Wayne LaPierre, two days after the fact, finally has offered a rebuttal to President Obama’s “State of the Union” address. The question is why it took two days.
The speech was a mere 12 minutes long and consisted mostly of recycled talking points about the same dire warnings about Obama taking your guns. For instance, he predicts yet again of the perils of a national gun registry and the strength in numbers of the NRA: Points he’s made in other comments, like this speech in January. And which are debunked here and undercut here, respectively.
One claim not in that January speech and that immediately caught my ear is this one:
“A year ago, I began to warn American gun owners all over this country, that if re-elected President Obama would set about dismantling the second amendment to our constitution of the united states.”
“A year ago?” Hardly.
Here’s LaPierre in March, 2011, not long after the Tucson shootings, explaining why he declined a meeting with President Obama on gun policy:
“Why should I or the N.R.A. go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States?”
Or how about this quote from an interview in October 2008?
“I know he is trying to say he is a Second Amendment supporter but it is just fog; it is just trying to confuse the voter. The truth is, based on his record, Sen. Obama is a tremendous threat to the freedom of American citizens to own firearms.”
It begs the question: Of all the facts LaPierre can, and constantly does, get wrong, why this one? Well, maybe because it’s not wise to point out how you’ve been saying this again and again and again and again.
Imagine Wayne LaPierre standing before this same assembly of hunters—only behind him there was this chart with dates and quotes where LaPierre said the same thing. Suddenly, things change. Because now, when LaPierre gets to the “take our guns away” line, the hunters might look at their guns, and then at the chart, and then back at their guns and—wait a second—then back at that chart, and then at Wayne, and then back at their guns, and slowly start to piece it all together: “There’s something familiar about what Chicken Little is saying.”
And that might lead to questions about his paranoia—and whether he represents their hunting rights or the gun industry’s profits. (Hint: It’s the second one).
The only other remarkable point of this spiel, other than that it could have been pre-taped—and I mean, like, 2012, 2011 pre-taped—is this line near the beginning:
“In an hour-long speech, nowhere were the words ‘school safety’ to be found.”
And that’s true. Obama mentioned “Newtown”, “gun violence” and how “in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.” But, true, nowhere does the exact phrase “school safety” appear.
Rudy Giuliani used to enjoy this ploy, where he’d say that Democrats never use the term “Islamic terrorism.” Technically, that is true: That term cannot be found on any of the drones now striking Afghanistan and Yemen.
But back to Wayne.
Personally, this speech was such a letdown, particularly after the bonkers uber-rant LaPierre dropped in the e-pages of The Daily Caller. There, he fell into a good, <a href = http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/02/14/lapierre-one-ups-graham-scare-tactic-in-op-ed-screed/ target = _blank>old-fashioned nativist rant</a> about people needing guns with large clips to defend their homes against the hordes of, um, “unwashed” let’s call them, who destroy cities after hurricanes and turned Phoenix into the number-one kidnapping capital of the world. None of which is true, by the way.
I really wanted that editorial to be the preview for what we saw Thursday. But I suppose actually saying that kind of stuff on camera, and in front of people, might be bad for business.
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