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The Ayotte Delusion - Kelly Ayotte is not your typical New England Republican moderate.
National Review Online ^ | May 6, 2013 | Robert Costa

Posted on 05/06/2013 1:24:31 PM PDT by neverdem

Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire is the gun-control crowd’s latest target. At town halls last week, they tried to rattle her, and irate protesters toted signs scrawled with “Shame.” But it’s doubtful that Ayotte will suddenly buckle under pressure and support an expansion of background checks, mere weeks after voting against such legislation.

For one, Ayotte has never played the role of your typical New England Republican moderate — think Susan Collins or Scott Brown. Yes, she’s friendly with dealmakers such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham, but her alliances with them are almost entirely on national-security issues. On domestic issues, Ayotte, a former prosecutor and state attorney general, is rather conservative, with an A rating from the National Rifle Association. One of her most prominent supporters is none other than Sarah Palin.

That prosecutorial experience has buoyed her during this latest debate. Before being appointed New Hampshire attorney general, Ayotte was chief of the homicide unit in the AG’s office. Her reputation from those years, when she tenaciously went after cop killers, remains the keystone of her political persona. She often refers to that experience when speaking at political events — and she’s empathetic without getting drawn into the emotion of the issue, much in the same way she once handled tricky murder cases. When she says that improving the mental-health system will do more than heightened background checks to prevent future gun violence, people take her seriously.

Ayotte is also not the type to embrace bipartisanship for its own sake — especially on a controversial bill, such as the Toomey-Manchin effort. She’s not part of the Gang of Eight on immigration; on taxes, she toes the conservative-Republican line. If a bill isn’t strictly a fiscal reform or related to the military, it’s unlikely to draw her interest.

Her hesitation to follow in the footsteps of past Yankee moderates is driven, at least in part, by state Republican politics. Though derided these days by the Left as an unreasonable right-winger, Ayotte is actually quite sensitive about her conservative bona fides. During her first and only campaign — her 2010 Senate race — many activists worried that she’d be a unreliable establishment Republican. On guns, they liked the fact that she opposed a ban on so-called assault weapons, but wondered why, as AG, she didn’t support a “Stand Your Ground” proposal. Ever since, she has taken care to avoid the RINO label.

The MSNBC punditocracy and progressives who have parachuted into her state to complain do not seem to be voices that figure into Ayotte’s political calculus. If anything does nudge her, it’s the letters, e-mails, and phone calls from her state’s thousands of gun owners, which, I hear from sources in her camp, have been coming in in droves.

Ayotte is keenly aware, friends say, that she represents the “Live Free or Die” state, and that although the blowback against her vote has been rough — she has dropped by double digits in the polls — it would probably be even worse if she angered New Hampshire’s gun enthusiasts. Being attacked on the air is one thing; a primary challenge is another.

History is part of Ayotte’s consideration. Two decades ago, Dick Swett, a New Hampshire Democratic congressman, backed a bill to ban assault weapons. Shortly afterward, according to the New York Times, Swett started to wear a bulletproof vest because of the death threats he was getting. Two years later, he ran for the Senate and lost — and NRA members were cited as the bloc that got away. In contrast, the NRA has been airing ads this month cheering Ayotte for supporting gun rights.

The state’s most influential newspaper, the Union Leader, has defended Ayotte as she has dealt with the national (and negative) media attention. “It’s a testament to the Senate that a majority of its members, including Ayotte, did not cave to such bullying,” the editors wrote in a recent editorial. The state’s conservative leaders have also backed her. Though mostly unnoted, Republicans held up “I support Kelly” signs at the same town halls where there were people with “Shame” posters jeering her.

Ayotte, however, continues to be a figure of fascination for liberals, who can’t believe that she — with her warm personality and New England roots — could possibly be aligned with their bête noire, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre. They still hold out hope that somehow, if the clamor builds, she can be flipped. “Is it even more surprising when a woman votes against this, just from a very primal [perspective]?” asked an incredulous Donny Deutsch on MSNBC last week. Others have raised similar questions.

Yet a closer look at Ayotte’s politics show her to be much more of a conservative than most liberal commentators and their allies in the gun-control ranks realize. Her vote against background checks may have infuriated them, but it shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

— Robert Costa is National Review’s Washington editor.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections; US: District of Columbia; US: New Hampshire
KEYWORDS: ayotte; banglist; guncontrol; kellyayotte; secondamendment

1 posted on 05/06/2013 1:24:31 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: Jim Noble; mvpel; Durus; billorites; BitWielder1; woodbutcher1963; MSF BU; lucky american; ...
2 posted on 05/06/2013 1:26:59 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: neverdem

And nothing rattles the left like a Republican who won’t be rattled.

3 posted on 05/06/2013 1:28:45 PM PDT by JaguarXKE (Welcome to the new America.)
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To: neverdem
Ayotte was tenacious on Benghazi late last year. I was impressed.

Then she broke with McCain on guns. Impressed again.

4 posted on 05/06/2013 1:29:17 PM PDT by what's up
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To: neverdem

ayotte is staunchly pro-life (sba list). thus she is predictably and logically consistent in her support for the right of self-defense. being an activist against convenience abortion is almost always a pure marker for a true conservative.

on the other hand, leftists are equally consistent in their support for state sponsored murder. they are against the death penatly for killers, they are all in for killing the innocent unborn, “euthanasia” for seniors, and they are against citizen self-defense (i.e., wannabe gun grabbers).

5 posted on 05/06/2013 1:54:19 PM PDT by dadfly
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To: neverdem

A little read on what the left thought of Palin’s endorsement and how it would ruin Ayotte.

“”But did Palin just hurt Kelly Ayotte’s general election chances?

