National Rifle Association

Ron Johnson Is Taking His SCOTUS Talking Points Straight From Right-Wing Groups

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of the Republican senators who is under considerable pressure in his home state to break from his party leadership and consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

So far, Johnson has toed the party line and says that he supports blocking any nominee to the Supreme Court for the remainder of Obama’s presidency. In defending this position, he has turned to a number of stock talking points cooked up by right-wing groups seeking to keep an Obama nominee off the Supreme Court.

As soon as President Obama announced his nomination of Garland, Johnson turned to the talking point that the conservative Judicial Crisis Network has been promoting since soon after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death left a vacant seat on the Supreme Court.

Johnson’s appeal to let the American people “decide” and give them a “voice” by discounting President Obama’s entire last year in office, comes straight out of the messaging that JCN started hammering in early ads urging obstruction. In JCN’s first ad, a narrator says:

It’s ‘We the People.’ Sometimes the politicians forget that. The Supreme Court has a vacancy and your vote in November is your only voice. Sen. Chuck Grassley agrees: the American people should decide. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. It’s about your voice. You choose the next president, the next president chooses the next justice. Call Sen. Chuck Grassley. Thank him for letting the people decide.

Of course, the people already did have a voice in choosing who would pick the next Supreme Court justice when they reelected President Obama for a second four-year term in 2012.

The New York Times reported yesterday on an event in Wisconsin at which Johnson attempted to justify the Senate GOP’s obstructionism by implying that the Constitution’s requirement of “advice and consent” can mean the Senate advising the president not to make any judicial nomination at all:

“Yeah, I am hearing the drumbeat, ‘Do your job! Do your job!’ ” Mr. Johnson said, invoking the Democrats’ battle cry in their quest to get Judge Garland a hearing. “We’re doing our job,” Mr. Johnson declared, to shouts of “yes.”

“Our job as a coequal branch in the nomination process is advise and consent,” he said. “Well, President Obama — surprise — didn’t heed our advice. So now we are doing the second part of that advice and consent: We’re withholding our consent. Completely appropriate.”

This is a talking point that Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, a longtime right-wing player in judicial fights, pioneered very soon after the death of Justice Scalia, when he told televangelist Pat Robertson, “The Senate has a role in this, the Constitution says ‘advice and consent.’ The advice here is, ‘Don’t put up a nominee when you’re only going to be the president, you’re a lame duck and you’re only going to be the president for 11 months.’”

We don’t think that refusing to even consider a Supreme Court nominee is what the founders had in mind when they gave the Senate the power of “advice and consent," which is why the GOP leadership’s decision to have the Senate do absolutely nothing in response to a Supreme Court nomination is unprecedented.

According to the Times article, Johnson has also taken to saying that Garland is “hostile” to the Second Amendment:

“Judge Merrick is hostile to your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” Mr. Johnson said in Pewaukee, using the judge’s first name. “So I am doing my job to protect the Second Amendment rights of Wisconsinites.”

Johnson’s use of the word “hostile” is no accident. The phrase “hostile to the Second Amendment” is what right-wing groups have settled on to describe Garland’s utterly benign record on gun rights. That’s the exact phrase that the National Rifle Association has been using in its effort to stir up opposition to Garland’s nomination. The “hostile” term seems to have come from an opposition research package put together by the Judicial Crisis Network, which in turn seems to have borrowed the phrase from a 2007 article in the NRA’s magazine.

We outlined last week why the Second Amendment “hostility” argument is bunk.

Senate Republicans seem to have ceded not only their governing, but the very words that come out of their mouths, to right-wing obstructionist groups.

Cruz Adviser Frank Gaffney Stumps For Grover Norquist NRA Recall Effort

When Sen. Ted Cruz named the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney as a top national security adviser last week, he stepped right into a battle that is raging in the National Rifle Association over one of its board members, the anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Gaffney has been claiming for years that Norquist is a Muslim Brotherhood plant in the conservative movement, a cause that has recently been taken up by Glenn Beck, who is trying to get Norquist kicked off the NRA’s board over the baseless accusation.

On his “Secure Freedom Radio” program last week, Gaffney promoted the latest effort to recall Norquist from the NRA’s board, urging listeners to vote for the Norquist recall because the anti-tax activist has done “incalculable harm, I believe, to the party, the conservative movement, the country, and is certainly not fit to be a leader of the National Rifle Association.”

Gaffney backed up his point by arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood must have someone in the conservative movement.

“The efforts that the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly, has made over the years to subvert us from within seem to be designed to attack all of our civil society institutions and governing agencies,” Gaffney told his guest, Robert Spencer. “Is it possible that they could have overlooked or decided not to go after the Republican Party and the conservative movement in their civilization jihad against us?”

