Sunday, May 18, 2014

GOPer candidate for Congress politicizes mass shootings

...Not in a "let's examine gun laws and the culture of violence in the U.S." sort of way, but in a "let's blame the Democrats" sort of way...

From the Arizona Star, written by Becky Pallack (emphasis added) -
Congressional District 1 candidate Gary Kiehne made extreme comments about gun rights at a Republican primary debate Saturday.

Asked how he would protect gun rights, Kiehne said he owns more guns and ammunition than the other candidates and said everyone should own a gun.

When it comes to mass shootings, “if you look at all the fiascos that have occurred, 99 percent of them have been by Democrats pulling their guns out and shooting people,” Kiehne said to an audience of about 60 people. “So I don’t think you have a problem with the Republicans.”

Audio of his comments is here.

It would be easy to dismiss the rantings of Kienhe as just that, rantings.

Of someone who doesn't have a snowball's chance in July...of winning.

Except for two points:

1.  He's a Republican, and this guff appeals to a large part of their base.

2.  His opponents, just as extreme as him, have a major detail working against their success - they are sitting Republican legislators.  I can think of only two such sitting R legislators who have moved on to higher office* during a year in which they were members of the lege -

John Huppenthal, former state senator and current State Superintendent of Public Instruction (no observer can figure out how someone as nearly-universally disliked can keep winning elections, but he does)

Matt Salmon, who moved from the lege to the US House, but did it during the 1990s when the lege wasn't as much a punchline as it is today.

Of course, out of fairness to Kiehne, I should point out that at least he is consistent.

* - For purposes of this post, "higher office" refers to federal or statewide (line of succession) office.  Many legislators have moved on to other offices - county BOS, mayor/city council, even Arizona Corporation Commission.  However, I cannot find any more recent examples of Republican legislators moving directly from the lege to higher profile federal or state office.

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