Dear Representative Heck:
If you ever saw Yankee Doodle Dandy, the World War II-era biography of George M. Cohan, you may recall scenes in which Cohan says, “My mother thanks you, my father thanks you, my sister thanks you, and, most of all, I thank you.”
Well, the Democratic Party thanks you, advocates of reasoned gun control thank you, advertising consultants thank you, and I thank you.
Heck recently appeared on KDWN, on a talk show hosted by Alan Stock, who resides well to the political right. In other words, friendly territory.
Stock started a question about “a gun grab out of D.C. by some of your colleagues from the other side of the aisle,” launched into an attack on President Obama’s State of the Union Address, including what he called Obama’s “nauseating” references to Gabrielle Giffords, the former representative who barely survived a bullet to the brain during a mass shooting in Tucson and now suffers from several disabilities. Stock said she “can’t even clap her hands” and it “is just a shameful act, putting her up there as a prop.”
At the end of Stock’s comments, Heck said, “I agree.”
With what? Heck’s spokesman, Greg Lemon, told the Las Vegas Sun that the congressman agreed with Stock’s complaint about a gun grab and proposed bills that would reduce Second Amendment rights. That is, what Stock had said about 30 seconds ago. After saying, “I agree,” Heck talked about the emotions over the massacre of 20 children and six adults in Newton, Conn. And his spokesman noted that Heck “is a facts and figures guy.”
Now, we could spend time on facts and figures showing that no hunter needs to be able to fire off so many rounds so quickly unless the deer he’s shooting at needs to be obliterated or is shooting back. But, instead, let’s consider a few points.
• Heck could have begun by saying, “You’re right about the gun grab,” and gone from there. He didn’t. That means that either he really agreed with Stock about using Giffords as a prop, which is inhumane and reprehensible; he wasn’t listening to anything Stock said, which is dumb; or he didn’t realize that what he said could be read as inhumane, reprehensible and/or dumb, which is even dumber.
• If Democrats aren’t doing a “Gangnam Style” dance over this, they should be. They have just been handed what will be one of the most devastating campaign ads of 2014.
• Heck is in a swing district that he barely won in 2010 and then won in 2012 against John Oceguera, who for a variety of reasons wasn’t the best possible candidate to run against him. The swing voters he needs in 2014 aren’t the kind of people who like to hear someone agree with calling a woman a “prop” who was shot through the brain with a bullet from a 9 mm Glock semi-automatic by a man with mental and substance abuse problems.
• Heck has tap-danced long enough. In 2004, he won his first election to the state senate
against Ann O’Connell, who had been in that office for nearly two decades. He won the GOP primary by attacking O’Connell for being pro-taxes because she had supported Gov. Kenny Guinn’s attempt at the 2003 legislature to bring Nevada kicking and screaming into the nineteenth century by raising some taxes. That was one of the view votes she ever cast for a tax hike, and Heck used it. Now he wants to claim moderation because, in the wake of his comments on Stock’s show, he is for background checks?
Sorry, but too late. He did a heckuvajob, though.