John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are close friends, but their bond may have to be reevaluated after the Arizona senator's repeated digs at the former New York City mayor at the National Rifle Association convention this morning.
This is a sophisticated crowd. You know politics, and you know politicians. You are pretty used to hearing aspirants for public office come before you and pledge fealty to the cause of the Second Amendment. You know you need to dig into a politician's record to find out where they really stand. You know some will change their position or have little record for you to judge. That is not the case with me.
When I first ran for Congress in 1982, I was proud to have the support of gun owners and the National Rifle Association. For more than two decades, I've opposed the efforts of the anti-gun crowd to ban guns, ban ammunition, ban magazines, and paint gun owners as some kind of fringe group, dangerous in "modern" America. Some even call you "extremists."
I also opposed efforts to cripple our firearms manufacturers by making them liable for the acts of violent criminals. This was a particularly devious effort to use lawsuits to bankrupt our great gun manufacturers. A number of big-city mayors decided it was more important to blame the manufacturers of a legal product than it was to control crime in their own cities. Fortunately, we are able to protect manufacturers from these frivolous lawsuits.
Actually, those don't seem all that inflammatory.
Incidentally, McCain's best moment this morning had nothing to do with guns, per the Chicago Tribune.
As the protesters left the room, McCain leaned into the microphone for the most emphatic thing he said all morning.
"Well, my friends, we beat you yesterday," he said. "We'll beat you today . . . And we'll beat you tomorrow!"
The crowd rose in an enthusiastic standing ovation, setting aside for the moment any past differences they may be holding against McCain. Some of them dislike his support for campaign finance reform and to standardize the sale of weapons at gun shows, but they largely agree with him on Iraq.