“There’s just no possibility of that whatsoever,” Spencer agreed. “They want to make sure to control the people who are in power, and to do that they have to have people who are highly placed in both parties. And they have very skillfully operated in the Republican Party by means of people like Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan.”

Conservatives Make Pathetic Effort To Claim Garland Is 'Hostile' To Gun Rights

As soon as President Obama announced his nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network and the Republican National Committee unveiled embarrassingly thin dossiers to frame Garland — whom conservatives have previously praised — as an unconfirmable liberal activist.

Both organizations decided to focus their criticism on the claim that Garland is “hostile” to gun rights, something that other conservative groups have picked up and run with. The National Rifle Association, in turn, is out with a petition urging the Senate to reject Garland’s nomination, also claiming that he’s “hostile to the Second Amendment.”

The NRA cites three cases that it says show that Garland “supports a handgun ban” and “supports a national gun registry.” Not one shows anything of the sort.

Claim 1: “In 2007, he ruled in favor of reviewing the D.C. Circuit’s decision that invalidated the city’s handgun ban – the very ban Scalia helped overturn at the Supreme Court.”

The facts: A divided panel of three other judges of the D.C. Circuit Court, on which Garland sits, reversed a lower court ruling and found that a Washington, D.C., handgun ban was unconstitutional. The full court then had an opportunity to vote on whether the case should be reheard by all the judges on the entire D.C. Circuit. Garland was one of four members of the court, including a decidedly conservative colleague, Raymond Randolph, who voted to rehear the case. That vote indicates absolutely nothing about what Garland thought about the merits of the case and certainly doesn’t mean that Garland “supports a handgun ban” as the NRA claims. After all, this was before the Supreme Court ruling in Heller and, regardless of ideology, it made perfect sense for a judge to want the full circuit to consider the case.

Claim 2: “In 2004, he ruled against rehearing another pivotal Second Amendment case, thereby casting a vote against the individual right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

The facts: It’s the same story here. The NRA seems to be referring to the 2005 case Seegers v. Gonzales, which had to do with whether the parties suing had standing to challenge D.C.’s handgun law; the substance of the Second Amendment argument was not at issue. This time, Garland voted with the majority of his colleagues to deny a full-court rehearing of the case. Again, that vote gave absolutely no indication of how he felt about the issue of standing (to say nothing of the merits of the Second Amendment case) and definitely was not “a vote against the individual right to Keep and Bear Arms.”

Claim 3: “In 2000, he ruled in favor of the federal government’s plan to keep gun owners’ personal information in an unofficial national registry.”

The facts: In this case, NRA of America v. Reno, the NRA claimed that a regulation requiring information from gun background checks to be temporarily retained violated a law requiring background check records to be destroyed. Garland joined in an opinion finding that the law didn’t prohibit the temporary storage of that data “for audit purposes,” after which it would be destroyed as required by law. From this, the NRA falsely concludes that Garland “supports a national gun registry.”

There is frankly nothing in Garland’s record that indicates his substantive views, if any, on the Second Amendment. Could it possibly be that conservative groups are grasping at straws in an attempt to justify their blanket obstruction of the Supreme Court nomination process?

Ted Nugent: Verizon Dropped Sportsman Channel Because Obama Hates America

Earlier this month, Verizon announced that it was dropping The Sportsman Channel from its lineup from its Fios service “due to its low viewership.” But NRA board member and Sportsman Channel fan Ted Nugent knows the real reason for the Verizon lineup change: President Obama and the media’s “anti-Americanism.”

Nugent called into Alex Jones’ “Infowars” program yesterday to rail against Verizon for giving “the toxic middle finger of communism” and “anti-Americanism” to viewers like him, which he managed to link to President Obama, the Affordable Care Act, the 2012 Benghazi attack and the IRS.

“My God, Alex, the number of freedom-abusing, freedom-destroying, fundamental transformation, abuse of power and corruption and fraud and deceit and anti-Americanism that runs amok in this country from the president on down, it breaks the hearts of good Americans by the hour across this country,” he said.

“When Verizon cancels Sportsmen’s Channel, it’s a direct result of the anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-hunting, anti-wildlife, anti-science, anti-Americanism that has infested our media across this land,” he declared.

The Sportsman Channel itself has framed the Verizon decision as censorship, telling visitors to its website : “Your lifestyle, Your freedom, Your rights – TAKEN.”

