A few days ago, our beloved InstaPundit suggested that, while background checks for would-be gun purchasers is a dubious idea, IQ tests for political candidates is looking mighty good. A supposed Tea Party-affiliated Senator provides a case in point:
“Toomey could be key to a deal on guns,” a headline yesterday on Philly.com reads.
Hopeful speculation that Republican senator from Pennsylvania Pat Toomey is preparing to partner with Democrats on so-called “universal background checks” follows reports that Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) had reached out to him to try to find a GOP partner,” that Toomey “signaled that he might be open-minded after the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, [that he] issued a statement saying in part that ‘there may be areas of agreement with the White House that can be addressed to improve public safety’ [and that] he would consider expanding background checks.”
The story is gaining traction as other hopeful “legitimate media” outlets pick up on a Politico report that brought the Manchin negotiations to light. Adding to the hubbub are related stories on The Washington Post blog, The Morning Call, CBS Philly, and other media outlets.
That Manchin continues to twist the knife he plunged into gun owners’ backs is hardly surprising -- his turnaround has been positively Gillibrandesque, and NRA, which had previously assured his suitability as a “pro-gun Democrat,” needs to take the lead in seeing that his political career is over. It doesn’t matter how he’s voted before any more than it matters that Benedict Arnold was once considered a great hero of the Patriot cause. You can never again trust someone who betrays you, especially in time of greatest need for unity.
As for Toomey, if he and his staff hadn’t opened their yaps to indicate things were open to discussion, they wouldn’t be in this self-created pickle. He, too, has had a pretty good record on guns (even Gun Owners of America grades him at “A-”), and he needs to be reminded that his duty is to improve that score, not to threaten the rights of a core constituency that entrusted him with power.
Assuming the "hopeful speculation" is accurate, the certified idiot in the above is Toomey, who barely won his seat (51% - 49%) and cannot afford to lose the affections of Pennsylvania gun owners and Second Amendment supporters. For a Republican to turn against firearms rights is a fatal step; he'll lose the support of one of the most passionate groups on the constitutionalist Right, without gaining anything from the Left. Manchin and Gillibrand are somewhat differently positioned; they require the support of the Democrat Party, and are unlikely to lose substantial backing from the Left because of a "compromise" on a Second Amendment issue.
I seem to recall that the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee backed thrice-traitorous Arlen Specter against Toomey in 2004. The RSCC regards the Tea Party movement as a threat to its hegemony, so now that Toomey's been linked to it, the RSCC is unlikely to smile upon him even at the cost of a Senate seat. So losing any appreciable fraction of the support that put him in that seat in 2010 is likely to end his political career.
If Toomey is "doing a McCain" -- i.e., trying to win some favorable ink from the Main Stream Media -- come 2016 he'll discover to his extreme sorrow just how little that's worth. A Republican conservative cannot gain the support of the Left, nor of any of its ill-disguised affiliates; their agenda has "kill the GOP" at the very top, in 72-point type.
I'm trying to find a silver lining to this...and failing.