Why Bush Lost
by Harry Schneider
Chairman, Pennsylvania Sportsmen's Association
Bush lost every battleground state with the possible exception of Florida.
Democratic West Virginia went for Bush solely on the gun issue. Without West
Virginias Electoral votes, Gore would win even without Florida. Pennsylvania
could have also gone for Bush if Republican leadership, nationally and
especially in Pennsylvania hadn't forced sportsmen into so many battles over gun
and freedom issues. Republican leadership in Harrisburg and in Washington
repeatedly alienated grass roots sportsmen's leadership during the past few
years. Without active and enthusiastic grass roots support, the NRA's whistle
stop visits and vote freedom first road signs didn't have the punch to override
phony Democrat economic arguments. Republican leadership handed gun owners a
lesser of two evils candidate; not enough to get many to vote against what the
unions and the AARP convinced them was their economic interest.
At the Pennsylvania Gun Collectors Assn gun show the weekend before the
election, the FOAC and NRA people made a valiant effort to help Bush, but the
topic amongst individuals was that Bush and Gore both want to pass the Juvenile
Justice Bill which can end gun shows. A strong secondary topic was Republican
Attorney General Mike Fisher who did not honor his campaign promise to agree to
pistol permit reciprocity with Florida and West Virginia. Most attendees said
that they would vote for Bush and Fisher as the lesser of two evils, and
probably most of them did. However, the Republican Congress and the Ridge
administration had drained most experienced grass roots activists of enthusiasm.
Not one statewide or national candidate had anyone at the gun show to represent
them to the thousands of voters - a first that did not go unnoticed! The Bush
Campaign had a Sportsmen's flyer that was distributed, but it was irrelevant to
the issues of concern - it could have easily been a Gore flyer.
Sadly, had Tom Ridge, Mike Fisher, x-President Bush and George W's website
been supportive of gun owners, it is very likely that Pennsylvania would have
gone for Bush making the Florida issue moot.
This election post-mortem is not intended to bash anyone, but to offer an
honest grass roots assessment. We hope that Democrat and Republican leadership
will learn that it is not in their interests to continue attacking law abiding
gun owners. We hold out an olive branch to every legislator who will respect all
Constitutionally protected rights.
And a bayonet to those who don't. ~~ KABA