do we send a Message
With passage of Governor Patakiís extremist gun
control agenda, and his abandonment of the Second Amendment, gun owners
will be faced with a difficult decision when they go to the polls in the
next gubernatorial election in 2002.
Patakiís opponent will likely be either New York State Comptroller Carl McCall or former U. S. Housing Secretary Andrew Cuomo, like Pataki, both are zealous opponents of the Second Amendment civil rights of law abiding Americans. The million dollar question for gun owners is what do we do? Support Pataki, because he might not be as bad as the Democrat or support a third party candidate out of principle? These are a couple of the compelling questions that we must begin to consider.
Iíd like to float a third alternative that will seem very radical but I hope you will keep an open mind and give it some very serious thought.
Reality is that politicians and political parties pay attention to whatever or whoever can impact their chances of success. The means used to impact them doesnít matter. What matters is simply the fact that you can impact them either positively or negatively.
Recent actions by the New York State Republican Party seem to be indicating that at least some in the Party do not view gun owners as relevant to their political success. In other words, in statewide elections some Republicans feel that gun owners are a non factor some even feel the political price for gun owner support is not worth the cost. Two very high profile examples of this are the recent passage of the Pataki gun control package and the Republican candidacy of antigun Rick Lazio for the U.S. Senate last year.
These two very important examples are irrefutable evidence that Republicans, at least in statewide elections, view gun owners as irrelevant. And lets be honest, in last years U. S. Senate race we were irrelevant. Most gun groups either remained neutral, which to me makes no sense, or they supported a third party candidate. The result, neither strategy worked and gun owners had no impact on the U. S. Senate race in New York. If you think voting third party hurt Lazio youíre wrong. If you took all the votes cast for third party candidates and added then to Rick Lazioís column he would have still lost the election.
The question for us now is how do gun owners become relevant in the 2002 gubernatorial election? Right now the ideal scenario would be to have a viable candidate to challenge Pataki in a Republican primary. By viable I mean someone with organization, money and more money. Anyone who thinks you're going to knock off a sitting governor in his parties primary without those two critical ingredients is living a pipe dream. It is to early to close the door on any idea but I will say that this scenario is the least likely to be successful.
What then do we do? Remember what I said earlier, it is worth repeating.
"Politicians and political parties pay attention to whatever or whoever can impact their chances of success. The means used to impact them doesnít matter. What matters is simply the fact that you can impact them either positively or negatively."
That's it in a nutshell, in other words show them you can hurt them or help them and you will have their attention.
The surest way to get the attention of New York's Republican Party is to play a critical role in delivering a fatal blow to Governor Patakiís reelection. It could be easier than you think, not by voting third party but by supporting whoever the Democrat candidate is. Voting Democrat would be far more effective in ousting Pataki because you have, unlike voting third party, essentially doubled the power of your vote by voting for Patakiís chief opponent. I know some of you purists out there donít like to hear it but voting third party in this race will likely be a wasted vote. The next governor will be a Democrat or a Republican and that is the hard-core reality that we better come to grips with.
To those who feel electing a Democrat governor will compound our troubles I disagree. First, we can't get much worse than the Pataki gun package signed into law last year. There also turns out to be an irony to having an anti-gun Republican governor. For instance, had Mario Cuomo been governor last year several in the legislature have whispered to me that it would have been very unlikely for the Republican controlled senate to support a similar gun control package introduced by a Democrat governor.
The Irony? Last year if Mario Cuomo had been governor we never would have had a restrictive gun control package like the Pataki 5 point plan pass both houses of the legislature.
I know this idea seems radical and I want to point out that this, at least for now, is not the policy or agenda of SCOPE. It is an idea that we should consider. I believe that if gun owners were to adopt this strategy and successfully undermine the election of Governor Pataki we would then have the attention of New York's Republican Party and never have to implement such a strategy again.
With Patakiís 2000 gun control package he in essence declared war on the civil rights of law-abiding gun owners. Are we ready to fight back with whatever it takes to win this war? The answer is with you.
Enjoy the summer.
Timothy P. Andrews, Sr., President
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