Some things shouldn’t change. Our Indiana values, stewardship of the land, and the protection of our Second Amendment and hunting rights. But over his 36 years in Washington, Dick Lugar HAS changed. He’s become the only Republican candidate in Indiana with an F-rating from the NRA. It’s time for another change. Time to elect a senator who will protect our rights. Time to elect Richard Murdouck for Senate.
Watch the video:
The radio ad is more explicit with the group’s grievances, claiming that Lugar voted for gun bans, a hunting ban, and to confirm “both of Barack Obama’s anti-gun nominees to the Supreme Court.”
But Lugar’s record of supporting some gun-safety legislation is hardly a change. He voted Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban in 1993. He even ran a TV ad during his unsuccessful 1996 presidential run highlighting his assault weapons vote, explaining “being a conservative doesn’t mean you have to lose your common sense.” His 1994 NRA score was 50 percent and his lifetime NRA score as of 2000 was a C-.
In recent years, Lugar has actually cast several key votes with gun rights advocates, backing a 2009 amendment to allow Amtrak riders to check their guns on trains and 2004 and 2005 bills to shield gun manufacturers from liability and lawsuits. In 2006, the Gun Owners of America gave Lugar a 100 percent rating.
Now the NRA gives Lugar an “F,” which it says means he is a “true enemy of gun owners’ rights,” and “a consistent anti-gun candidate who always opposes gun owners’ rights and/or actively leads anti-gun legislative efforts, or sponsors anti-gun legislation.” Why did they sour on Lugar even as backed a number of gun lobby priorities? It appears that it isn’t Dick Lugar whose changed, but rather the NRA itself.
The top complaint on the anti-Lugar website is: “He voted to confirm both Elena Kagan, and Sonya Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, one of only four Republican Senators to vote for both. (Vote 262, 8/6/2009, and Vote 229, 8/5/2010).” Yet, prior to the Obama administration, the NRA had never jumped into a Supreme Court nomination battle. The group came out against Sotomayor’s confirmation and announced it would count the vote on its legislative scorecard. Some reports suggested that Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the Senate Republican leadership pushed the NRA to score the vote. The group similarly opposed and scored the 2010 confirmation of Kagan. Both were confirmed easily, despite the NRA’s efforts.
So rather than really being about his record on legislation, the NRA-PVF appears to be punishing Sen. Lugar for not giving it a veto over judicial nominations — and betting that a Sen. Mourdock would.
Ultimately, however, it’s not clear how many potential judicial nominees could ever satisfy the NRA’s absurd standards — in its brief history in the business of judicial politics, the NRA has routinely opposed nominees who did nothing more than refuse to ignore binding legal precedents that the NRA doesn’t like. In other words, lawmakers who support judges who faithfully follow the law could be subject to the same attacks that Lugar now faces, while supporters of conservative judicial activism will get off scot free.