No one should be surprised, or even disappointed, that Ted Strickland has changed his position on the right to keep and bear arms.
Two weeks ago, Strickland quietly began the transition (HT Washington Free Beacon):
Strickland says he supports the same thing as Democrats already in the Senate: a law to expand background checks to people buying guns from private sellers at gun shows and on the Internet, and a requirement to stop people on the terrorist watch list from buying firearms legally.
That means he has changed his mind.
The former Ohio governor had NRA ratings of A or A+ for years. He voted against the assault-weapons ban when he served in the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1990s.
When did he change his position, and why?
Strickland has not addressed that in any level of detail.
A story today at the Columbus Dispatch has finally made it explicit:
Strickland switches on gun rights
… Fast-forward to today, and the same Ted Strickland, who faces a contested U.S. Senate Democratic primary race in March against Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, has become an advocate of the type of gun restrictions he once opposed.
It is one of the most-dramatic reversals in Ohio politics since 1990, when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony J. Celebrezze jettisoned his lifelong opposition to abortion rights, a move that hurt him in the general election when he lost to Republican George V. Voinovich.
And even as Strickland’s aides insist that he became an advocate of new gun restrictions in the wake of the shooting deaths of 20 children and six adults in 2012 at a Connecticut elementary school, some analysts suggest the former governor realizes that opposition to gun restrictions could hurt him among Democratic primary voters who tend to back tougher gun laws.
Let’s recap the history:
- Ted Strickland began his years-long efforts at becoming a Congressman in the 1980s as a staunch gun-control advocate.
- He changed his public stance when he realized he could never win otherwise in relatively conservative Southeastern Ohio.
- He barely won election to Congress in 1992 because voters were turned off by the House Bank-related corruption of incumbent Republican Bob McEwen.
- As a congressperson, he consistently voted to support Second Amendment rights — but I challenge anyone to show me where Strickland’s vote alone was the difference between gun-related legislation passing or failing.
- Along the way, organizations which should know better looked only at Strickland’s votes while ignoring the rabid anti-Second Amendment politicians he reliably endorsed for almost two decades. He even went on a staged hunting trip with Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (NRA grade – “F”) in 2004.
Strickland reached the point of no return in 2008 when he endorsed Barack Obama for President; yet the NRA and other gun-rights organizations continued to support him. Less than two years later, Barack Obama, who as a candidate lied when he said that he couldn’t and wouldn’t do such things, began using executive actions to curb the Constitution’s plainly stated right to keep and bear arms.
As I wrote just before the 2010 elections:
Ohio’s Democratic Governor Ted Strickland is running for reelection. He claims to be a staunch supporter of the right to keep and bear arms. He can correctly claim to have a strong record in this area when he was a congressman, and to have taken several actions as governor that are consistent with that alleged belief. But … that’s irrelevant, because Ted Strickland supported Barack Obama for president in 2008, and has not backed away.
While Obama remains president and Democrats retain control of the Senate, we are one deadly Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia, or Kennedy heart attack away from losing the Second Amendment. Any conceivable doubt that this is the case disappeared when Obama-nominated Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, contradicting her confirmation hearing testimony, voted with the minority in the recent 5-4 McDonald decision. Thus, no one, including Ted Strickland, can claim to be pro-Second Amendment and continue to support Barack Obama. Sadly, organizations like the NRA and Ohio’s Buckeye Firearms Association, who have both endorsed Strickland over Republican gubernatorial candidate John Kasich, don’t understand that.
The NRA and the Buckeye Firearms Association still endorsed Strickland over incumbent Governor John Kasich in 2010. If Kasich’s assault-weapons vote in the 1990s was really a deal-killer, the groups should have not have endorsed anyone.
Ted Strickland’s long-running gun-rights advocacy was never a sincerely held position. It was a position of convenience which got him into Congress and shielded him from some of Ohio voters’ wrath while he ran for and acted as governor.
But now, Ted has found that publicly supporting the Second Amendment is no longer convenient. In fact, with far-left Democratic primary voters, it could be somewhat problematic.
So Strickland has “changed his mind.”
No one looking at the history objectively can possibly believe that Ted Strickland has ever been sincere in his support for the right to keep and bear arms.