Friday, October 31, 2003

The enemy of my enemy...

The National Rifle Association has compiled an enemies list, and Ellen Goodman, for one, is disappointed that her name doesn't appear there beside the AFL-CIO, the American Medical Association, the ACLU, the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, the PTA and individuals including C. Everett Koop, Michael Eisner, Shania Twain, Jimmy Carter and Molly Ivins. That barely scratches the surface. The NRA, it seems, has lots of enemies.

They've got some friends, too, though, including former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who won the NRA's 'A' rating by signing on against waiting periods for gun purchases and against an assault weapons ban. He's singing a different song on the campaign stump these days, leading to NRA charges that his position is "schizophrenic," but consistency doesn't seem to be Dean's long suit on any number of issues.

Still, he's still courting the gun vote, telling the Seattle P-I's Joel Connelly "My gun policy is more conservative than most Democrats." Who knows exactly how conservative, though. His postion might best be described as 'fluid.'

In response to the news, John Kerry fired back "As a candidate and as President, I will never pander to the extremist NRA for personal or political expediency. I will beat the NRA." Seems that Kerry, like Goodman, would rather find himself on the long list of the NRA's enemies than find himself fruitlessly pandering for red state voters by compromising the Democratic Party's well established support for federal gun control standards.

Personally, I like to think of myself as a moderate on the gun control issue. Guns don't scare me. I've been around them all my life, and I tend to think of them as tools. On the other hand, I can't think of a single reasonable civilian use for the M-16 I carried in Vietnam, and there's stuff on the streets today a lot more potent than that was. Kerry's right. The NRA position is extremist, and if Dean wants to be the Democratic standard bearer, he should be disavowing the support they've offered him over the years, not bragging about it.

If the NRA inadvertently left you off their enemies list, you can petition to get on it at


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