Friday, April 04, 2008

Campaign Killers?

Two issues may or may not end up being especially damning for both John McCain and Barack Obama.

For Obama that campaign killer may be his support of banning concealed carry nationwide. While some folks may certainly support such an idea, 48 States allow concealed carrying of firearms, all but two requiring a permit. 40 of those States are what the NRA considers "Right to Carry" States that allow pretty much anyone who qualifies to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense.

The big factor for the election would be in the so-called "Swing States" where the NRA could mobilize against a candidate so blatantly for more gun control (no matter how "common sense" he calls his Brady Campaign infringements).

As the animated map below shows, all but one of the potential "Swing States" in 2008 is a Shall-Issue carry State... the other has so few restrictions that the NRA includes it in the "Right To Carry" group (click for larger image):



These are policies that the voters, through their representatives, have enacted. The idea that a candidate promoting democracy and supposedly supporting the 2nd Amendment would support nullifying their laws could be a campaign killer. Regardless of how you or I feel about concealed carry laws, it is a big issue in these states especially among gun owners.

McCain also has a big problem...

As he pointed out today, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr's assassination, in his early years in Congress he had originally opposed making his birthday a holiday. The grounds given were that there were too many government holidays already and other historical figures who were more deserving.

His comments were, of course, met with jeers and heckling. He firmly stated that he was wrong and he was also wrong in taking too long to realize his opposition was a mistake. But that may not be enough for many people, especially minorities, who already generally distrust Republicans on issues of race... let alone one with a flip-flop on something so generally accepted today.

While Republicans will likely point to Reagan's own flip-flop on the issue and point out that the pragmatic reasons McCain gave were not racist in any way... but those excuses are just that, excuses.

It will hurt McCain's support among minorities, who already have reason to be wary about his commitment to civil rights with his boneheaded use of slurs against his Vietnamese captors, and his temporary but equally boneheaded "States Rights" defense of the stars and bars being on a State flag. He has apologized and admitted he was wrong in each case, but none were excusable and they will remain black marks on his record that he will have to continue to face.

Will it end up being a campaign killer? Will either of these issues become campaign killers?

Perhaps. Perhaps not. Only time will tell.

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