The NRA has won the battle but lost the war. The best thing that happened to gun control is its defeat in Congress. Today's losers (Obama, Democrats, the 90 percent of Americans who support sane legislation) will be tomorrow's winners. Today's winners (NRA and its corporate backers and Republican puppets) will be tomorrow's losers.
It's Biblical: "The last shall be first, and the first last." Here's why and how:
Losers: The NRA. Heady with victory, no doubt Wayne LaPierre and his colleagues were belly-laughing, high-fiving, and guzzling down bottles of Dom Perignon to celebrate. After all, they showed the President of the United States who's boss — or so they think. Surely, for a "job well done," LaPierre will ask for — and receive — a raise on his $1 million salary.
If the NRA had the smarts to think strategically, it would have thrown its critics a bone and supported background checks; after all, on that issue the proposed bill was just an expansion of existing law. That way, it would have appeared rational and disarmed many of its fiercest critics — at least temporarily.
Instead, drunk with power, the NRA stupidly opposed any and all restrictions on gun sales — and violated the first lesson of "war": Don't humiliate your defeated enemy. Thinking/knowing that it "owns" Congress, it wouldn't give an inch. By its hubris and intransigence, it has inflamed its opposition.
So, the next time there is a murderous rampage the NRA will be blamed. And the backlash against it will be unrelenting, fierce — and successful. Congress will cave in to overwhelming public pressure, and we'll finally get sweeping gun-control legislation, beyond anything that might have passed recently.
Losers: Congress. A pox on both their houses with the lion's share going to the tea party/GOP! The country has gotten used to the seamy way(s) in which legislation is passed — or blocked. But it has never taken place in an emotional cauldron, against the backdrop of the murder of innocent children. It's one thing for elected officials to oppose Obamacare at some town hall, quite another to be shown to be bought and sold by corporate moneyed interests like those backing the NRA — when the memory of the deaths at Sandy Hook Elementary is still fresh. Members of Congress who have sold out the public will pay the ultimate price when voters get even in 2014.
Losers: Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Republicans in general. According to one poll, 94 percent of Floridians support universal background checks. Could Sen. Marco Rubio, the tea party/GOP perceived all-around savior and front-runner for president be in political trouble because he voted against recent gun control legislation?. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns has already run ads against him in Orlando and Tampa. Joining Rubio on the endangered candidates list, Sen. Rand Paul can kiss his White House aspirations good-bye. Intending only to take a swipe at Obama, he of the loose tongue referred to the families of the Sandy Hook killings who lobbied Congress as presidential "props." But it boomeranged: His insult to those grieving parents and every American empathizing with them won't be forgotten.
Winners: President Obama and Democrats. Gun-control will be a defining issue in the 2014 election: Democrats may retake the House of Representatives and get a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate by targeting anyone who voted or opposed new gun-control legislation, especially if another crazy goes on a mass murderous spree.
Winners: Women. Ultimately, mothers will carry the day in getting sweeping gun-control legislation. The anti-gun-control coalition has forgotten that "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Sen. Dianne Feinstein, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the mothers of children slain at Sandy Hook Elementary, and almost every mother in America will be on the warpath until Congress passes meaningful legislation.
Winners: The 90 percent. The 90 percent of the American public that supports gun-control will have the last laugh. That's 43 percent more than Mitt Romney trashed — and look what happened to him.
Soon enough NRA will stand for Not Relevant in America. And a whole different crew will be popping open the Dom.
Contact Stephen Goldstein on Twitter@drslgoldstein or by email at email@example.com