The leader of the National Rifle Association insisted he wasn't "crazy," "paranoid," or "nuts" before ranting to NRA members in an "urgent" video message where he made claims at odds with reality, including claiming that his widely ridiculed prediction that President Obama would come for Americans' guns "came true."During a six-minute get-out-the-vote video, NRA executive vice president and CEO Wayne LaPierre described America after eight years of Obama as president in hellish terms unrecognizable to anyone who actually lives here, claiming that the president has "laid waste to the America we remember" causing the country to "completely unravel."
A key element of Donald Trump's electoral strategy is convincing as many Americans as possible that the United States is in ruins. That rascally President Obama created a dystopian nightmare, the argument goes, which in turn created conditions that demand radical change that only a controversial television personality can provide.It is, to be sure, an odd pitch in a country with low unemployment, low crime rates, the lowest uninsured rate on record, falling poverty, the highest graduation rates on record, and a relatively popular president. But the Republican presidential nominee feels like he doesn't have much of a choice: if he doesn't convince voters their lives are a living hell, they're unlikely to vote for him.As it turns out, the National Rifle Association is thinking along similar lines. Media Matters had an interesting report this week on the NRA's new election-season message, which is striking in its departure from reality.
That may seem hyperbolic, but the Media Matters report included a transcript, and LaPierre's tirade is as amazing as advertised."When I said Barack Obama would come for our guns and do everything in his power to sabotage the Second Amendment, they savaged me. They called me a liar," the NRA leader proclaimed. "But every one of those predictions came true."Now, I like to think of myself as someone who pays fairly close attention to current events, but I have no recollection of the president coming for Americans' guns. The White House also proposed nothing that would "sabotage" the Second Amendment.And yet, in LaPierre's mind, it's time for a proud victory lap -- because the anti-Obama predictions that appear kind of silly in hindsight, in his mind, actually "came true."LaPierre added, "While radical Islamic terrorists shot, bombed, and butchered innocent Americans on our own soil, Barack Obama attacked you harder than he attacked ISIS."Well, let's see. As of yesterday morning, Obama has ordered over 12,000 strikes against ISIS targets in the Middle East, more than the rest of the world combined. On the other hand, the president hasn't restricted NRA members' gun rights at all. Perhaps LaPierre is thinking of some other president?It's funny, in a way. Ahead of every election, the NRA effectively warns its members, "If the Democrat wins, it'll be the end of the Second Amendment; the government will try to confiscate your guns; and the rights you hold dear will be no more." Then the Democrat wins and none of those claims come to fruition.It's therefore tempting to wonder why NRA members would believe the far-right organization when it issues the same warnings the next time, since credibility should count for something. But that's what makes LaPierre's message so incredible: after his predictions were discredited, he's comfortable pretending otherwise. "You might think those over-the-top warnings I made never actually happened," he seems to be saying, "but if you listen to me exclusively, you'll see I was right all along!"And so, right on cue, LaPierre once again told members in his new message, "So feel free to mark my words: If, God forbid, Hillary Clinton is elected, she will launch an all-out war on the Second Amendment. She will come for your guns, she will attack your right to carry, she will attack your most basic right to defend your family with a firearm in your home. And she will continue the disastrous policies of this administration to their inevitable conclusion: the creation of a new, post-freedom America that you won't even recognize."If Clinton wins, and literally none of these claims come true, in four years' time, LaPierre will proudly declare, "See how right I was?"