Guns and Gear

Obama strategist slams NRA’s op-ed in The Daily Caller

President Barack Obama’s top 2012 campaign strategist is attacking a fiery op-ed that was written by National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and published in The Daily Caller.

“Hard to believe this is real,” David Plouffe said in an early-evening tweet on Wednesday. “Every GOPer should read and decide if this delusional person will call the shots.”

In the op-ed, LaPierre used alarming images to rally gun-rights supporters against what he described as “the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia.”

“Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all. … Hurricanes. Tornadoes. Riots. Terrorists. Gangs. Lone criminals. These are perils we are sure to face,” he wrote in the op-ed, titled “Stand and Fight.” (RELATED: Read the op-ed)

But LaPierre’s op-ed also coupled fear with pride, and pitched an ambitious expansion plan to make gun ownership and shooting into a mark of good character.

“It’s not paranoia to buy a gun. … It’s responsible behavior, and it’s time we encourage law-abiding Americans to do just that,” he wrote.

“I remind people every day, we are the majority. We have so much to be proud of as gun owners, shooters and freedom lovers. That pride, especially when it’s not hidden in the closet, is itself a form of protection for the Second Amendment,” he declared.

The op-ed’s determined and emotional message reflected LaPierre’s unapologetic defense of gun-owners’ legal rights, and it contrasts with Obama’s election-trail efforts to stigmatize the NRA — and also supportive GOP legislators — as complicit in horrifying gun attacks on innocent children and law-abiding middle-class people.

Many GOP and gun-rights activists believe Obama has launched a campaign to win the 2014 midterm House elections, chiefly via the use of emotional wedge issues.

Those wedge issues include what White House officials describe “gun safety” and “common-sense immigration reform.”

GOP officials say those issues are intended to split urban Republican legislators from conservative legislators, and also to spur a high turnout by suburban white women, Latinos and African-Americans. Turnout among those groups tends to be low in midterm elections.

Still, Obama has modulated his anti-NRA message to reduce alarm among gun-rights activists in GOP-leaning states. He has, for example, emphasized that people have the right to defend themselves, partly to counter the NRA’s political charge that progressives want to disarm Americans and make them dependent on government for their safety.

But even Obama’s tempered message frequently references the brutal December slaughter of 20 children in Newtown, Conn., by an single alienated youth.