Self-inflicted wound


No one can accuse the National Rifle Association of subtlety in defending the profits of gun manufacturers and the interests of those who want unlimited access to the deadliest weapons. Even before President Obama unveiled the most sweeping gun-reform package in a generation last week, the NRA rolled out one of the most offensive — and inane — attack ads against a sitting president ever.

Over driving music and black-and-white images, a narrator asks: “Are the President’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”

It’s a question with an illogical premise that class warfare-minded gun enthusiasts miss entirely, because they’re stewing in a pot of resentment against the President. After dragging Mr. Obama’s two daughters into a contentious national debate, the NRA insinuates that there is something un-American about their protection by the Secret Service when most American schoolchildren don’t enjoy that level of security.

“Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes, but he’s just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security,” the narrator says. The ad is startling in its contempt: If the NRA isn’t even willing to concede that the First Family faces a unique set of dangers, then its leaders are more unhinged than anyone imagined.

The final image is of Mr. Obama looming over a quartet of gun control proponents in media and politics. Their arms are folded in judgment. The image is supposed to reinforce the idea that they’re masterminding a plot to endanger America’s kids with “gun-free” zones.

With its popularity sinking in polls, the NRA unleashes over-the-top propaganda. The ad has been roundly condemned as morally and politically tone deaf.

It reveals a shocking disregard for the President’s family, and a level of desperation by the NRA that doesn’t bode well for its future on Capitol Hill.