Top Republicans have identified “a half-dozen very Mitt-specific political dangers” GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney “must navigate to unite the party and attract skeptical conservatives and independents,” Politico reported yesterday, and none of them deal with taking a stand on the Fast and Furious gunwalking criminal operation and the current administration’s role in it.
Among their concerns: The candidate “says stuff he shouldn’t say.” Romney “can’t connect with voters.” His base must be broadened. He faces “anti-Mormon” voter prejudice. His association with prominent backers like Donald Trump taints him with the “birther” brush. People aren’t convinced he can fix the economy.
The merits of these concerns are debatable, but one point is not: Nowhere in a list of priorities articulated for public dissemination by “top Republican officials” is there any indication that Fast and Furious is even on their radar, in spite of soothing words candidate Romney has essentially limited to a closed-door session with activist gun owners he knows he must win over after torpedoing their interests the last time he held power.
This lack of assigning any importance to finding out who in the administration knew about, allowed and encouraged guns to be walked shows a fundamental disconnect between party elites and a core constituency they must rely on (while trying to hold at arm’s length). And that disconnect points to the real issue identified in the Politico piece, one the party leadership seems unable to engineer one of its trademark pandering “solutions” for.
“The question is: How much energy are [tea partiers] going to contribute?” the article quotes president and CEO of FreedomWorks, Matt Kibbe. “Are they going to spend their weekends walking precincts? Are they going to spend their weekends going to their son’s softball game?”
Kibbe unknowingly echoed questions asked by Gun Rights Examiner six months ago.
“Can you really expect to win if you can’t galvanize and motivate your base?” this columnist wrote. “Will those who might grudgingly and ashamedly vote for the RINO be enthusiastic enough to donate money to the campaign, work for it, put up signs, volunteer for phone trees and poll watching, write persuasive letters to the editor, or do any of the innumerable things needed for victory? Can it be done without a critical mass of true believers who have fire in their bellies and a message to inspire their friends and neighbors?”
To repeat the key question posed then, “How?”
Gun owners are watching equivocation from the Republican leadership and from its candidate, and are seeing real-world effects that inexplicable timidity yields in not only frustrating justice, but in making the suppression of new information an inevitable outcome as sources become afraid to come forward. More and more Fast and Furious watchers are expressing frustration, anger, resignation and expectation of betrayal, they have been for some time, and they will not be ignored.
The GOP leadership may not be aware of how strong this sentiment is and how widespread it is becoming, as venues like this column are hardly as prestigious and likely to catch their eye as mainstream “Authorized Journalist” press outlets, where such concerns are either ignored or spun to an agenda. But if they really believe Romney’s Mormon heritage or his colorful backing by “The Donald” trump a criminal enterprise, where people were killed and the nation’s top law enforcement officials are openly contemptuous of their legal obligations they may find themselves astonished in November.
If somebody with clout doesn’t remove the sound-proofing and shutters from the ivory tower, and soon, they may find themselves astonished before then.