It's tough to accuse the National Rifle Association of being left-wing, but events on Thursday highlight just how useless the organization can be to the conservative movement at large. On the day that the Supreme Court found the most odious provisions of the Affordable Care Act - ObamaCare - constitutional, the House of Representatives took the historic step of holding a sitting attorney general in contempt of Congress.
Just prior to the contempt vote, which centered on Attorney General Eric Holder's refusal to cooperate with the House Oversight Committee's investigation into Fast and Furious, a gun-trafficking sting operation that has resulted in the death of a Border Patrol agent and countless Mexican nationals, the National Rifle Association announced it would include the vote on its political scorecard. For candidates looking to earn the support of 2nd Amendment voters, the NRA scorecard brings both bragging rights and the likelihood of an endorsement.
At least if you are an incumbent it is likely to bring an endorsement.
As other conservative and right-of-center groups have come to realize the folly of endorsing Democrats - even marginally conservative ones - because the party as a whole is dedicated to radical progressive values, the NRA has insisted on endorsing pro-gun incumbent Democrats. In addition to allowing the NRA to claim the charade of "bipartisan," the tactic also pads the NRA PAC's endorsement/win ratio, always a key thing for establishment operatives playing an insider's game.
Indiana Congressman Joe Donnelly, one of the last Blue Dog Democrats, joined 16 fellow Democrats in holding Mr. Holder in contempt of Congress. For that he should be commended. But it is interesting to note that Mr. Donnelly has earned the NRA endorsement in 2008 and 2010, and is currently running against conservative Richard Mourdock (R) in the battle for Indiana's U.S. Senate seat. Mr. Donnelly was re-elected by the narrowest of margins in 2010 over a stalwart conservative champion, state Rep. Jackie Walorski.
Whether or not the NRA will endorse in the Indiana Senate race remains to be seen. But while focusing solely on gun issues, the NRA has championed candidates like Mr. Donnelly; Democrats who may have a couple of conservative positions but are not conservatives in principle.
Which brings up ObamaCare. Mr. Donnelly, along with the likes of former Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), expressed much reservation about ObamaCare during the Congressional debate. As a pro-life Democrat, Mr. Donnelly eventually supported ObamaCare after assurances from the White House that its implementation, if not actual language, would respect pro-life principles.
After Thursday's court ruling, the American people are stuck with ObamaCare and the Administration has conveniently shed its cloak of pro-life promises, not to mention it is forcing the states to comply with every aspect of its radical experiment.
Holding Attorney General Holder in contempt is a step towards uncovering the truth about Fast and Furious, but losing a fight like the battle to stop ObamaCare on the front line, in congressional debate, is a tremendous blow that was only worsened by the Supreme Court's decision.
It's time for the conservative movement to start embracing full spectrum conservatism, realizing that no individual principle of conservatism may survive alone and apart from the support of other principles. Freedom is not a matter of picking and choosing which rights are important. The 2nd Amendment is not more important than the principle of limited government, the principle of limited government is not more important than the 1st Amendment.
As long as conservatives continue to play small on single issues, they will lose ground to radical liberals who are willing to, bit-by-bit, limit freedom and curtail liberty. The Left wins when conservatives play an inside game that pits one freedom against another. It's time for that to stop.