Ayotte’s stridently anti-choice record and positions have taken a back seat for much of this race. But Palin just put them front and center.

This might help Ayotte stave off Bill Binnie’s momentum for the Republican primary, but it could seriously kneecap her chances against Paul Hodes if she makes it to nominee status. And I say that leaving aside the net negative of a Palin endorsement per se among undeclared voters.

New Hampshire is a solidly pro-choice state. How solidly? In 2005, when SurveyUSA polled all fifty states on the “pro-life v. pro-choice” question, a whopping 67% of Granite Staters surveyed self-identified as “pro-choice”. Only Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont had higher percentages than that.

It’ll be interesting watching a nominee Ayotte try to thread that needle. I don’t think she can.””

6 posted on 05/06/2013 2:02:42 PM PDT by ansel12 (Sodom and Gomorrah, flush with libertarians and liberals, short on social conservatives.)
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To: what's up

She does seem too close to McCain and Graham at times and needs to keep her distance.

But she doesn’t make my very short list of political outsiders in DC.

Cruz and Paul are the only real ones there right now in the Senate.

Out of fear she joined the Second Amendment crowd in the recent vote on the Manchin-Toomey folly.

The libs are attacking her but they’ve hated moderates before from Nixon and Ford to both Bush 41 and 43.

Does that mean I have to like her? No, it doesn’t.

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To: neverdem

I thought there was NO DIFFERENCE between the parties???

8 posted on 05/06/2013 2:09:45 PM PDT by BobL (Look up "CSCOPE" if you want to see something really scary)
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To: neverdem

She’s a conservative senator in a state that’s becoming less conservative. That does not bode well for her chances in 2016.

9 posted on 05/06/2013 2:18:03 PM PDT by 0.E.O
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To: All

If she’s all good, why did she vote for cloture? She voted to debate the second amendment.

10 posted on 05/06/2013 2:46:10 PM PDT by AlmaKing
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To: neverdem

Say what you will I like Kelly Ayotte a lot. I warmed up to her after seeing what she did. And I say she is a bit more articulate then Michele Bachmann. That is not saying Michelle isn’t bad. I really like her and Ayotte is in her league. I wish her nothing but the best. Palin endorsed her in 2010 and she has proven worthy of the endorsement.

11 posted on 05/06/2013 3:26:24 PM PDT by Mozilla
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To: 0.E.O

Yet she won in 2010. How is that possible? Just trhee years ago she won. I hope she can get the help from the tea party again. Obama is going down eventually and it will hurt the DNC for sometime. This is possibly one of the better people from the Northeast in years.

12 posted on 05/06/2013 3:29:03 PM PDT by Mozilla
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To: AlmaKing

She’s like Flake: She voted for it before she voted against it. I’m pretty steamed at Flake for that, so I’m steamed at her, too. If she didn’t like the bill, she should not have voted for the Motion to Proceed.

13 posted on 05/06/2013 3:34:04 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (I am a dissident. Will you join me? My name is John....)
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To: Nextrush

Yeah, but no more closer than Palin in 2008. But being close to McCain is why I had some reservations about her when she was elected. To me her CPAC speech was one of the best ones this March. She hit it out of the park about Muslim Terrorism. Again, it seems there is not one person who is 100% the best. But Ayotte does have good qualities. Just like Ted Cruz, Allen West, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, jeff Sessions, Darrell Issa and the rest.

For me Ted Cruz leads the pack then Sessions and my senator Jerry Moran and maybe Mike Lee. Not too enamored with Rand Paul since his La Raza Immigration speech and his goal to Libertarianize the tea party on social issues. Then he may have backpedaled on drones a bit depending on how you understood what he meant to say..

14 posted on 05/06/2013 3:37:45 PM PDT by Mozilla
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To: neverdem

Kelly is a good person, in my estimation. I’ve met and spoken with her only twice, but I suppose that’s more than most people who choose to comment about her. The thing I like best about her is that she is genuine, personable and remarkably unassuming, especially for a Senator (among whose ranks reside some of the biggest blowhards on the planet). Her husband is a small business owner and also serves in the NH Air National Guard, which might just tell you something. In a region whose politicians are dominated by Progressive loons and reality-challenged moonbats, Kelly Ayotte stands apart and alone, and I’m glad to call her my Senator.

15 posted on 05/06/2013 3:44:10 PM PDT by andy58-in-nh (Cogito, ergo armatum sum.)
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To: neverdem
Sorry, but she's in thick with McCain and Graham, and was a special guest of Obama's not too long ago:

List of GOP senators at dinner with President Obama

16 posted on 05/06/2013 4:01:29 PM PDT by Timber Rattler (Just say NO! to RINOS and the GOP-E)
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To: Mozilla

I voted for her and will do so again.

17 posted on 05/06/2013 8:10:31 PM PDT by corlorde (forWARD of the state)
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To: Timber Rattler

Thanks for the link.

18 posted on 05/06/2013 9:27:55 PM PDT by neverdem (Register pressure cookers! /s)
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To: neverdem

I voted for Ayotte before and will do it again. I am proud to call her my Senator. No politician is perfect, but she sure beats our other Senator, Tax and Spend Shaheen. Some of my political allies are jumping on the Lambaste Ayotte bandwagon, and I’ve got to tell you it’s ticking me off. We can do much, MUCH worse... and knowing NH politics, we undoutably will; since we were studid enough to elect Shea-Porter again and Kuster to congress. Makes me sick to my stomach.

19 posted on 05/07/2013 5:46:18 AM PDT by jehardy
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To: jehardy

undoubtedly, I mean !!

20 posted on 05/07/2013 5:48:11 AM PDT by jehardy
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