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What Does an Endorsement Really Mean?

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Big bold letters glare from the front page bottom of the right-wing newspaper:

CeaseFirePA endorses state Rep. Bryan Lentz

Hmmm, someone on the left might think, hey this is great. The Times Herald (link) is actually good for something.

Bryan Lentz is running for Congress in my district. I can look out my back deck and see a local gun and rod club. I can see both sides on the whole 2nd Amendment thing. I am pretty neutral on this.

But, my part of the district has a lot of 2nd Amendment folks. The Times Herald article and headline was not about cutting Bryan a break or even attempting to report the news. It is actually the alarm bell going off for the local NRA people.

The GOP candidate had a horrible debate debacle and has allowed Lentz to tie him in the polls. Last week it was big news that the race is now a toss-up -- now this Times Herald article.

This cuts to the core as to what does an endorsement mean?

Candidates, party political committees and interest groups dance in a surreal public mating ritual. It is almost worthy of a Mutual of Omaha / Monty Python segment. The party political committee gets some exposure and feels like it has done something. The candidate gets to trumpet -- hey somebody likes me." The interest group gets someone they hope will be on their side and then the can generate some press and marketing.

The Lentz situation is a little different. Since Lentz has essentially tied this race and the right-wing
Newspaper has sounded the alarm for the NRA. It may shift the balance of this election. Since this is a new variable in the equation, it is actually up to both sides, CeaseFirePa and the NRA, to make their case as to who gets to serve.

In fact, Joe Biden was stumping for Bryan Lentz. Biden is based out of northern Delaware, just across the border from the 7th District in southeast Pennsylvania. You can't tell the two districts apart. Just about the first thing out of Lentz' mouth at this rally was about the gun laws.

As someone who wants to see Bryan Lentz as a Congressman, I see the endorsement of CeaseFirePA (link) as damaging, at this point. It is now up to CeaseFirePA to step up. Their words and abilities are being tested. The NRA boogieman is now loose in the countryside.

CeaseFirePA needs to prove that it is worthy of even making an endorsement. (Yes, I know they have a 1st Amendment Right.) By this I mean that unless this organization can supply the Lentz Campaign with volunteers to make phone calls, work the street, and man the polls in equal numbers and strength to what the NRA people are doing, then all that CeaseFirePa has done is allowed the GOP opponent to activate his base.

Endorsements should not mean that a group just sits in judgment of a candidate and gives their blessings. Endorsements should mean that you or your organization are going to work to see what was said actually means something. Can your group defend its endorsement?

Work doesn't mean sitting at a keyboard kvetching endlessly. It means calling people, volunteering for GOTV (Get Out The Vote Operations), sending cash, working the polls.

Every person who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 voted for change. That was an endorsement of an idea. It is now time to have that endorsement mean something. Just like CeaseFirePa's reputation is on the line in this election, anyone who voted for change in 2008 is also facing the same test.

Did your 2008 endorsement mean anything?

Can you defend it?

Will you?