Jindal: Indiana And Arkansas Controversies Were A 'Dangerous' 'Attack On Our Constitution'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal continued to try out his anti-big business, populist talking points in speech to the National Rifle Association’s convention today, telling the big-spending political group that is funded by the gun industry that Republicans need to “be ready to stand up to big business.”

He was talking, of course, about the recent decisions of lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas to soften measures sanctioning discrimination under the guise of “religious liberty” – decisions that were made under pressure from corporations wary of doing business in states seen as hostile to LGBT people.

Jindal called the Indiana and Arkansas decisions “very, very dangerous,” saying that “Hollywood liberals and editorial columnists” and “some of the biggest corporations in our country…came together to bully the elected representatives of the people.”

“This wasn’t just a matter of competing policy preferences,” he said. “This was different. This was an attack on our Constitution. It was an attack on the fundamental right to speech and association and the free exercise of religion. It was large corporations, Hollywood and the media elite saying, ‘We don’t care about the First Amendment.’”

“If these large forces, if they can conspire to crush the First Amendment, it won’t be long before they conspire to crush the Second Amendment,” he told the crowd.

“This 2016 election will be an election between elitist and populism. Hillary Clinton will be on the side of elitism, we need to be on the side of the people and their First and Second Amendment rights,” he said.

Nugent: Obama Like A Crack Addict

Ted Nugent compared President Obama to a crack addict and an alcoholic during an interview yesterday with conservative radio host Lars Larson. After attacking Obama for “violating his oath, violating the basics of America, the basics of ‘We The People,’” the NRA board member said Obama reminds him of a “criminal son or daughter asking for more allowance so they can buy more crack.”

“Their spending ways can only be described as a drunken idiot, the waste, the corruption, the fraud, the deceit, the abuse of power, it breaks my heart.”

Nugent: 'Gangster' and 'Diehard Communist' Obama, 'Murderer' Clinton Ruining America

NRA board member Ted Nugent appeared on Sons of Liberty Radio yesterday to talk about how his organization is “the pinnacle of self-evident truth” as found in the Constitution, unlike President Obama whom he called a “Chicago gangster” and a “diehard Communist.” Nugent also said that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a “murderer” who “intentionally kept security away from American citizens so they can get blown to smithereens,” called Vice President Biden “an absolute buffoon,” and accused Attorney General Holder of “gunrunning.”

But the interview ended abruptly when Nugent complained about audio feedback: “Boy, that’s getting to be a pain in the ass, what kind of radio station is this?”

I understand logic, I understand common sense, the commonality and sensibility of it all, and here in 2013 the NRA was the ultimate celebration, the pinnacle of self-evident truth, ‘we the people’ adherence who understand that ‘we the people’ are the bosses of our elected officials. It’s gone tipsy turvy where we have a Chicago gangster, ACORN community organizer, scam artist and diehard Communist as the President of the United States, a gunrunning Attorney General, an absolute buffoon for a Vice President and a murderer as the Secretary of State who intentionally kept security away from American citizens so they can get blown to smithereens.

NRA's David Keene Claims Obama Is Scared of America

NRA president David Keene appeared on The Mike Huckabee Show today where he told guest host J.D. Hayworth, a former congressman from Arizona, that President Obama is scared of America.

Keene claimed that Obama and his advisers don’t understand the gun debate because they live inside “the confines of urban Chicago or Cambridge, Massachusetts or Washington D.C.,” which Keene astonishingly seems to think are areas unaffected by gun violence.

He also blasted Obama for a comment about how he understands the appeal of gun ownerships in places like rural Iowa where law enforcement officers could be miles away, which Keene said is further proof that “he just doesn’t get it.”

Keene, whose group opposed background check legislation backed by a huge majority of Americans, including most gun owners and voters in “red states,” argued that Obama is out of step with the country and claimed that “frankly the rest of the country scares him.”

Keene: The amazing thing to me about this administration is just how parochial it is. These are people — remember when Barack Obama recently went to Iowa and he looked around and he said ‘well gosh I can understand why if my wife lived out here she might want a gun,’ what’s that about? You know, in other words, he just doesn’t get it. If you are outside the confines of urban Chicago or Cambridge, Massachusetts or Washington D.C., he and most of his advisers have no concept of what the rest of the country is like and frankly the rest of the country scares him.

Rand Paul Raising Money for Right-of-NRA Gun Group

PFAW’s recent Right Wing Watch in Focus report on opposition to more effective regulation of guns noted that promoting conspiracy theories is a primary strategy used by extremists to block common sense policies.  New evidence comes in the form of a recent email from Sen. Rand Paul raising money for the National Association for Gun Rights, a group that is so far out there it thinks the National Rifle Association has gone soft.

