Congressional Insiders Agree: NRA is All-Powerful
Here is one thing Democrats and Republicans in National Journal's latest Congressional Insiders poll agree on: the National Rifle Association has an iron-clad grip on Congress when it comes to gun-control issues.
In the wake of the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that sway is one of the main reasons few expect Congress to begin a serious discussion of overhauling the nation's gun laws.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no influence and 10 being extremely influential, only a single lawmaker gave the NRA below a 7. The average score that Republicans gave was a 9; the Democratic average was 8.87.
On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being no influence and 10 being extremely influential), how much influence does the National Rifle Association have on the gun-control debate in Congress?
One Democrat gave the group a 10, but only "because -- unlike the amp in 'Spinal Tap,' this one doesn't go to 11," the lawmaker said.
"It is Darth Vader and Jack-the-Ripper rolled into one," said another Democrat.
Two Democrats said the NRA "owns" Congress. One said the group only "owns" the Republican Party.
Republicans agreed on the strength of the gun-lobby group, but in generally more glowing terms. "The NRA has influence because the majority of Americans agree with their principles," said one Republican.
"The NRA is the best single-issue lobby in politics, bar none," said another.
"Few if any advocacy groups are in the same league as the NRA," said a third Republican. "They are well funded, they have a committed and active grass roots network, and members both fear and respect them as a political force."