An ominous sign for Democrats: the National Rifle Association, which has long enjoyed a solid relationship with Majority Leader Harry Reid, put out word this afternoon that it would not be endorsing Reid's re-election campaign. That puts to rest conspiracy theories that the NRA had made some sort of deal with Reid over the Elena Kagan nomination. Conservatives were suspicious that the NRA did not come out against Kagan before her confirmation vote. The NRA, in a statement today, says it was quiet "out of respect for the confirmation process":
The vote on Elena Kagan's confirmation to the Court, along with the previous year's confirmation vote on Sonia Sotomayor, are critical for the future of the Second Amendment. After careful consideration, the NRA-PVF announced today that it will not be endorsing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for re-election in the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Nevada.
In deciding not to back Reid, the NRA is betting that Reid will not be majority leader if he's re-elected, or that he won't be re-elected.
This isn't that risky. Though the NRA does endorse Democrats these days, it doesn't endorse many of them. And with a Republican-controlled House, the chances of any gun control legislation moving through Congress are nill. So the NRA has really nothing to lose.
Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.