Thursday night on CNN, Rich Lowry brought some uncharted insight that all but ended the entire gun debate.
If you’ve spent any time at this blog or engaged with me, then you know I think while the Democrats fight us and the media lie about us — it’s our own messaging inefficacy that too often precludes the Right’s ability to actually win socially, culturally and [subsequently] legislatively.
I attribute our inability to win socially and culturally to a variety of things. Yes, I recognize that we’re up against the Institutional Left’s coordinated voice blasting from coast-to-coast courtesy of Hollywood, academia and of course the mainstream media. And yes, I realize that the Left’s “Giving is good!” is a much easier sell than the Right’s “Liberty is better!” argument. But above all else, I blame what I perceive to be general apathy and laziness among the Right’s most amplified messengers — be they the politicians themselves, or their so-called strategists and advisers, or the conservative media which so often reveals itself to be a clique of insiders more interested in helping themselves and each other, than actually getting any real work done. My stock line: Most came to do good but stayed to do well, and in the end do nothing but help themselves and each other.
And I’ll tell almost anyone who will listen that I’d rather watch CNN or MSNBC than Fox News, because watching those who oppose us helps sharpen my own arguments. And frankly when I watch Fox News, I usually end up just yelling at my TV anyway because the people who are supposed to be our best messengers, usually do a really lousy job.
So I’m a pretty tough critic on this stuff.
I especially lament the way the most in conservative media do nothing more than preach to the already-faithful. They don’t really care much about attracting new voters, or disarming the biased media, or putting the Democrats in any meaningful defensive posture. As long as the already-faithful are clicking and telling them how great they are, the arbiters of our pro-Liberty message seem content to leave well enough alone.
Enter Rich Lowry, last night on CNN, with respect to the gun debate.
Rich came fully armed with two points that were outstanding, and that I’d never heard before. And since those two things almost never happen at the same time, I decided to write about it…
First, for all the people who say “The politicians are paid off by the NRA!”, Rich offered this gem (I’m paraphrasing):
“So you think that Paul Ryan — deep down — is actually anti-gun? You think deep down he’s just yearning to tell the world how much he opposes the second amendment and gun rights in general? You think if only the NRA wasn’t donating to him, that he’d be able to speak freely about how much he hates guns and wants to curb or maybe even outright repeal the second amendment? That’s fine if you believe that but I’m telling you point blank: You’re wrong. Paul Ryan, just like so many other Americans, truly believes in the second amendment. It’s not an act. He doesn’t secretly agree with you, but can’t admit it because of the NRA. And when you say he’s paid off by the NRA and that’s why he won’t come around to your way of thinking, that’s exactly what you’re saying. And I’m sorry. You’re just wrong.”
It’s a very powerful and credible rebuke of the “They’re just paid off by the evil NRA!” argument.
Next and most impressively, was his observation about the gun debate in general. Again, paraphrasing…
“Here’s the problem: The small changes that everyone talks about, really won’t make any difference. None of the proposed changes that Democrats and their media allies make, would have stopped any of these shootings. And the really big changes that actually might make at least a marginal difference at some point in the distant future, like banning all guns or repealing the second amendment, no one will actually talk about those things — because they’d never fly with the American public. So the small changes that you will talk about do nothing, and the big changes that might do something — never get discussed. Let’s deal with that reality. Let’s stop playing around the edges. If you want to really make a difference, then you have to propose really big things. Like banning guns. Or repealing the second amendment. So say it out loud, and stop playing around the edges with these minor changes that will only affect law-abiding gun owners and will do nothing to stop evil people from committing these atrocities.”
Again, a really strong, really honest, really original insight that I hadn’t heard before. And, from my seat, it basically ends the entire debate…
The small changes that are discussed all the time will do nothing. And the big changes that might do something, are never discussed. So if you want to debate this issue, let’s just start with that honest reality.
As already noted, I rarely hear that type of solid, original thinking that actually disarms the media, puts the Democrats on defense, and would get the recreationally-engaged electorate actually nodding along with us for a change. But I heard it from Rich Lowry in the wake of the Parkland, FL school shooting, and it was worth memorializing as a blog post to tell Rich how much I appreciated it, and give others who might have missed it a chance to also appreciate the gravity of Rich’s points.
Full discussion, below…