In a tight race for the Senate against Republican John Raese in 2010, Democratic Governor Joe Manchin came up with a TV ad that turned the race around.
The ad showed Manchin shooting EPA regulations.
In the Year of the Tea Party, Manchin breezed to a 24-point win.
In the next cycle, every Democrat got his -- or her -- gun and began shooting at things. Even President Obama fired his gun. In so doing, they killed the Republican advantage in Second Amendment rights.
But then Manchin did something to undercut this message.
After the election, a crazed gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, including 20 first-graders.
Manchin totally misread public reaction by co-sponsoring another round of gun regulations. From the Hill:
But Congress failed to approve any of several gun control bills introduced in response to the massacre, with the biggest defeat coming with the collapse last spring of a bipartisan Senate measure that would have required background checks for all commercial gun sales.Actually, the law already requires federally licensed dealers to do background checks -- and has since 1968 (46 years ago).
The amendment, offered in April by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), seen as gun control advocates’ best chance for a victory in the current political landscape, fell six votes short of approval.
In embracing gun regulation -- even regulations already on the books -- Manchin undercut his pro-Second Amendment rep.
Now when gun-owning voters in West Virginia see Democrat Natalie Tennant firing a gun, they say, sure. Remember, this is a woman who first bopped on the scene as the first female rifle-toting WVU mascot.
Gun owners in Kentucky also are skeptical of Democrat Alison Grimes when she shoots her weapon. Indeed, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell uses it in his ad to show she is doing the same thing Barack Obama did two years ago.