Both the state and federal battle over proposed gun control bills will have a deep impact on the 2014 election. You can’t have this much emotion and controversy wrapped in an issue and simply see it go away when tensions get high during an election season.
And while comments and votes from elected leaders from both sides of the aisle will be featured in election ads, Rep. Diana DeGette assured herself prime exposure with her comments this week.
While she has publicly said that the criticisms of her comments are simply gun lobby tactics and distortions of what she actually said, unfortunately for Rep. DeGette, her comments need no distortion to sound foolish.
If you missed it, the short version of the story is that during a Denver Post forum on gun control, Rep. DeGette inaccurately said that magazines cannot be re-filled and after the event, her press secretary asserted that she misspoke and meant to say clips cannot be re-filled. Sadly for DeGette, both magazines and clips can be re-filled.
Now if DeGette was being grilled on details of weapon technology while running in between committee meetings and had nothing to do with major gun control legislation, then this may very well be an example of a gotcha moment and gun lobby tactics.
However, Rep. DeGette has sponsored a high capacity magazine bill in Congress for years and has voluntarily put herself out there as a vocal advocate for gun control.
That puts the responsibility for her comments squarely on her shoulders.
Now that the comments are viral the big question is what will these comments mean next year when candidates running in races throughout the nation feature the comments in ads incessantly?
Fair or not, Rep. DeGette’s misstep will not be forgotten mainly because the same gun lobby she accuses of spreading half truths will use her own words against her fellow Democrats everywhere they face a tight battle in districts that have mostly moderate views on guns.
Whether they actually know Rep. DeGette or not, every Democrat running in rural districts that may have problems with some of the proposed gun legislation will appear to be connected directly to her.
The variable at play here is how independent voters will respond to the recent run of gun control proposals in Colorado and on the federal level. Gun control opponents would like to believe that these proposals represent serious overreach. And to many Republican voters, they may very well be right. However, how do the same bills play among unaffiliated voters?
That’s the $64,000 question.
If polls show that unaffiliated voters are even a little bit conservative on gun issues in 2014, we will see and hear Rep. DeGette’s comments ad nauseum during the election season.
That might feel unfair to both Rep. DeGette and those that support her point of view. But the reality is that Democrats would do the very same if a high profile Republican flubbed in a very similar way. And everyone involved knows that is true, whether they want to admit it or not.
All is fair in love, war and politics. And Rep. DeGette is about to find out how fair it can be.
About The Blogger
– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces and hosts the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.