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PA-Sen: Can Toomey Defy His Base on Guns?

ToomeyIt’s tough being a statewide politician in a swing state.

Other officials know they have to appeal either to their base or voters from outside their party in order to be elected. Yet those in statewide offices in purple states have to deal with both.

This dynamic leaves Senator Pat Toomey in a major conundrum when it comes to guns. The commonwealth’s junior Senator has taken a number of measures that his Republican colleagues have been reluctant to support but it’s clear he is still nervous about how his base feels.

On Friday 1210 WPHT’s Chris Stigall, a conservative talk radio show host who frequently has Sen. Toomey as a guest, commented on this delicate balance.

“And so understand, he’s not doing it for you and me. This is what I talk about all the time,” Stigall explains. “There’s two Pat Toomeys and he is a magnificent politician. And I am not excusing or defending him, I’m just explaining it’s key to know. He is a masterful politician. When he comes on show like this, when he’s in front of NRA groups, when he’s in front of conservative groups — because I’ve seen it with my own eyes, I’ve heard it, I’ve heard it here, you’ve heard here — the man can sound every bit as conservative as Ted Cruz when he wants.”

“But he believes there’s a path to victory that is necessary, that necessitates him kissing up to people like Whoopi Goldberg and Raven Symone and others, because he thinks that’s what’s going to tip the scales in his favor and give him the slight edge,” Stigall continued. “This is where reasonable Pat Toomey comes in, because you see he’s doing this now for the Philadelphia media market.”

Stigall then pointed to Helen Ubinas’ story about buying an AR-15 in seven minutes that was published by the Philadelphia Daily News last week as an example.

“Okay, so people like Toomey are reading this and seeing this,” he states. “They’re running in a tight race in a moderate — particularly in a moderate area like the collar counties of Pennsylvania — and they assess the Helen Ubinas’s, the media types that are doing these stories, will like him. He will seem reasonable. And they won’t pick on him as much. They’ll even maybe write editorials, and watch for them. Watch for the today, maybe over the weekend. I bet you’ll hear some liberal enclaves write and say things like, ‘you know in a sea of all this bitter clinging gun redneck wacko madness in the Republican Party, there is but one bright light. And that is the reasonable moderate Republican Senator Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania.’”

“Watch for it. Toomey will be rewarded somewhere, in some liberal outfit for being a reasonable Republican. And that’s understandable,” Stigall concluded. “Politically now, that’s why he needs and that’s what he’s calculated he needs to have to win against Katie McGinty. You follow me here? This is  — we’re talking about two different things. There’s the Pat Toomey and what he believes, and I don’t actually think he believes any thing about — in fact I have proof he doesn’t believe that this law’s going to do anything. I have proof of it. It happened on this show two years ago. He doesn’t believe what he’s selling. He needs to coverage that he’s the reasonable one, not the gun nut like the rest of you wackos Republicans.”

Stigall’s comments would suggest the conservative base understands Toomey’s actions, unless the radio host feels he has to explain Toomey’s strategy to the base. The difference between those two possibilities could mean everything as the GOP Senator fights to fend off Democratic nominee Katie McGinty in November.

14 Responses

  1. Toomey co-sponsored a fairly meaningless gun control bill knowing that it would fail so the Republicans had something to vote for and claim they are willing to deny guns to terrorists. Of course, the NRA and their lackeys are going to attack him in public to keep up the pretense, but they’ll put their money behind him — through super PACs or other organizations where it won’t be traced, like hiding money in offshore tax havens.

  2. I don’t like McGinty, I voted for her opposition. But, I can’t vote for the gutless NRA money puppet.
    While the overwheming majority of both Pennsyvanian and the United States, gun owners and non-gunowners alike, favor requiring firearm purchasers to register, prohibition of sales to those who are on the no-fly lists, or those who are deemed incapable of making a rash decision on using a firearm, Mr. Toomey went where the NRA money is instead of showing concern for the voters.

    Nobody has enough money to entice me to vote for this worm.

  3. Toomey made a gun proposal so he could say he wants some gun control, and then meanwhile, he could vote against reasonable proposals from the Democrats. He likes saying he is bi-partisan while he is as right wing as any of the rest of the conservative Republicans around. He tries manipulating his words to hide his actions.

  4. SGT H-

    Does the “H” stand for Hyperbole or High-capacity-magazines?

    1) The constitution clearly refers to gun ownership in the formation of militias, not individuals.

    2) The “rights” are not so absolute that they cannot be regulated. Cannons, bazookas and atomic bombs are also “arms”, but individuals don’t have right to walk into K-Mart and buy those either.

    3) If you want to “protect the constitution, then restrict arms sales/manufacture to muskets for individuals.

    4) There is NO LEGITIMATE reason for ordinary citizens to have assault rifles, and I’ve yet to hear any pro-gun nuts offer up any suggestion.

  5. Vote to save Lives .. ALL LIVES matter -People lives matter! Vote yes to save lives. Vote for better background checks . Vote yes for NO Fly NO BUY. Your constituents ARE NOT THE NRA its the average American. Shame on you Tooney if you don’t understand the importance of saving lives.But we will remember in November.

  6. It is time to stop playing politics and do the honorable thing. No reasonable
    person can in good conscience
    believe that it is safe for the American people and particularly our children to allow non active military to own or purchase assault weapons.To me any weapon that can kill a group of innocent people stuck in a fishbowl for ex.a school,club or mall is a weapon of mass destruction.
    Vote for gun regulation.

  7. Pennsylvania had a politician that betrayed law-abiding gun owners before. His name was Arlen Specter. Mr. Toomey seems to be quite eager to follow in his steps and be removed from office by a majority of the electorate that understands that the debate is not about more useless feel-good (but ultimately useless) gun control but everything about radical Islamic terrorists. As a former US Army soldier, I took an oath to protect the constitution. Mr. Toomey took a similar oath. Its a shame that it means nothing to him if it will keep him in office.

  8. OldTimer-

    Anything short of a complete assault weapons ban is irresponsible. Toomey may be a political hack, but even he knows there is no legitimate reason for ordinary citizens to have access to these kinds of weapons.

    How many people have to die before legislators stand up to the NRA for common sense?

  9. Dear senator Toomey,
    If you don’t vote for gun control, I’ll not vote for you again. I’m watching.

  10. @David Diano Actually, Toomey introduced gun legislation that has conservatives, even PA Party members, upset. I hear the complaints all of the time. So it is not a matter of him verbally saying he supports XYZ gun legislation, but rather a matter of him introducing anti-gun legislation. I understand how politics works, but he definitely has a problem with pro-gun members of the PA Republican Party. And by members of the PA Republican Party, I mean those who are elected to the Republican State Committee and who actively help elect Republicans state-wide. Worse, I also do not think that his campaign realizes how big of a problem they have.

  11. It makes sense – what are they going to do? Vote for McGinty? If he walks a cautious line on gun control, sticking to positions on things like supporting universal background checks that are even supported by a supermajority of the NRA rank and file (as opposed to the conspiracy mongering nutters at the top), he can probably thumb his nose at some of the far right orthodoxy while perhaps picking up enough moderate Rs who’ve never handled a gun in their lives to make the difference.

  12. Toomey will offer verbal support on gun control, then vote the opposite, and continue to talk out of both sides of his mouth.

    If he actually supports real gun control, that neutralizes the issue a bit. The gun advocates aren’t going to do better than a NRA toady like him, and the moderate voters might get tricked that Toomey can be reasonable.

    What is a shame is that people are being killed by these unnecessary assault weapons and Toomey doesn’t give two sh*ts about them or the next round of victims.

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