'Never Trump' Does Not Necessarily Mean 'Not An NRA Stooge'

01/14/2018 10:47 pm ET
Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Now that the president of the United States appears to have become unhinged to the point of personal despair, everyone appears to be lining up to be the first one jumping from the train. Where and when the Trump Express will run off the rails nobody yet knows, but preparing for the inevitable wreck has become something of a cottage industry both within and without the media world which encircles Trump.

You may recall that during the 2016 campaign it was Republicans, not Democrats, who tried to stop Trump. The Democrats, stupidly, figured that the New York landlord would be the easiest candidate to defeat; there were many within the establishment circle of the GOP who felt the same way. This latter group fell by the wayside after the election results rolled in; now they have been revived thanks to the craziness of Trump himself.

Chief among GOPers who believe that Trump’s worst enemy is himself is a political operative named Rick Wilson who has carved out a neat niche for himself as a Republican political consultant loudly opposed to Trump’s craziness since at least 2015. And now that the Republican media has to at least pretend to be somewhat concerned about Trump’s possible demise, Wilson has begun popping up here and there, giving a dose of invective not to Democratic supporters, but to pundits and influencers on the red-state side.

But whatever Wilson does to burnish his credentials within the anti-Trump, pro-GOP camp, it doesn’t prevent him from taking on the real opposition which in this case is a woman who happens to be loudly and publicly disgusted with the GOP. And the reason our friend Shannon Watts doesn’t find anything positive to say about the party of Lincoln is because she happens to run an organization – Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense - which has become a pain in the neck for one of the linchpins of Republican support, namely, the NRA. Until Shannon came along and stirred things up, the boys from Fairfax had the legislative playing field all to themselves, and while red-state Congressional toadies are still in a position to block meaningful gun laws at the federal level, Shannon and her Moms have won some significant victories in various blue and even red states.

Last week Shannon sent out a tweet that listed a group of conservative pundits who have taken anti-NRA positions during the Age of Trump. The list didn’t include Rick Wilson, which must have really pissed him off. After all, he’s gone out of his way to create an image of himself as a good conservative, so why not group him with people like Bill Kristol, Jennifer Rubin and David Frum? Wilson went after Shannon back in September and then went after her again the other day. He seems mortally offended that anyone would question his anti-Trump creds just because he supports the NRA.

Want to know how and why this paragon of conservative virtue pimps for the NRA? Back in 2015 Wilson was given an opportunity to spiel about gun politics on the talking-heads video show hosted by Cam Edwards for the NRA. When he was asked why Democrats were going to have a problem if they supported a gun violence prevention (GVP) strategy, he accused the GVP of wanting to “disarm America,” and “trying to demonize folks who own guns.” It goes without saying, according to Wilson, that the gun-grabbers also want to “eliminate a fundamental Constitutional right.” And what’s behind this entire nefarious effort to make America a gun-free zone? None other than Mike Bloomberg whose uses his money to promote “massively intrusive federal gun laws.”

If Rick Wilson is so dumb and/or opportunistic that he believes by criticizing Trump while pushing the NRA line he can really gain traction within the ranks of the GOP, he can go right ahead. Frankly, I’ll stick with how Shannon Watts is building bridges to conservative pundits who don’t buy Wilson’s nonsense about his love of guns.

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