Remarking as we were on the dreariness of this year's election campaigns, we failed to pay sufficient tribute to the NRA, one of the most unsavory and, in its predictability, dullest of the biennial participants in the passing political parade.
No matter how many children die in schoolyard shootings, the NRA's response is always the same, and it does not include serious discussion of gun violence in America. What's needed, the NRA says, is more guns in the hands of more people, and serious political reprisals against anybody who says otherwise. That the result of this prescription is more bullet holes in more kids does not weaken the NRA's commitment.
The NRA has found two candidates who meet its rigid requirements in the gubernatorial race this year, one in each of the major political primaries, and made two endorsements. Mike Ross, the Democrat, was the NRA's go-to guy in the U.S. House when he represented Arkansas's Fourth District. Asa Hutchinson, the Republican, has had an itchy trigger finger in all the various government offices he's held. When he was head of the Drug Enforcement Administration under George W. Bush, and raging against cancer patients who sought marijuana to relieve their suffering, it was easy to imagine him taking his rifle and picking them off one at a time, like the prison camp commander in "Schindler's List." Probably didn't happen, but it's easy to imagine. He speaks fondly of his favorite weapons, a Remington 870 Express 12-gauge shotgun and a Springfield .45 semi-automatic handgun.
The governor's race offers a distasteful but easy choice for non-friends of the NRA. Ross is a generally reasonable man when not carrying water for the NRA, and sometimes supports reasonable causes. Hutchinson is a right-wing extremist, scary even when he doesn't have a gun.