Who’s Distracting Attention From His Record Now?

In an earlier post today, I discussed at some length the anger of Republicans over Barack Obama’s efforts to “distract” voters from his record and suggest they take a long look at what life under a Romney administration might look like.

This afternoon, though, it was Mitt Romney playing the distraction game in a speech to the National Rifle Association.

Mitt, you see, has rather a poor relationship with the gun lobby, having signed a couple of bills as governor of Massachusetts they really, really didn’t like, while refusing until he started running for president to give them toadying fealty to which they feel entitled from GOP pols. He also can’t boast of much of a repertoire of hunting and fishing stories, since he’s only recently taken up the hobby of slaying game. I’d be willing to bet he doesn’t even own one of those big Second Amendment belt buckles with a fierce, gun-wielding eagle on it.

I’m sure Romney would have been happy to regale the NRA crowd with lurid reminders of the Obama administration’s relentless efforts to restrict gun rights–except they don’t actually exist, unless you buy the right-wing conspiracy theory that the botched “Fast and Furious” operation was some devious effort to set the stage for more regulation of gun dealers.

So instead Mitt did some intensive fear-mongering about what Barack Obama, released from the political constraints of re-election, might do to express his hatred of freedom:

Romney further pressed his vision of the fall election as a defining choice between two different destinies, and accused the Obama administration of curtailing Americans’ personal, religious and economic freedoms. He referred to the NRA as a single-issue group — that issue being freedom.

Eighteen minutes into his speech, Romney pivoted to Second Amendment issues, pledging to stand up for the rights of hunters, sportsman and other gun owners, and accusing the president of failing to do so.

It’s unclear to me why it’s okay for Romney to posit the election as “a defining choice between two different destinies,” with special attention to the potential impact on the shape of the Supreme Court, but if Obama does the same thing, it’s an outrage.

Let’s have some of the same sauce for geese and ganders, please.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.