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April 08, 2013

There’s Always One: Will Pat Toomey Help Democrats Save Gun Control? Why All Modern Politics Is National.

Somewhere, Arlen Specter is smiling.

Two influential senators, one from each party, are working on an agreement that could expand background checks on firearms sales to include gun shows and online transactions, Senate aides said Sunday.

If completed, the effort could represent a major breakthrough in the effort by President Barack Obama and his allies to restrict guns following last December's massacre of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn.

Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., could nail down an accord early this week, said the aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private talks.


A united front by the two lawmakers would make it easier for gun control advocates to attract support from moderate Democrats who have been wary of supporting the effort and from Republicans who have largely opposed it so far.

Ok, the Specter jab is a unfair (a little) but this does highlight something that I think is frustrating to a lot of conservatives and Republicans….GOP politicians don’t just occasionally vote against the majority party opinion, some are always willing to help lead the charge against it.

Whenever there’s a “Gang” in the Senate, it’s always Republicans joining with Democrats to manage the GOP’s surrender on less unfavorable terms (immigration, judicial nominees, guns). You never see Democrats joining a “Gang” to help Republicans push something they want by most Democrats don’t.

Sure a Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu or whoever will throw out a vote against the Democratic majority (but only if Reid doesn’t need their vote). They never openly defy their party to help Republicans.

Now, Toomey may really believe this is good policy or maybe he needs some moderate cred in Pennsylvania. Either way it’s really a problem for conservatives and Americans across the country.

This episode and this kind of behavior relates to a post I wrote last month about the lack of cohesion in the GOP coalition, though I thought gun rights were a unifying exception. At the time, Jim Geraghty responded in his Morning Jolt newsletter…

Let's try to keep complaining about other state's primary choices to a minimum, and trust that Iowa Republicans know the best candidate to run for Senate in their state, and the same applies to Republican primary voters in West Virginia, Louisiana, Iowa, North Carolina, and so on. The people who live in those states know who would be best to represent their interests. Yes, out-of-state super PACs will spend oodles of money trying to influence the choices.

But this is exactly why party primaries (especially in the GOP) are of national interest. Granted, conservatives around the country were big supporters of Toomey but that interest, support or criticism doesn’t stop after the primary or general election.

Senators and Congressmen no longer simply represent their states or districts in DC. The growing beast that is the federal government affects us all in more and more spheres of our lives. If your Republican representative is going to be working with Democrats to pass legislation that intrudes on my life, then yes, I will want a say in who you select.

Unless the federal government is put back in its box, the expectation will continue to grow that candidates and office holders toe the national line. If they don’t, expect the intra-party warfare to continue for the foreseeable future.

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posted by DrewM. at 11:04 AM

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