Listen up, liberals. Pay attention, pinkos.
The insider's guide to flexing political muscle arrived earlier this month. It is five glorious pages of intimidation. Several hundred words of shameless brilliance.
It is hardball lobbying at the big league level, and that's something you wimps on the left could certainly use some brushing up on.
In this case, it arrives in the guise of a questionnaire by the National Rifle Association. The NRA, with the Unified Sportsmen of Florida riding shotgun, sent this election-year questionnaire to sheriff candidates all around the state.
Ostensibly, it is a Second Amendment survey. Realistically, it is an audition for the NRA's campaign endorsement.
It includes 14 questions and not an ounce of nuance. Typically, sheriffs have two potential answers — either a) No, I would never dream of questioning the Second Amendment, or b) Yes, I would like to be your clay pigeon.
Here is an honest-to-goodness snippet of text from one of the questions:
" … anti-gun agitators, who oppose self-defense, are working to destroy the freedom and rights of innocent victims in favor of protecting violent criminals.''
Word is, they were going to spell that out in bullet holes, but someone suggested this far more subtle and even-handed phrasing.
Mind you, this isn't criticism of the NRA. If anything, it is admiration. They've taken complex issues and reduced them to simplistic yes-or-no answers with little wiggle room.
And they've essentially backed respondents into a corner by announcing that anyone who skips the questionnaire will not be eligible for endorsement, and any questions that go unanswered will be considered an attack on the Second Amendment.
So much for self-defense.
And that, my little tree-hugging friends, is how you intimidate. That is how you manipulate. That is how you get elected officials to swear allegiance to your cause.
With that in mind, all manner of lobbying groups should use the NRA guide as a template for loaded questions for politicians around the state.
From the National Resources Defense Council:
1. Dependence on foreign oil threatens the U.S. economy and national security and is responsible for escalating gas prices around the country. Would you support a Congress-on-Bikes initiative or the collapse of America as we know it?
a. ____ Yes, I believe in America.
b. ____ No, bicycle seats give me a rash.
From the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws:
1. For how many of the following reasons do you support marijuana use?
a. ____ Cancer patients.
b. ____ Glaucoma patients.
c. ____ Dementia patients.
d. ____ Pink Floyd fans.
e. ____ All of the above.
From the Center for American Progress:
1. The Statue of Liberty has been an enduring symbol of America's greatness, compassion, freedom and majesty for more than 100 years. It is the torch that has represented hope and dignity to generations of Americans. Do you support the Dream Act and the ideals of liberty it embodies?
a. ____ Yes, I believe in liberty.
b. ____ No, I prefer internment camps.