We asked one of them — Richard Archie, the association’s West Tennessee director — to explain his presence at the Beat Lamar meeting when Alexander had voted so many times for expanding gun rights, and Archie immediately went off on the senator for having the audacity to buck the NRA even a single time.
“He’s the only the Republican senator in the United States to vote against handgun carrying by permit holders in national parks. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe voted for that, and Lamar voted against it. That means he’s way out on the left side,” Archie said.
Archie isn’t happy because Alexander also voted to allow the Senate to debate those modest gun control measures after Newtown. In Archie’s mind, it was wrong to debate at all, and Alexander’s eventual vote against those proposals only showed his political cowardice.
“He voted to debate it,” Archie said. “I talked to his office and they said, ‘Well, we need to have a debate about the Second Amendment.’ And I said, ‘Well, I thought we had that debate back in the 1700s.’ He did eventually vote against that. I guess somebody called him up and said, ‘Hey, you do realize you got an election coming up,’ and so he did back off.”
This is what Alexander’s up against in next year’s primary. Tea partiers are determined to oust the senator for the slightest divergence from their dogma. On top of that, he wears little round, wire-rimmed spectacles and drives an electric car.
It makes you wonder why Alexander's running TV ads to try to explain himself to them. He’s wasting his money. So what if he’s dead set against Obamacare? He isn’t supporting Ted Cruz’s crazy crusade to shut down the government over it, and that’s all the tea party needs to know.
Feeling bad for Lamar? Wipe away those tears. Remember that along with the rest of the GOP establishment he cuddled up with these chuckleheads, tolerating and even encouraging their excesses when they were serving his purposes. Now he’s paying the price.