Politicians generally come in two types: those who believe they are doing something right if they have kept all sides happy and those who believe they are doing something right if they have made all sides angry. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., seems to have found himself in the latter category on gun control. Some liberals don't think the position he supports is restrictive enough.
On the other hand, the National Rifle Association is attacking him for the effort he and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., have put forth to prevent criminals and the seriously mentally ill from buying firearms.
Back in June, of course, gun-control advocates were worried about Manchin - believing he planned to do a bait and switch by changing the proposed measure in order to make it more palatable to those who voted against it in the first go-round.
An NRA mail campaign aimed at hundreds of thousands of West Virginians complains Manchin changed his stance on background checks after the Sandy Hook massacre last year. In fact, most intelligent Americans were inspired by that tragedy to examine their own opinions and give careful thought to the potential for conflict between public safety and our Second Amendment rights.
In its letter, the NRA also highlights the argument that expanding the background check system is a gateway to a national gun registry. Manchin and Toomey, however, made sure their proposal expanded an existing ban of any such registry.
It may be months before the Senate finds itself taking another look at the proposal.
In the meantime, Toomey has not found himself in the NRA's sights, despite being an equal participant in supporting the measure. It is puzzling the gun owners advocate group is treating him differently.
Lumping Manchin into the same category as President Barack Obama, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg or Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is a dishonest cheap shot by the NRA, and leads to questions about its political motivation.