The NRA could almost change its name to the National Republican Association. On the NRA’s board sit at least 14 Republican politicians or nationally known extreme conservatives, like anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and guitarist Ted Nugent, whose misogynistic insults toward Hillary Rodhan Clinton have become infamous. The sole remaining Democrat, Rep. Dan Boren of Oklahoma, is no longer in Congress. In the past, the NRA board featured such powerful Democrats as Rep. John Dingell of Michigan. As I pointed out two years ago in this publication, the number of Democrats who enjoy NRA support has been dropping dramatically.
Smart lobbies that want to win long-term victories, such as the pro-Israel lobby, try very hard to avoid becoming one-party shops. The NRA, thanks to pushing from partisan Republicans on its board, took stands that forced Democrats like Mr. Dingell to choose between their party and the NRA. The NRA also refused to help a lifelong hunter and gun-rights supporter, Majority Leader Harry Reid, when he was in the fight of his life in the 2010 elections. Reid is not known around Washington for his forgive-and-forget ways.