Denizens of flyover country are often puzzled by the choices and behavior of their coastal betters. New Yorkers, more specifically residents of New York City, are a case in point. They elected as mayor Michael Bloomberg, ostensibly a Republican, whose deranged fixations with the personal habits of citizens, including their preferred means of consuming soft drinks, and the amount of salt they dared sprinkle on their food, would seem to most Republicans the hallmark of the most fervent socialists/Democrats. But perhaps his biggest break with Republican orthodoxy was his obsession with disarming the law aiding. Or perhaps, I should say what “is” (not the Clintonian what “is” is). In any case, New Yorkers now have a real socialist in charge, but that doesn’t mean Bloomberg is any less determined to bend all Americans to his inherently intrusive will.
The New York Times has the story:
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.
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.
Strange. I don’t recall the NRA or anyone associated with them ever saying or implying an intention to “go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids.” But it’s in the NYT, so it must be true.
This at a time when his Mayors Against Illegal Guns is falling apart, a great many of its mayoral “members” having discovered that Bloomberg is actually after legal guns rather than illegal guns which are already, well, illegal. Unsurprisingly, lawful gun owners possessing entirely lawful firearms, rather than fearing their elected representatives, tend to bestow political consequences on politicians that demonize them.
But this is not the only political difficulty Bloomberg has faced in his anti-freedom crusade. In December of 2013, he tried another tactic:
On December 26th Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) will announce it is joining forces with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (MDA) in a continuing push for more gun control.
This will benefit MAIG inasmuch as their numbers have been dwindling and it will benefit MDA by giving them the funding that comes from “Bloomberg’s deep pockets.”
According to USA Today, MAIG chairman John Feinblatt says the joining of the two groups marks ‘a turning point for the [gun control] movement.’
It should be noted that neither group has been very successful operating on their own to date. MAIG ruthlessly campaigned for the passage of Senator Joe Manchin’s (D-WV) gun bill in April, only to see it defeated.
The failure of MAIG is best understood by juxtaposing November 2012 with November 2013. In 2012 Bloomberg suggested the NRA was dying–that it no longer possessed the ability to ‘move the needle’ in political elections. In November 2013 Virginia delegate races NRA-backed candidates beat Bloomberg/MAIG candidates 65-2.
As for MDA, to date they have pressured Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz to ban guns in all Starbucks stores: he did not. They are currently pressuring Staples CEO Ronald Sargent to ban guns in all Staples stores: he has not.
MDA has accomplished little more than nagging the tiny portion of the public willing to listen to anything they have to say. It now appears that Bloomberg is consolidating all of his anti-gun efforts and infusing them with cash in an attempt to remain relevant:
The plans call for a restructuring of the gun control groups he funds, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. They will be brought under one new umbrella group called Everytown for Gun Safety.
The strategy will focus not on sweeping federal restrictions to ban certain weapons, but instead will seek to expand the background check system for gun buyers both at the state and national levels.
Fortunately, outside of New York City, Bloomberg has generally been regarded as little more than a wealthy crank who has always been someone else’s problem. The NYT provides a helpful comment from Bloomberg that explains why most Americans hold him in low esteem: he’s a legend in his own mind.
I don’t know what your perception is of our reputation, and mine, the name Bloomberg around the country,’ he said. But every place he goes, he added, ‘You’re a rock star. People yelling out of cabs, ‘Hey, way to go!
Not only is Bloomberg a self-imagined rock star, he imagines himself high on heaven’s hit parade as well:
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.
“If there is a God…” With that kind of hubris, Bloomberg might find himself spending eternity in the “close” presence of a far less forgiving deity–if there is a God, of course.
Bloomberg’s willingness to spend tens of millions appears predicated more on his ego needs than on any realistic hope of success. Since the Clinton Gun ban, and arguably before, the national gun debate has been trending solidly toward liberty. Even in advance of the Supreme Court’s Heller and McDonald decisions, more and more states enacted shall issue concealed carry laws, and post Heller, the trend is toward constitutional carry—no license at all required to carry a concealed handgun for those not otherwise disqualified by law. Even Chicago and Washington DC have been forced to bring their gun laws into compliance with the Constitution, though they continue to resist and foot drag as much as they can.
Throughout all of these years, the NRA has continued to be the foremost gun safety organization on the planet, and as a direct result, even though there are far more firearms in private hands than at any time in American history, accidents with firearms are at an all time low. In fact, the number of violent crimes—including crimes committed with the use of firearms—have been consistently declining as well.
Opponents of liberty commonly ascribe the NRA’s success to evil motivations and methods, to instilling fear in legislators, fear of its political power. It is true that the NRA is the most powerful lobby in Washington, and that many legislators fear voting against it, but there is no evil involved. The NRA’s success is due to two primary factors: it is defending an unalienable, fundamental human right, one explicitly acknowledged in the Bill of Rights, and it represents the will of a consistent majority of the American people. In fact, the NRA’s genuine, paid membership—unlike Obama Administration nebulous Obamacare signups—is currently more than five million and steadily increasing. This is more, by an enormous margin, than any other advocacy group. Legislators should fear being caught voting against the Constitution, particularly the fundamental right that secures all other rights. When they don’t, liberty will have been lost.
While Mr. Bloomberg spends $50 million dollars or more to destroy the Second Amendment, the NRA and other groups can spend far less and still win because they are on the side of liberty and the Constitution. No amount of reorganizing and rebranding will help Bloomberg, particularly when the Obama Administration demonstrates daily, by lies, abuses, violations of the law and Constitution, and most recently, by employing paramilitary armed force in a cattle grazing dispute, that the Founders were brilliant indeed in writing the Second Amendment as a bulwark against tyranny, the kind of tyranny that begins with telling people how much Coca-Cola they can drink, how much salt they can put on their food, and which guns, if any, they may possess.
Mike’s Home blog is Stately McDaniel Manor.