Tim Ryan's pistol shooting ad likely a backfire

Tim Ryan's pistol shooting ad likely a backfire
AP Photo/Jay LaPrete, File

Ohio senatorial candidate Tim Ryan is trailing in the polls. His opponent, J.D. Vance has a commanding lead going into Tuesday’s midterm elections, and that means Ryan is desperate.

So, he revealed a new ad, one apparently designed to make him appear tough and manly as well as potentially appeal to Second Amendment voters.

Here’s the ad itself:

Tell me you don’t know how to shoot without telling me you don’t know how to shoot.

Look, I have no issue with Ryan taking a day at the range. I’d love it if more Democrats embraced the Second Amendment. Then we’d have fewer threats to our right to keep and bear arms.

But it’s clear from watching this that Ryan doesn’t have a lot of time on the range. His posture is that of someone who is generally afraid of the pistol, what with leaning back rather than into the shot, and it’s clear he doesn’t have much, if any training.

And I’m not the only one who noticed, either.

Gun owners rushed to point out Ryan’s poor shooting form in response to the video.

Another Twitter user likened Ryan’s stance to that of a “child shooting for the first time.”

The National Rifle Association offered Ryan some elementary shooting training in response to the staged gesture.

 

Then there’s the fact that his grouping isn’t even that good.

For a novice? Yeah, that’s a fine place to start, but Ryan doesn’t pretend it’s a starting point. He says, “Not too bad for a Democrat.”

Unless, of course, he’s saying Democrats can’t shoot worth a damn. If that’s the case, well, I know of a few who can shoot far, far better than what he’s showing here.

So why do something like this? It just feels like a stunt, particularly in a year when Democrats have been pushing for gun control.

My guess is that Ryan thinks Vance is vulnerable on the Second Amendment. After all, some of the Hillbilly Elegy’s past comments may have haunted him earlier in the campaign cycle. Of course, Vance has also called for abolishing the ATF, which warms the heart of many a gun rights supporter, so I don’t know why Ryan would pull this.

Frankly, it kind of reminds me of Michael Dukakis’s head sticking out of a tank.

This isn’t going to win him Second Amendment support. If anything, it makes it clear that Ryan is nothing but a politician who will do whatever he has to in order to convince you he’s really one of you. He’s not. His shooting makes that clear, and that is what he likely thinks matters to you.

The thing is, I don’t need lawmakers to be shooters. It’s great if they are, but that’s not a requirement.

What they need, though, is respect for the Second Amendment. Ryan can articulate that outside of a gun range. He could make the argument that the right to keep and bear arms really is absolute or argue against assault weapon bans or universal background checks or red flag laws. All of those are easy to do and don’t require pretending he’s a gun guy.

Instead, he’s insulting our intelligence. He’s pretending he’s one of us, not realizing that we can all see that he’s no such thing.