Saturday, June 21, 2014

S.E. Cupp Uses NRA Media Myth To Find Danger In Clinton's Opposition To Assault Weapons

Media Matters

CNN host S.E. Cupp baselessly suggested that Hillary Clinton's support for a ban on assault weapons is bad politics by promoting the myth that the 1994 Republican takeover of the House of Representatives was fueled by the passage of an assault weapons ban that year.

In fact, political scientists say tax increases and a fight over healthcare reform better explain the Republican takeover. But conservative pundits often incorporate the 1994 assault weapons ban into the media myth that it is politically unwise for politicians to support gun reform and that the National Rifle Association has the ability to use the gun issue to determine election outcomes.

During a June 17 town hall forum on CNN, Clinton expressed support for a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, as well as expanded background checks on gun sales. On the gun debate, Clinton added, "we need a more thoughtful conversation, we cannot let a minority of people ... hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people."

Appearing on CNN's The Situation Room after the town hall discussion, Cupp suggested political danger in Clinton's position, stating, "Democrats really suffered, and Hillary Clinton knows this, Democrats really suffered the last time they enacted an assault weapon ban. There were a lot of Democrats who were thrown out of office the last time that passed."
In a January 17, 2013, US News article headlined "Gun Control Laws Weren't Primary Reason Dems Lost in 1994" political scientists and 1994 election experts Philip Klinkner and Gary Jacobson are quoted arguing that assault weapons ban legislation was only one of several controversial votes leading up to the midterm elections but that a "mythology" was formed around the gun vote. Klinkner and Jacobson instead pinned the electoral success of the Republican Party on the failure of health care reform and tax increases:
While the '94 election proved Americans wanted Democrats out of congressional power (more than 50 Democratic seats were lost), it's less clear if the weapons ban, or any one issue, was the primary reason for their loss.
"This is a mythology that has developed," says Philip Klinkner, who edited a book about the '94 elections. "That narrative stretches things way too far."
The truth, political scientists say, is that it can be attributed to a combination of factors, and the "assault weapons" ban was just one of several controversial votes that led to the loss.
With Democrats in charge of the House, Senate and White House, the 103rd Congress tackled a long, progressive wish list. The White House pressured legislators to take on healthcare reform (unsuccessfully), pass the North American Free Trade Agreement and raise taxes through a deficit reduction act, which was fraught with political land mines for congressional Democrats. None of the policies helped earn legislators points back home among their more conservative constituents.
"The vote for gun control mattered, but the vote for the tax increase and healthcare were more important," says Gary Jacobson, who has done a statistical analysis of what votes affected the outcome of the 1994 election.


  1. How can holding a view point terrorize people, unless those people are ignorant gun grabbing tard bags?

  2. "Although the NRA is often given the lion's share of credit for the Republican takeover, American Prospect contributing editor (and former Media Matters staffer) Paul Waldman conducted an analysis that found even without the slight boost seen in NRA-backed Republican candidates in 1994, Republicans would have still taken over the House"
    (Overall Waldman's analysis of recent House election cycles found the value of NRA spending or endorsements to be highly overrated as a benefit to candidates. Between 2004 and 2010, Waldman found that an NRA endorsement swung just four out of 1,038 House races."

    A very interesting article Mike. especially since it seems to disprove the common contention of gun control advocates that all gun legislation is controlled by the all powerful NRA who drops off truck loads of money to politicians to vote against the wishes of their constituents and to the benefit of the evil gun manufacturers.
    So it would seem that if the corporate lobbying paradigm isn't working we might have to consider that they might actually be voting the wishes of their constituents, since if they didn't they would be voted out of office.
    As for Bush not being able to deliver on a campaign promise, that really isn't terribly new, for either side of the aisle. After all, didn't our current President make a promise or two that he couldn't deliver on? Gun control and closing Gitmo come to mind right off. Or it wouldn't surprise me if there was a little goo cop/bad cop being played around election time.

    1. You're right. At times my side portrays the NRA as all powerful and at others we make the opposite point, like in this article. Maybe the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

      The point of this article is clear though. Your side often lies and exaggerates to take undeserved credit.

    2. A couple of poor examples. GITMO could not be closed because the Republican majority would not approve the money to transfer the prisoners. Even if you dismiss the leverage the NRA has over Republican representatives (I don't) Republicans still vote majority against gun laws aimed at safety and accountability allowing gun deaths and injuries to continue at an unacceptable rate.

    3. "A couple of poor examples."

      Actually they were very good examples of Presidential campaign promises made and were unsuccessful, just like Bush's promise to renew the assault weapon ban.
      Politicians often make promises, as Kid Rock has sung of, writing checks their ass cant cash. Hopefully though the voters remember come reelection time as to how their promises worked out.

    4. Since the Republicans (spearheaded by president Bush) agreed they also wanted to close GITMO, Obama had no reason to expect Republicans to stop his efforts in closing GITMO. It was a VERY reasonable statement given the support of the Republicans, but then they backed away from their goal of closing GITMO, thus the president could not fulfill. So ask the Republicans why they are hypocrites on the GITMO issue. Yes, hopefully voters remember how the REpublicans have lied on so many issues, including causing American soldiers deaths.

    5. "So ask the Republicans why they are hypocrites on the GITMO issue."

      "On 20 May 2009, the United States Senate passed an amendment to the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2009 (H.R. 2346) by a 90–6 vote to block funds needed for the transfer or release of prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp."

      You are correct that congress passed legislation blocking the closure of Guantanamo. However, it seems that almost all of the Republicans voted against that bill while Democrats overwhelmingly in favor of the bill. So who's fault is it exactly?

    6. ?????
      If 90 voted against it how can you say Republicans voted against it?

    7. You suggest that its the Republicans' fault that Gitmo's closure was blocked when in reality, this is what the media calls bipartisan opposition to its closure. Its not nice to ignore the Democratic support. After all, that gives the people who voted for these Democratic legislators the impression that their elected officials were doing the right thing.
      A prime example of the checks and balances in our governmental system at work.

      "The vote was 90 to 6! This is a Democrat-controlled senate and they totally killed President Obama’s plan. Not only did they kill it, they passed blocking funds to be used for transferring prisoners to the United States. Thank you to all 90 senators who voted against the President!"


    8. I guess you forgot it's the House that controls the money and it's the House that is Republican majority, and it's the House that voted not to fund the transfer of GITMO prisoners. It's not bipartisan just because some Democrats voted for it. A poor try at twisting what really happened.