Lt. Col. Oliver North, incoming president of the National Rifle Association, told an enthusiastic crowd of some 700 Republicans attending the 2018 Idaho GOP Convention inside Idaho State University's cavernous Holt Arena that it is his objective to double the NRA's membership from six million to 12 million as it comes under increasing fire from gun control advocates.
North was introduced by former Idaho U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, a longtime NRA board member who was instrumental in arranging North's appearance in the Gem State. Craig praised Melaleuca CEO Frank Vandersloot for dispatching a corporate jet to fly North to Idaho Falls after his flights were delayed out of Washington.
Calling North “a true American hero,” Craig referred to the NRA as “without question the strongest civil rights organization in the United States” because of its efforts to protect the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that ensures the right to keep and bear arms.
North joined the NRA's board in 1998, the same year Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston started his three terms as its president, Craig pointed out, noting the NRA's membership then stood at 900,000. Upon addressing the Idaho Republicans, North joked that the NRA now has gone from “Moses to the U.S. marines.”
North commended Idaho for helping elect George W. Bush to the White House and sending Al Gore packing during the crucial 2000 presidential election. He predicted Republicans would win Idaho's gubernatorial election in November and took shots at Paulette Jordan, the Democratic candidate who will oppose Lt. Gov. Brad Little, the Republican candidate. He said she has earned an “F” rating from the NRA.
Jordan backs gun control, including licensing schemes and banning firearm magazines, North said, adding she also defends sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants. “Paulette Jordan sounds perfect for office in San Francisco,” North said, mocking her endorsement by the singer/actress Cher. “You can't make these things up folks.”
When he welcomed North to the podium, Little said it has been no accident that Idaho leads the nation in job creation and income growth. He was roundly applauded when he said Idaho also leads the U.S. in per capita manufacturing of firearms and ammunition. He mentioned that Jordan arrived at a recent event in a limousine and with bodyguards.
Idaho is in partnership with the Trump administration in ensuring bills comply with the Tenth Amendment that states the federal government possesses only those powers delegated to it by the Constitution, with all remaining powers reserved for the states, Little said.
He extolled the 180 degrees in U.S. Department of Justice changes that have occurred under the Trump administration and said he's excited President Donald Trump will soon nominate a second justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Idaho was among the first states to return money from recent federal tax cuts to citizens and ask the Trump administration to end Obamacare, which has priced people out of the health care market. It also is working closely with the U.S. government for better management of federal lands to prevent devastating wild fires, Little said, stressing that Idaho repeatedly is ranked at the top in national surveys.
North said much is at stake in November's crucial mid-term elections with a “progressive cabal” headed by socialist billionaire George Soros and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg planning to spend millions of dollars to defeat Republican candidates so Democrats can regain control of Congress.
“They may have the money, but the NRA turns out the vote,” North said, noting there are 100 million gun owners in the United States, promising the NRA can and will make a difference in the elections.
North warned: “There are evil enemies who have wanted to visit terror on our land,” and he urged that the American flag be honored. “The NRA will never 'take a knee',” he remarked.
North criticized retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens who recently called in a “Washington Compost” article for the Second Amendment to be repealed. “The Second Amendment is not going to be eradicated,” he vowed, calling it essential to the other nine amendments in the Bill of Rights. “The NRA is not going to let real American voters be shut out.”
When North asked for a show of hands of those in the audience who were NRA members, a majority of the Idahoans in attendance raised their arms. He cautioned that it's easy to delude certain voters as pivotal elections approach.
“Progressive politics is spinning a web of hollow arguments to deceive voters,” he said, adding that “Idaho United, Idaho Strong” is a motto that the state's Republicans can use all the way to victory in November.