I know CNN is the home of “fake news” and the rest of that nonsense. Still, even a blind squirrel can sometimes find an acorn. They had a story yesterday about the struggle of the NRA to maintain the political influence it had in 2016 in the 2020 elections. The lead for the story is the personal influence that former NRA-ILA director Chris Cox had with politicians. I mentioned the same thing in my post about Jason Ouimet being appointed the interim head of ILA.
From the CNN story:
The NRA accused Chris Cox — the man who had controlled the organization’s lobbying and political activities for more than 15 years — of trying to overthrow Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre, according to a lawsuit filed last month.
Cox denied the charge to The New York Times, but quickly resigned. His unceremonious sacking stunned NRA board members, who saw Cox as a potential successor to LaPierre, and infuriated political staffers. Some started packing up their desks, unsure of whether they would be ousted too, multiple NRA sources said.
That’s when the Washington power brokers really started to worry. Cox’s departure, after months of turmoil at the NRA, only amplified the sense that the gun-rights group might not be the political powerhouse in 2020 that it has been for decades, including notably in 2016.
When President Donald Trump convened a meeting with bipartisan lawmakers and signaled and openness to some gun control measures in the wake of a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead, it was Cox who showed up at the White House the following evening.
Afterward, Cox tweeted that Trump didn’t want gun control. For his part, Trump tweeted: “Good (Great) meeting in the Oval Office tonight with the NRA!”
The reservoir of goodwill toward Cox ran deep on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
“Every Republican senator who matters has Chris’ cell phone number,” one GOP operative who worked closely with Cox on the political side told CNN. “And vice versa.”
The operative recounted one meeting between Cox and a senator, ostensibly about a policy issue, that instead was focused primarily on the senator’s favorite hunting grounds in his home state. Cox knew them all in advance — and had been to them himself.
Cox and his team held weekly calls with Republican committees to share tips about ongoing campaigns — calls that increased in frequency in the lead-up to key primaries and Election Day, according to former officials.
“Senators didn’t call Wayne,” the GOP operative said of LaPierre. “They called Chris.”
That’s partly because it was Cox’s job to maintain those contacts, while LaPierre oversaw the organization. Cox has moved on to launch his own Washington consulting firm. But unease over his departure — and LaPierre’s efforts to consolidate power — is fueling uncertainty about the direction of the organization overall.
Honestly, from my conversations with others, I don’t think Wayne LaPierre really understood the value of Chris to the campaign side of NRA-ILA. All he could see was a potential rival for power that had to be vanquished. As to the supposed “coup”, I think it is a figment of his imagination as it has been played upon by the NRA’s outside counsel William Brewer III. Witness the gratuitous mention of Chris in one paragraph of the NRA’s lawsuit against Ollie North.
I am going to repeat what I wrote at the beginning of the month: Wayne LaPierre’s legacy will be as the guy who caused us to lose gun rights in order to preserve his perks if the Republicans fail to hold on to at least one House of Congress and the Presidency. His paranoia and arrogance caused him to listen to the wrong guy and we are all suffering as a result.
Adding to that statement, I would say that those NRA Board members and others who stand 100% behind Wayne will be complicit in this loss of gun rights. They will blame us, they will blame Bloomberg and Soros, they will blame anyone but themselves. The reality is that they did not want to excise what has become a cancer upon the National Rifle Association. Wayne did do good in the past but the past is past and, like with a championship football coach who no longer wins, it is time to move on.