There are many arguments for & against voting for Bush which I won't go into yet. I will say that I'm not a one issue voter - at least not in the traditional sense. However I have one issue which is a litmus test & that's the Right to Arms. My reasoning is that if a person isn't going to respect the Right to Arms, then odds are he won't respect any other Rights unless it's to his/her advantage. If they pass the Right to Arms test then I'll look deeper to see if they're acceptable to me.
Kerry definitely isn't a "Right to Arms" kinda guy. But then again neither is Bush. Angel Shamaya of KABA.com published his response to a fund raising letter for the Bush/Cheney campaign which hits some of the highlights of Bush's unfriendliness towards gun owners.
All that being said is to explain why I find the following amusing:
"Ireland Lawmakers Want Unarmed Bush Visit"
Leftist lawmakers in Ireland don't want Bush's Secret Service agents to be armed while he's in their country. They said Ireland's police will protect him.
Why do I find it amusing? Well, cause when Bush was Governor of Texas he supported the idea of requiring prior government permission to carry a weapon for self defense (yes I know most people view Shall Issue CCW laws as an improvement, but it's still gun control & it's not ther best solution available). Then there's the statement made by Ashcroft that is supposed to reflect the White House policy on the 2nd amendment. Ashcroft said that the 2nd amendment protects an individual Right to arms, but that it's subject to "reasonable" government regulation. The qualifier makes the new policy different from the old one only in the means: the end is still the same. Then there's Project Exile & its variants which strictly enforce every unconstitutional federal gun law on the books. Bush was oppossed to arming pilots & now even though the pilots are "Federal Flight Deck Officers" as oppossed to ordinary
After all, what's good for the goose etc...
So the big question is will Bush submit himself to "reasonable" gun cuntrol as imposed by a duly authorized government, or will he take the stance he took when he said that America doesn't need a permission slip to defend itself?
He could gain a lot of votes from gun owners who aren't happy with his stance by refusing to go unarmed & using that as a basis for turning around his domestic policies regarding guns. Hell, if ol' Dubya came out & said that he'd leave the Secret Service agents at home if that's what they wanted, but if they wanted him to attend that he'd just strap on a pistol his damn self. After that if he turned around & demanded that congress & the states repeal any & all laws which make carying a weapon for defense subject to government approval I see no reason why he'd have to campaign any further to make it to '08 in the White House.
The odds of him pursuing that course of action approach zero, so he'll have to hti the campaign trail hard & spend a lot of cash if he wants to squeak by in November.
Let me be clear in case any of you have any contacts with anyone in the Republican Party who might be able to get a message to Bush: if he wants to win this upcoming election there's nothing he could do better than to repent of his views on gun control & actively pursue the repeal of (redundancy alert) every unconstitutional federal gun control law on the books. Unless he does that he's going to lose far more gun owner votes than he'll ever hope to gain in gun control advocate votes. & if any - I repeat any - more federal gun control laws are passed then in 2005 he'll be looking for work.
Bush the Elder made two mistakes that cost him the election in 1992: he reneged on his "no new taxes" promise & he alienated gun owners by signing an executive order that banned the import of "assault weapons". Ruby Ridge didn't help a bit either. So gun owners & a lot of people who didn't care for increased
In '94 there were some major changes in Congress cause a lot of gun owners were upset about the Brady Bill & the "assault weapons" ban.
In 2000 Bush won because Gore was seen as being a gun owners' nightmare. The Republicans also gained control congress in no small part because gun owners felt the Republicans would do a better job of not passing gun control laws than the Democrats would.
So now it's 2004 & things are gonna be close. There are quite a few Senate races that are going to be decided by how the incumbent voted on the renewal of the "assault weapons" ban a month ago. I wouldn't want to be a PR man on the campaign staff of any Republican Senator who voted for adding the renewal of the AWB to the Lawful Commerce in Arms bill. That'd be doubly true if he/she also voted to add McCain's gun show "loophole" amendment to it.
So we have Bush on one hand & Kerry on the other. I have no doubts that Kerry would be the worst choice for a president we've had in a while as fas as international affairs are concerned. Domestically though I see very little difference between the two. & other issues aside they both fail my litmus test.
Kerry is unlikely to see the light. Bush however has a chance. A slim one but a chance nonetheless. That chance is solely dependent on his supporting the Right to Arms. Flowery cmpaign promises or pics of him hunting ducks won't fool anybody: he would have to become an actual defender of the Right to Arms. He'd have to make some efforts at progress - not just saying the words but acting on them. & he'd have to do some things that would contradict his current & earlier views & statements. But he could pull himself up by the bootstraps & be a two term president - the first two term president whose name starts with "B". (Note: it would be incorrect to say that G.W. would be the first two term president in his family. Althugh the relation is distant, the Bush family is connected [several cousins down the list & several removals] to the Lincoln & Roosevelt families).
& he could pull it off by the proper handling of Ireland's request that he comes to their country defensless & following through on it domestically. It'd be interesting to see if he does the correct thing but to my skeptical mind it'd be interesting to find out if he even is aware of the concerns of gun owners.