Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg must be trying hard to be the man people love to hate, and for the past two days, editorials and news stories in Colorado about the former New York mayor’s sneering remarks regarding parts of that state could become a battle cry in parts of rural Washington.
Why should Evergreen Staters worry about Bloomberg’s insult to residents of the Centennial State? It’s because Bloomberg was showing disdain for people who would not allow him to buy an election last year based on a gun rights-related issue — the recall of two anti-gun state senators who helped push his gun control agenda — and now the New York elitist is digging into his pocket to impact an election here.
As this column noted several days ago, Bloomberg’s “Everytown for Gun Safety” $50 million lobbying organization has now officially entered the dueling initiatives battle. Everytown will be pushing for passage of Initiative 594, the complicated 18-page gun control measure that is so onerous even many law enforcement professionals oppose it.
Yesterday’s editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette may seem to have been poking fun about Bloomberg’s dismissive remark suggesting that people who voted for gun rights are hicks who live in places without roads, but it was actually as serious as a rattlesnake bite. The editorial clearly called Bloomberg a liar without actually using the word, setting the record straight about the recall efforts that removed Senators John Morse and Angela Giron, and forced Sen. Evie Hudak to resign.
On Thursday, the Daily Caller and KDVR both did stories about Bloomberg’s “elitist comments” that suggested — as the Gazette editorial so cleverly observed — the former mayor considers those who oppose his gun efforts to be “dumb rednecks” who “ain’t got the sense to vote as the big-city mayor done told us to.”
Here in Washington — which is something of a test tube for Bloomberg and fellow gun prohibitionists to gauge how well, and how expensive, the initiative approach to eroding gun owner privacy will work — I-594 has become a battle between well-heeled urban elitists and the rest of the population, among which there are a couple of million gun owners. If I-594 passes here, proponents will use what they learn from this effort to push similar measures in other states.
The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), which is pushing I-594, has consistently portrayed itself as the underdog against the National Rifle Association “and its allies.” In truth, it’s WAGR that has the big bucks behind it while the grassroots effort to pass the alternative measure, Initiative 591, has raised only about half of what the I-594 camp has already spent.
The NRA is not, and never has been, part of the “Protect Our Gun Rights” coalition behind the I-591 effort. Public Disclosure Commission records prove that. The NRA finally entered the fray, but only to mount opposition to I-594 by educating voters about its hidden invasiveness.
But expect gun control proponents to eventually smear the I-594 opposition as “gun nuts” and hicks; the caricature redneck low-brows who starve their families, abuse their pets and talk to their guns. It’s the same kind of social bigotry practiced by Bloomberg when he said, “The NRA went after two or three state senators in a part of Colorado where I don’t think there’s roads. It’s as far rural as you can get.”
Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin, whose byline once adorned the pages of the Seattle Times — where the editorial board several days ago further alienated its former rural readers by endorsing I-594 and opposing I-591 — perhaps put it best in her Thursday piece about the Bloomberg flap. Malkin now resides in Colorado, in one of the districts where the recall occurred last year, so she has a stake in the debate.
“Go home, Nanny Bloomberg,” Malkin wrote. “Keep your high-and-mighty nose out of our business, your hands off our guns and your money out of our state.”
That may soon become a popular sentiment in Washington, where gun rights activists are hoping to stop the initiative experiment in its tracks. They could justifiably appeal for help from gun owners in other states with the initiative process by noting that if I-594 is successful here, similar proposals will soon be coming to their states. It’s best to stop Bloomberg and his anti-gun Puget Sound contemporaries north of the Columbia River.