Rand Paul’s letter uses inflammatory rhetoric to push the conspiracy theory that registration of guns and requiring background checks for gun purposes – which is supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, including gun owners – is just a prelude to “confiscation” by the “gun-grabbers.”

And make no mistake, the gun-grabbers’ TRUE motives behind gun registration is always the same -- outright gun CONFISCATION, and to do that they must first register every gun and gun owner.

Another letter Paul signed for the group argues that President Obama is working to empower United Nations bureaucrats to confiscate Americans’ guns:

I don't know about you, but watching anti-American globalists plot against our Constitution makes me sick.

PFAW’s report on opposition to addressing gun violence notes that there are real consequences to the promotion of conspiracy theories by elected officials:

It is also true that the failure to challenge extremist and dishonest rhetoric can lead to damaging consequences for our common public life.  The promotion of false conspiracy theories, the claims by public figures that their political opponents are out to destroy freedom and America itself, and the false equation of sensible, broadly supported laws with the elimination of the rights of hunters and other gun owners, can foster a dangerous extremism, including threats of violence.

One of Rand Paul’s letters refers to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s bill restricting ownership of assault weapons as “the effective END of the Second Amendment in America.”

I can hardly even think about what a DISASTER for our country it would be should President Obama, Senator Feinstein and their anti-gun pals succeed in ramming this monstrosity down our throats.

An earlier alert from the National Association for Gun Rights was labeled: “Obama declares war.”

Why is Rand Paul raising money for these guys?

After Threatening the President's Life, Ted Nugent Rewarded with Ticket to the State of the Union

Texas Republican congressman Steve Stockman announced today that he is “excited to have a patriot like Ted Nugent joining me in the House Chamber” during President Obama’s State of the Union, once again confirming Stockman’s position as one of the most far-right members of Congress.

Nugent in the past has threatened to kill President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer.

“I was in Chicago and I said hey Obama, you might want to suck on one of these you punk; Obama, he’s a piece of shit, and I told him to suck on my machine gun,” Nugent screamed during a concert while brandishing two machine guns, “Then I was in New York and I said, ‘Hey Hillary you might want to ride one of these into the sunset you worthless bitch…. Then I was out in California and I thought, Barbara Boxer, she might want to suck on my machine gun, hey Dianne Feinstein ride one of these you worthless whore.”

Nugent at a National Rifle Association gathering said that if Obama and his “vile, evil America-hating administration” win re-election then “I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.”

 

He also told NRA members that Obama and other Democratic officials are “criminals” and like an animal that needs to be shot.

 

Besides threatening to kill U.S. officials, Nugent also claimed that he now wishes that the South had won the Civil War and attacked civil rights leaders over their “ebonic mumbo-jumbo.” He has even denounced what he calls Obama’s “racist agenda” and “liberal jihad.”

But unlike most people who have been visited by the Secret Service over their violent threats to elected officials, Nugent is invited to the State of the Union address.

 

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/21/12

Nugent Compared Obama and Democrats to a Coyote that Needs to Be Shot

We reported yesterday on inflammatory remarks made by longtime NRA board member Ted Nugent at the group’s national convention on Saturday. Nugent was trying to rally attendees for Romney, who addressed the convention a day earlier, but he shot himself in the foot instead with extreme and violent rhetoric. 

In addition to the remarks we reported yesterday, Nugent compared President Obama and the Democrats to a coyote that needs to be shot. He then told the crowd that “we’re Americans because we defied the king,” and we must be like Braveheart and “ride into that battlefield and chop [Democrats’] heads off in November.”
 
Our President and Attorney General, Vice President, Hillary Clinton, they’re criminals, they’re criminals. […]
 
It isn’t the enemy that ruined America. It’s good people who bent over and let the enemy in.
 
If the coyote’s in your living room pissing on your couch, it’s not the coyote’s fault. It’s your fault for not shooting him. […]
 
We’re Americans because we defied the king. We didn’t negotiate or compromise with the king. We defied the emperors. We are patriots. We are Braveheart.
 
We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?
People For the American Way today called on Mitt Romney to reject Nugent's endorsement and rebuke his remarks.

Ted Nugent Stumps for Mitt Romney at NRA Convention: “Chop their heads off in November” (VIDEO)

Washed up rocker and reality TV star Ted Nugent appeared at the NRA’s national convention in St. Louis. Nugent, a longtime NRA board member and regular presence at conventions, rallied the NRA faithful on Saturday to vote for Mitt Romney: “Your goal should be to get a couple thousand, per person who’s here, to vote for Mitt Romney in November.”


