Here are my thoughts on the matter, cross posted over in a thread in the Hot Topics forum:
The NRA Debacle
I have to admit, this has been a struggle for me. I am far from a shill for the NRA, and I even wrote them a very blunt letter a few weeks ago all but promising that my renewal was on hold until they decided on their much publicized possibility of a Reid endorsement.
After some thought, I think our "problem" is that we have had the luxury in the past of having candidates for whom the NRA endorsement tended to correlate very highly with our other values of interest. It used to be that the NRA endorsement would also indicate that the candidates' other social, economic and moral values tended to match our own.
In more recent times, and in what one must view as a very good development, holders of pro-gun views have expanded to include candidates that may not necessarily match our other values so closely!
The NRA has always claimed to be a one-issue organization. And yes, they also tend to look out for themselves (DISCLOSE Act), but what competent organization doesn't? If the NRA were to suddenly start to advocate for other social or economic issues, they would undoubtedly lose support from some members, and their core message would be diluted.
Thank goodness, the Senate had to vote on the recent SCOTUS appointments. That gave the NRA a valid excuse to not endorse Reid and the other lock-step Democrat Senators. With the House of Representatives, even though the same thing happens with the Leadership, the party-line votes are not as well publicized, so it's harder to give a concrete reason to withhold endorsement, especially in violation of a well-known incumbent-support criteria that has been in place for years.
Like it or not, pro-gun Democrats have saved the country from the full anti-gun wrath of President Obama and his Justice Department. If the NRA were to throw those Democrats under the bus, there would be no benefit for future Democrats to even consider a pro-gun position. And that would be a disaster.
The learning curve is on us, to evaluate candidates beyond the NRA endorsement, or lack thereof. Despite our collective passion, I suspect very few of us are truly one-issue voters. We've always had to pick candidates based on their total package. We're discovering that the NRA endorsement may not be the broad indicator that it once was.
I think it's so important, I'll say it again: It is a huge testament to the advance of the pro-gun agenda that we have NRA-endorsed candidates with such diverse views on other issues. As hard as it is to digest, this is the best thing that could happen.
The NRA Debacle, Part II
In an election where the Democratic candidates are running as hard and fast as they can away from the current administration, my premise that the NRA-endorsements have typically indicated the more conservative candidate is well supported by the great pride these Democrats are taking in trumpeting these decisions. Harry Reid is all but shouting that the NRA even considered endorsing him.
The job we (and perhaps the NRA) have to do is to make a concerted effort to educate the voters that the NRA is indeed a one-issue organization, and that candidates have a plate full of positions, which must be thoroughly evaluated before casting that vote.
In fact, it would be a great PR campaign for the NRA to make a big deal out of this... the very fact that their one issue is ever increasingly crossing social and economic boundaries is a testament to the success of their work.