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