U.S.A. – -(Ammoland.com)- “The Commitment to America represents a new direction and better approach that will get our nation back on track,” House Republicans declare in a plan “Preamble” on Kevin McCarthy’s “Republican Leader” website. “Starting Day One, we will work to deliver an economy that’s strong, a nation that’s safe, a future that’s built on freedom, and a government that’s accountable.”
You can read it in English or watch it in Spanish. The “commitment” itself is divided into four parts:
- An Economy That’s Strong: (Make America Energy Independent and Reduce Gas Prices; Strengthen the Supply Chain and End Dependence on China)
- A Nation That’s Safe: (Secure the Border and Combat Illegal Immigration; Reduce Crime and Protect Public Safety; Defend America’s National Security)
- A Future That’s Built On Freedom: (Make Sure Every Student Can Succeed and Give Parents a Voice; Achieve Longer, Healthier Lives for Americans; Confront Big Tech and Demand Fairness)
- A Government That’s Accountable: (Preserve Our Constitutional Freedoms; Hold Washington Accountable; Restore the People’s Voice)
Do you know what you have to look hard to find any mention of? The main reason gun owners have for voting Republican is that they will defend the Second Amendment and pledge to repeal infringements. You have to go to the reverse side and the bottom half of their “Commitment to America” pocket card to find a statement that couldn’t be more tepid and equivocal:
“Preserve our Constitutional Freedoms: Uphold free speech, protect the lives of unborn children and their mothers, guarantee religious freedom, and safeguard the Second Amendment.”
With even the most rabid gun-grabbers claiming “You can be in favor of the Second Amendment and also understand that there is no reason in a civil society that we have assault weapons around communities that can kill babies and police officers,” what does “safeguard the Second Amendment” — with no specifics as to how — even mean?
With the GOP leadership unwilling to use its bully pulpit to defend and educate on the right to keep and bear arms (probably because most of them don’t know how, have a shallow surface understanding, and basically do what their staffers and focus groups tell them will play best to the masses and minimize attacks), it’s no wonder individual candidates are keeping their mouths shut and hoping nobody calls on them to take a position.
Case in point, there’s a Republican candidate in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District that gun owners could have had high hopes for, Hung Cao. He immigrated to this country as a Vietnamese refugee and proved himself a patriot of courage as “a retired Navy Captain who served in Special Operations for twenty-five years” who “deployed combat to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia serving alongside Special Forces and SEAL Teams.”
The legendary Chuck Norris has endorsed Cao in an ad that includes his iconic Uzi-wielding Invasion USA image. What’s not for gun owners to be enthused about?
Perhaps the lack of any return love from Cao. While The Washington Post credits him for being a candidate “who has made his opposition to gun control clear, offering a stark contrast to voters on an issue likely to remain a dominant national conversation,” his basic position in a debate with Democrat opponent Jennifer Wexton did not focus on the existential relationship between RKBA and freedom, but merely on the observation that “gun control has never stopped anyone.”
While Wexton, who’s not shy about exploiting her anti-gun radicalism was exploiting the Uvalde killings by playing to mob emotions for more citizen disarmament, Cao’s response was to defer and avoid:
“Many Republicans, including Cao, have said now is not the time for political discussions in the wake of the tragedies. On a conservative radio show … Cao expressed dismay that he ‘got caught in a trap’ talking about gun control … and questioned, ‘Is it really the time to talk about gun control?’”
When your enemy is talking about it is exactly the time to promote the truth. Otherwise, all a low-information voting public will hear are lies designed to manipulate and swindle them out of their rights. But apparently, with Cao, it’s never the time to talk about it, as he ignored Virginia Citizens Defense League’s Federal Candidate Survey.
That was intentional, as correspondence from a longtime War on Guns and AmmoLand News reader with Loudon County GOP and Virginia House of Delegates candidate Chairman Scott Pio, shows:
“Among other failures, ignoring VCDL’s candidate survey is the reddest of red flags to this old culture warrior,” the reader noted in response to a solicitation for a political contribution. “I regret that I will have to decline your solicitation unless Captain Cao cowboys up with more than lip service.”
