, and they raise four times that much each year from their membership alone.

If Bloomberg thinks he can bully gun owners, he’s got another think coming. His arrogance really does know no bounds, and his Democratic allies had better rethink their relationship to him before political lightning strikes too close to them … or some other kind of lightning.

Update: Reform Judaism, not reform Judaism; it’s been corrected above.