Christopher Ruddy’s Perspective:
The late Margaret Thatcher was known to inquire of her colleagues about a person she didn’t know, asking, “Is he one of us?”
One person who gets an affirmative answer to that question is Maine Sen. Susan Collins.
Collins is a Republican who comes from one of the most bluest of blue states. I am all in favor of giving her some leeway when it comes to issues she thinks serves her state well.
Not everyone agrees with me.
For example, a gun rights organization not affiliated with the NRA has just released a video attacking Collins for her position on what the group calls “Obama’s gun control schemes.”
It is an attack that is grossly unfair.
The video, uploaded to YouTube by the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), charges that “Collins is joining Democrats to herd more gun owners into the NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) registration system and to let Washington bureaucrats strip gun rights from veterans and other Americans without trial if they seek mental health counseling.”
But Sen. Collins’ support of the Manchin-Toomey bill, which recently failed to pass the filibuster in the Senate, went no further than backing an expansion of background checks for gun purchasers at gun shows and online, and did not include support for a national firearms registry.
The senator said in a statement: “It was critical to my support that the Manchin-Toomey bill explicitly bans the federal government from creating a national firearms registry and imposes serious criminal penalties on any person who misuses or illegally retains firearms records.”
The fact is, Sen. Collins believes in the Second Amendment. She has earned a solid B-plus rating from the National Rifle Association.
She has also opposed some of the lunacy being pushed by the Democrats. For example, she voted to support legislation in 2007 prohibiting foreign and U.N. aid that restricts U.S. gun ownership. President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry recently indicated the U.S. would back such U.N. efforts.
On another key issue important to the NRA, Collins voted to support legislation in 2005 prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers. In 1998, she also supported a law allowing the sale of guns without trigger locks.
Again, in 1999 she opposed a bill requiring background checks at gun shows.
The NAGR ad also charges that “Susan Collins doesn’t sound like a Mainer or a Republican.”
Her constituents in Maine would disagree. In 2008, when Barack Obama won the presidential race in the state with more than 57 percent of the vote, Sen. Collins was re-elected with 61.5 percent — a larger percentage than she received in 2002 or 1996.
As for the allegation that she doesn’t “sound like” a Republican, it should be noted that Collins voted against Obamacare, voted in favor of the Bush-era tax cuts and their extension, supported the Iraq War Resolution authorizing President Bush to attack Iraq, and received a 0 percent rating from SANE (National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy), indicating a pro-military voting record.
On fiscal policy, she is a conservative, supporting the idea of a balanced budget constitutional amendment and enforcing existing spending caps in the future.
The NAGR attack is not only unfair, it could prove costly to the GOP.
Collins said at a closed-door luncheon for Senate Republicans that the videos slamming her and several other legislators “were an example of the kind of internal Republican warfare that has hindered the party in Senate races the last two elections,” according to The New York Times.
She is right.
Last year, the GOP was within a hair’s breadth in gaining control of the U.S. Senate, but they blew it by putting forward candidates out of sync with mainstream voters.
Republicans could easily make the same mistake in 2014 if some elements within the party unfairly target highly qualified candidates like Susan Collins.
Christopher Ruddy is CEO and editor of Newsmax Media Inc. Read more Christopher Ruddy Insider articles — Click Here Now.
© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.