COMMENTARY | In a press release Thursday, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., announced his new alliance with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., vowing to “oppose any legislation” that would restrict the Second Amendment rights of America’s law-abiding citizens.
“We, the undersigned, intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance,” begins the March 22 letter, addressed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and signed by Paul and Rubio.
“The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens’ right to self-defense,” the letter continues. “It speaks to the history’s lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history’s warning about the oppression of a government that tries.”
Perhaps Rubio’s new effort to fight gun restrictions may finally help the National Rifle Association see the light?
“He was a big disappointment to us when he was the speaker,” NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer, who saw Rubio do little to help pass a bill that would allow employees to bring guns to work, told The Tampa Bay Times Nov. 7, 2009. “He talked the talk, but he didn’t walk the walk.”
Even though Rubio voted for the bill, Hammer told The Miami Herald Nov. 16, 2009, that the “A” rating Rubio held with the NRA prior to his position as House Speaker in 2006 would drop.
“He voted when the gun bill was brought to the vote,” Hammer admitted curiously, “but we know that what goes on behind the scenes is an entirely different story. We watch everything: false claims, lips service, what a member tells other people,” said Hammer, adding that, with Rubio “it’s not pretty… we take our issue very seriously.”
On Dec. 17, The Washington Post reported that the NRA had given Rubio a “B+” rating.
On Dec. 9, The Tampa Bay Times reported that while former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist had been “staunchly pro-gun rights” throughout his “long political career,” the former Republican-turned independent-turned temporary “No Labels”- turned Democrat who is now considering another run for his old job as governor against Republican Rick Scott in 2014, “expressed support for a renewed assault weapons ban, a size limit on ammunition clips and tougher background checks.”
“Are you surprised?” Marc Caputo quoted from an ironic email Hammer sent to The Miami Herald on Dec. 20.
It’s a curious question, considering the 2006 report by Tallahassee.com that the NRA backed Crist’s run for Florida governor and Caputo’s note that the NRA also “backed Crist over Rubio” during the 2010 Senate race.
“I’m not surprised that Charlie Crist is now joining the gun ban chant of anti-gun Democrats,” Hammer said. “Recently, Charlie Crist has been systematically turning his back on many things in which he has claimed to believe.”
In reality, Crist’s penchant for “systematically turning his back on things in which he has claimed to believe” is hardly “recent.”
“Other candidates flip-flop,” National Review observed in October 2010, “but Charlie Crist has elevated the political reversal to an art form.”
While campaigning for governor in 2005, The St. Petersburg Times reported that Crist was opposed to having oil rigs 125 miles off Florida’s coast.
But in an effort to exploit the panic of soaring gas prices among Florida voters to his advantage, as he considered a run for a seat in the United States Senate, the Associated Press reported in 2009 that Crist was suddenly “open minded” about drilling 10 miles off shore.
After losing John McCain’s vice presidential slot to Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential election cycle, Crist began snuggling up to President Barack Obama in 2009, sharing that infamous bro-hug, and standing by the president’s side during his 2010 BP oil speech.
Of course, Crist was also very much against the Affordable Care Act before he was for it, and quite pro-life — until he wasn’t.
“He currently claims to be a deer hunter,” Hammer told The Tampa Bay Times regarding Crist’s silly new effort to convince Americans that he supports Second Amendment rights.
And Obama “currently claims” to be a skeet shooter.
“I suspect that the only thing he has actually ever hunted is political office,” Hammer concluded of Crist, seeming to have finally grasped what most Florida Republicans have known for years.
That Obama shares a similar political history, dumping his job as an Illinois state senator during his second term for a seat in the United States Senate, only to abandon that job to run for president, Crist learns fast.
Now it’s time for the NRA to start paying attention.