 
Nugent called President Obama a criminal and denounced his “vile, evil America-hating administration” which is “wiping its ass with the Constitution.” Taking it a step further, he said that “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” “If you can’t galvanize and promote and recruit people to vote for Mitt Romney, we’re done,” he continued.
 
Supreme Court justices also came under assault by Nugent, who claims that the court’s more liberal members have signed a declaration against Americans’ right to self-defense:
“We’ve got four Supreme Court justices who don’t believe in the Constitution. Does everyone here know that four of the Supreme Court justices not only determined you don’t have the right to keep and bear arms, four Supreme Court justices signed their name to a declaration that Americans have no fundamental right to self-defense.”
Nugent concluded with a call to cut off the heads of Democrats in November: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Any questions?”
 
 
With surrogates like Nugent, Romney should have no trouble alienating moderates.
 
UPDATE: Early last month, Tagg Romney touted Nugent's endorsement of his father:
 

 

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National Rifle Association Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Friday 03/25/2016, 4:59pm
Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin is one of the Republican senators who is under considerable pressure in his home state to break from his party leadership and consider the nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court. So far, Johnson has toed the party line and says that he supports blocking any nominee to the Supreme Court for the remainder of Obama’s presidency. In defending this position, he has turned to a number of stock talking points cooked up by right-wing groups seeking to keep an Obama nominee off the Supreme Court. As soon as President Obama announced his nomination... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Monday 03/21/2016, 4:57pm
When Sen. Ted Cruz named the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney as a top national security adviser last week, he stepped right into a battle that is raging in the National Rifle Association over one of its board members, the anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. Gaffney has been claiming for years that Norquist is a Muslim Brotherhood plant in the conservative movement, a cause that has recently been taken up by Glenn Beck, who is trying to get Norquist kicked off the NRA’s board over the baseless accusation. On his “Secure Freedom Radio” program last week,... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 03/18/2016, 4:54pm
As soon as President Obama announced his nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court seat left by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network and the Republican National Committee unveiled embarrassingly thin dossiers to frame Garland — whom conservatives have previously praised — as an unconfirmable liberal activist. Both organizations decided to focus their criticism on the claim that Garland is “hostile” to gun rights, something that other conservative groups have picked up and run with. The National Rifle Association... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 09/10/2015, 4:37pm
Earlier this month, Verizon announced that it was dropping The Sportsman Channel from its lineup from its Fios service “due to its low viewership.” But NRA board member and Sportsman Channel fan Ted Nugent knows the real reason for the Verizon lineup change: President Obama and the media’s “anti-Americanism.” Nugent called into Alex Jones’ “Infowars” program yesterday to rail against Verizon for giving “the toxic middle finger of communism” and “anti-Americanism” to viewers like him, which he managed to link to President... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Friday 04/10/2015, 3:29pm
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal continued to try out his anti-big business, populist talking points in speech to the National Rifle Association’s convention today, telling the big-spending political group that is funded by the gun industry that Republicans need to “be ready to stand up to big business.” He was talking, of course, about the recent decisions of lawmakers in Indiana and Arkansas to soften measures sanctioning discrimination under the guise of “religious liberty” – decisions that were made under pressure from corporations wary of doing... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 10/18/2013, 11:45am
Ted Nugent compared President Obama to a crack addict and an alcoholic during an interview yesterday with conservative radio host Lars Larson. After attacking Obama for “violating his oath, violating the basics of America, the basics of ‘We The People,’” the NRA board member said Obama reminds him of a “criminal son or daughter asking for more allowance so they can buy more crack.” “Their spending ways can only be described as a drunken idiot, the waste, the corruption, the fraud, the deceit, the abuse of power, it breaks my heart.” MORE >
Brian Tashman, Thursday 06/27/2013, 3:35pm
NRA board member Ted Nugent appeared on Sons of Liberty Radio yesterday to talk about how his organization is “the pinnacle of self-evident truth” as found in the Constitution, unlike President Obama whom he called a “Chicago gangster” and a “diehard Communist.” Nugent also said that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is a “murderer” who “intentionally kept security away from American citizens so they can get blown to smithereens,” called Vice President Biden “an absolute buffoon,” and accused Attorney General... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Monday 04/22/2013, 2:20pm
NRA president David Keene appeared on The Mike Huckabee Show today where he told guest host J.D. Hayworth, a former congressman from Arizona, that President Obama is scared of America. Keene claimed that Obama and his advisers don’t understand the gun debate because they live inside “the confines of urban Chicago or Cambridge, Massachusetts or Washington D.C.,” which Keene astonishingly seems to think are areas unaffected by gun violence. He also blasted Obama for a comment about how he understands the appeal of gun ownerships in places like rural Iowa where law enforcement... MORE >