by Max Brantley
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the well-funded group co-founded by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is seriously considering a months-long television, radio and direct-mail campaign against Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor, one of four Democrats who opposed expanding a background check for guns.
The goal: Make an example of him.
Senior members of Mayor’s Against Illegal Guns met at length Sunday to debate potential responses to the failure of President Obama’s gun regulation package, including a watered-down background check provision that fell five votes short.
...The broader goal of the Bloomberg group is to provide a political counterweight to the National Rifle Association which has had virtually unmitigated influence over Congress since 1994, when Democrats lost control of the House and blamed then-President Clinton’s assault-weapons ban.
The Bloomberg group is mulling a variety of messages and methods for Arkansas. One approach would be to target reliable Democratic voters, including African Americans, with advertising that calls out Pryor for “opposing the president’s agenda,” the official said. Another would be to expand the campaign to suburban women and other moderates. The campaign might not be limited to the issue of guns.
“Money would not be an object,” the official said, adding that a decision on whether to target Pryor would come soon and that action against other Democrats is still possible.
I stick with what I said to Fournier yesterday. A general election effort against Pryor only yields the worst possible outcome for progressive political forces, election of an even worse Republican. It is hard, too, to imagine success for a campaign supporting a liberal Democratic alternative to Pryor in the primary, presuming such an alternative presented itself. None is evident at the moment. And should such a candidate surface, he or she would be unlikely to have the organizational skills, personal money and huge labor support that Bill Halter had in his race for U.S. Senate against Blanche Lincoln. And Lincoln still won. But the damage done was no help in her losing November general election campaign.
A Bloomberg campaign against Pryor would just be a grievous wound in their own foot, seems to me.