Blog ››› ››› MATT GERTZ
MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe suggested that gun violence prevention is a killer issue that hurts Democrats, attributing the party's success in recapturing the House in 2006 to Nancy Pelosi taking the issue off the table. This fantastical claim ignores the variety of issues on which the 2006 election actually turned, including the handling of the war in Iraq; the fact that several strong gun restrictions were and remain extremely popular; and that the Democrats lost the majority in 2010 without taking action on guns.
Discussing what he saw as the failures of the Republican Party during this election, Wolffe said on the November 6 edition of MSNBC's NOW with Alex Wagner:
WOLFFE: I don't think that the choice of character what really their problem this time around. It's not that their profile didn't fit. They need a nominee the next time around who can lead this party in a different direction. You know, we're talking about the House and the Senate and where they're going to end up, Nancy Pelosi, who gets a lot of criticism for being supposedly arch-liberal, she did one big thing to help Democrats take majority in the House, which is to say, we're not going to stick with gun control. You know, if you want to be a Southern Democrat and you want to not talk about guns at all, you do what you like. Republicans need to have a candidate who will say, on abortion you can be pro-life, you can be pro-choice, it doesn't matter.
While the Democratic Party did make an effort to recruit candidates who opposed strong gun violence prevention laws during the 2006 election cycle, it beggars belief to claim that that effort is what paved the way for their victory.
The Washington Post concluded at the time that the Democrats were able to take back the House due to "an increasingly unpopular war in Iraq and a rash of scandals tainting GOP incumbents in several states." Exit polls also showed the economy and terrorism as top issues for voters.
If avoiding the supposed stain of being in favor of gun violence prevention had been as important as Wolffe suggests in 2006, one would expect the National Rifle Association to have had some impact. But the purportedly pro-gun Democratic class of 2006 made big gains even though not a single member was endorsed by the National Rifle Association, and all four NRA-endorsed Republican challengers lost to their Democratic opponents that year.