- - Thursday, July 10, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Piers Morgan is the clueless Englishman who was bounced from CNN earlier this year because nobody listened to him rail against legal guns on his “Piers Morgan Live.” CNN is about to double down on a programming disaster.

John Walsh, the onetime host of “America’s Most Wanted,” assumes the Guns Are Awful Chair at the network with “The Hunt,” which premieres Sunday. The Hollywood trade website “The Wrap” recounts how Mr. Walsh set the tone at an event meant to promote his latest gig.

“Everyone of us have a GPS chip in our cellphones,” said Mr. Walsh. “It’s not Big Brother to put those GPS chips in that AK-47.” He ticked off the usual liberal talking points about how “15 other First World countries” have various gun-control restrictions, so the United States should become more like England and France, perhaps with warm beer and 246 different cheeses.

In his rant, Mr. Walsh told of a private conversation with Joe Biden, President Obama’s point man on gun control. He asked the Veep whether he thinks the United States has no draconian gun-control laws because the politicians are cowering in fear of the National Rifle Association. Mr. Walsh says the Veep replied: “John, every one of them [is afraid] because the NRA will run a Tea Bagger against you and … they’ll put 5 million bucks against you and run a Tea Party candidate and knock you out.”

In Mr. Biden’s world, liberals march in lockstep on a dozen or more issues, so he can be forgiven for not comprehending folks who don’t. The Tea Party and the NRA share a few common interests, but they hardly make up a monolithic force. The Tea Party is a fractured assembly of limited-government advocates, some more persuasive than others, with no central organization.

The NRA certainly isn’t telling Tea Partiers what to do (or if it does, the Tea Partiers aren’t listening). In this spring’s primaries, the NRA backed establishment candidates such as Sens. Mitch McConnell, Thad Cochran, Lamar Alexander and Pat Roberts over Tea Party challengers. Tea Partiers in Idaho were furious that the NRA sided with Rep. Mike Simpson, who beat back his primary rival in May.

As a one-issue organization, the NRA will endorse a big-spending liberal Democrat as long as he has a voting record displaying a commitment to the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Because a reliable voting record holds greater weight than campaign promises, incumbents get a natural edge in endorsements, which have limited value.

The power of the NRA doesn’t come from “5 million bucks” but from having 5 million members who are factory managers, cops, firemen and veterans who are Republicans, Democrats and independents who share the view that the Second Amendment is worth defending.

Most of the public thinks this way, too, and wants to be informed and entertained, not to sit still for propaganda. Mr. Walsh should reconsider his marketing strategy before his new show goes the way of Piers Morgan.

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