“I think it’s very fair to say that we live in a +6 BLUE county,” Pio replied. “Hung Cao needs to win such votes that help him align with central voters. His work and his surveys completed or not based off his central voters. I will say that as the Chairman of the Republican Party of Loudoun County, I am in firm belief that Hung Cao is a 110% supporter of our 2nd amendment rights. He will NOT waiver. Nor will I. I personally would like to see gun safe zones completed [sic] removed from all places within the country.”
It’s true that the District, largely through demographic changes, has become strongly Democrat. How that happened is another area where the Republican Party’s “commitment” focus exclusively on illegal instead of all immigration ignores electoral dangers. That’s another topic no one wants to talk about that needs immediate attention.
And while GOP fundraising has picked up in the last reporting period, “Wexton had much more money remaining at the start of October, with more than $3.1 million in her campaign war chest. Cao reported $992,793 heading into the month.”
Here’s the thing: Democrats are not afraid to talk about guns. And if Cao thinks he’s going to win “progressive” hearts and minds talking about ANY “Republican” issue, he and his handlers are kidding themselves. They have nothing to lose except the fire in the belly of their core constituents if they think ducking existential issues is going to push them over the top.
And like Cao, Pio, who claims 2A fidelity, also avoids defining his stand on the Second Amendment. Sorry, but some of us have been given “Trust me” assurances before, only to find we’ve been played for suckers. And seeing Cao endorsed by Republican “assault weapon” ban supporter (and demonstrable liar for an “AQ” NRA grade) Brian Mast doesn’t fill us with confidence, especially noting Cao “aspire[s] to serve the people of #VA10 with the same fierce passion and commitment to his constituents that [Mast] brings with him to Washington.”
If Hung Cao really “is a 110% supporter of our 2nd amendment” (which is an impossible bit of hyperbole, by the way, calling to mind nothing so much as a famous movie quote), we need to see better than this from him. We don’t need to be told that a proven warrior dares not mention the keystone to the Bill of Rights lest Democrats and the media use it against him.
Of course, they will. And they’d use it against him if he won the office, too. Does that mean he’ll be paralyzed if he wins this time for fear of losing the next election? This is why we elect these b******s and end up with no reciprocity and hearing protection laws.
That’s what listening to the counsel of cowards and being afraid to use your megaphone buys you.
These people run for office because they represent themselves as leaders for championing the beliefs of their constituents. That means they’re expected to lead, and if they don’t know how there are plenty willing to help and navigate them through all the specifics and questions and pitfalls in arenas they’ve been fighting in for years. Rather than ignore VCDL, Team Cao should have been soliciting them to learn what the issues and arguments are so that when they do come up, he knows how to counter demonstrable lies with demonstrable truths.
Instead, we have meh. And nice website and signs you spent a lot of money on that will soon be forgotten.
There’s a story I heard years ago attributed to the late Chairman of the Republican National Committee, Lee Atwater, dismissing the concerns of gun owners. I don’t know if it’s apocryphal or not, but it certainly articulates an attitude many of us have seen and fought for decades.
“Who else are they going to vote for?” he reputedly asked.
What that question fails to answer is the fact that a critical mass of gun owners would like to resolve things politically, but in the final analysis, Republicans need us more than we need them. That’s because, say the Democrats get their supermajorities and pass whatever citizen disarmament edicts they want, appoint judges to uphold them, and equip functionaries to enforce them. There’s one thing no one wants to talk about:
Surrender our guns? No. Your move. Seriously.
If Republicans want to stay relevant, they’d best realize that, and strap ‘em on so it doesn’t come to that on a large scale. With a growing resigned TINVOWOOT sentiment among gun owners jaded by past betrayals, GOP leadership had best realize they need us fired up if they don’t want that to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.