An endorsement bonanza for McCain-Palin

Promoted from diaries. I’d also like to note something that Geraghty did: no Republican candidate since 1980 has won the Presidency without the endorsement of the NRA. True, there were only two (Bush in ’92; Dole in ’96), but it was still a necessary hurdle for McCain to cross. – Moe Lane

Today the McCain-Palin team raked in a bonanza of endorsements. According to conventional wisdom endorsements don’t matter that much in politics, but at least one of the multiple nods announced over the past two days for the GOP’s ticket could make a big difference. NRA-PVF, the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund, put the gun rights organization’s stamp of approval on the Republican Party’s presidential and vice presidential candidates, and that endorsement carries a load of clout.

NRA doesn’t always made a presidential endorsement in an election year, and it has not been overly enthusiastic about McCain. Jim Geraghty explains in this post on his Campaign Spot blog hosted by National Review:

People may have expected this, but my understanding is that the NRA’s endorsement of John McCain wasn’t a guaranteed outcome, because of the NRA’s past disagreements with McCain about campaign finance reform and his support for a gun show restriction bill he cosponsored with Joe Lieberman.But beyond those two disagreements, McCain has a pretty solid pro-gun record, and Palin, of course, is famously a lifetime NRA member. Obama, of course, is basically the most anti-gun candidate to come down the street in many a year, and Biden’s no improvement in the NRA’s eyes.

Although I have no special knowledge about the inner workings of the NRA, I think Gov. Palin made the difference. She has an A+ NRA rating, is a lifetime member and has a long history of supporting its gun safety education programs.

NRA has more than four million members, but that’s only a small fraction of the estimated eighty million gun owners in the United States. Still, most gun owners should be aware of Obama’s anti-gun record. The junior senator from Illinois once told Fox’s John Lott:

“I don’t believe that people should be able to own guns.”

Though Obama has appeared to soften his anti-gun attitude for the sake of this election, I’m convinced that it’s just for political convenience. In his heart of hearts the Second Amendment that conservatives hold near sacred is just an out-of-date portion of the “living document” that liberals see when they look at the Constitution.

The big payoff from the NRA endorsement will be in the form of political advertising. So far, the organization has been sponsoring an ad campaign against Obama, but now they have a pair of candidates at the top of the ballot that they can be for. McCain, after having been deceived by Obama and deciding to accept public financing for his campaign, is at a severe cash disadvantage and should significantly benefit from the extra advertising that the NRA will provide through its PVF arm.

McCain grabbed another endorsement today which will get less media attention. Some one hundred former U.S. ambassadors are also endorsing McCain-Palin. Not that his foreign policy creds needed any further boosting, but McCain, as the underdog in this race, can use all the help he can get.

A third endorsement for the GOP ticket came today from Associated Industries of Florida. Billing itself as “The Voice of Florida Business,” AIF is a voluntary association of diversified businesses. According to its website:

AIF was created to foster an economic climate in Florida conducive to the growth, development, and welfare of industry and business and the people of the state.

Given the importance of Florida as a battleground state, Team McCain will gladly accept any endorsement it can get in the sunshine state short of convicted felons. I’m pretty sure they’re a lock for Obama anyway.

To round out the cornucopia of McCain-Palin endorsements, yesterday two Cleveland Browns players went on record for Team Maverick. QB Brady Quinn and LT Joe Thomas announced their support for McCain at a rally in Strongsville, Ohio. “And the crowd goes wild…”

Actually, it did.

– JP