John Sigler, NRA President, has an article on Barack Obama’s playbook of deception on guns. In it he articulates the carefully crafted words and phrases used by Obama and friends in their attempt to deceive Americans about guns and where they came from. Examples:
The bait-and-switch gimmick of employing rhetorical tricks to hide very real gun control agendas, and to create a fraudulent history to assure that “your gun record does not define your candidacy” are the central lessons offered in a political/propaganda playbook or script proffered by something called the Third Way.
The problem that progressives have on the gun issue has far less to do with the typical policies they espouse than the rhetoric they employ.” – The Third Way
“It’s critical that progressives recognize that only an aggressive outreach strategy to gun owners will ensure that your opponent’s message about your gun record does not define your candidacy.” – The Third Way
He doesn’t mention it but there is another source for Barack Obama’s rhetoric. I have an Americans for Gun Safety document from 2003 which provides the details of the research done which contributed to the “Third Way” plans published in 2006 and earlier this year.
From the 2003 document comes this advice (next to the last page):
Our gun rights come with the responsibility to keep them out of the hands of criminals terrorists and children.
I support gun safety measures like criminal background checks on all sales at gun shows and tough enforcement of existing gun laws.
I agree with President Bush that we need to renew the ban on assault weapons.
I take a back seat to no one in support of second amendment rights but I also support requiring criminal background checks at gun shows and continuing the ban on assault weapons.
From 2006 (read the document for the details of what these steps mean):
Step 1: Reject the Conventional Wisdom on Guns
Step 2: Own the Second Amendment
Step 3: Redefine the Issue from Gun Control to Gun Safety
Step 4: Criticize Conservatives for Failing to Enforce Existing Gun Laws
Step 5: Promote Centrist Gun Policies with Centrist Language
Step 6: Take Your Message Directly to Gun Owners – Don’t Let Your Opponent Define You
Step 7: Implement Your Gun Plan and Watch the Gun Votes Roll In
Here is what they say about guns in September 2008:
One of the greatest predictors of voting behavior is gun ownership, and roughly 45% of the nation has a gun in the home. For most of the past eight years, John McCain has been enemy number one among NRA enthusiasts (based on his authorship of the gun show loophole bill and campaign finance reform). He has now made amends with NRA leadership and the choice of Palin makes this a NRA dream ticket. (See the cover of this week’s Newsweek.)
Be aware that while Americans generally hate special interest groups, they have a modestly positive view toward the NRA. At the same time, they are tired of the fight on this issue like on other culture issues. We suggest the following message:
I take a back seat to no one in support of Second Amendment rights, but those rights don’t extend to terrorists and criminals. That is why I support the John McCain bill to close the gun show loophole.
Conservatives are up to their old tricks. There is no argument over the Second Amendment; they just want to pick a fight and divide this nation for short term political gain.
Progressives should make clear that they support both an individual’s Second Amendment right to own firearms for protection, collection, and sport, and also reasonable restrictions to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists. There is no contradiction in this message, and it’s also popular. A poll we conducted on guns revealed that 89% of voters believe the Second Amendment confers an individual right to own firearms; however, 73% believe that the right allows for reasonable restrictions.
Nowhere do they say “progressives” need to change their objectives. They only need to change their language.
Barack Obama is reading his lines from anti-gun people who have been carefully researching for years what words work best so the target audience hears what they want to hear while still leaving him open to ban certain guns and destroy gun shows.
Paul Simon could have been singing about what Barack Obama is hoping will happen with gun owners:
All lies and jest, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.