If you want a quick lesson in the futility of defensive voting by red state Democrats–you know, voting with Republicans on hot button issues like guns–check out this attack ad on Alaska Sen. Mark Begich:

YouTube video

As the New York Times‘ Ashley Parker notes in discussing this ad, Begich has actually been a conspicuously reliable vote against any sort of gun regulation. But that doesn’t matter, since he voted to confirm “anti-gun” Supreme Court nominees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. And even if he hadn’t voted for these Justices, he votes “with Obama” all the time, and we all understand Obama wakes up each morning scheming to vitiate the Second Amendment so he will not have to worry about armed patriot resistance when he snatches away America’s birthright of freedom.

Maybe Begich really does favor unlimited gun rights, or maybe he views that as a particularly important “value” of his constituents. But no one should be under any illusion that defensive voting on individual issues will provide any significant political protection these days.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.