My war was the Cold War. I spent a good chunk of my career helping to develop weapons to counter the communist threat. A portion of our intelligence effort was spent attempting to determine what was going on inside of the Soviet Union, who might succeed whom in the leadership, and what it might mean. The called it Kremlinology. Watching the NRA and trying to determine what is happening in its internal politics is much the same . . .
There are the public pronouncements, that tell us some of what happened, always after the fact. While the NRA elections can have a significant effect on select races for the board of directors, the control of the organization has never been in doubt since the late 1990’s.
Wayne LaPierre has led the organization since 1991. That’s 24 years. He has been extremely successful. While maintaining control of the organization in spite of a membership revolt led by Neal Knox, LaPierre learned from the experience. He brought the organization more in line with the political desires of the members, who wanted less compromise, and more offense in the protection of the second amendment.
During Wayne’s tenure, Second Amendment supporters have expanded legal concealed carry to all 50 states and most territories. The Heller case, originally opposed by the NRA, earned its support. The McDonald decision followed, and many give the NRA significant credit for supporting that win with an amicus brief.
I’m hearing rumors that Wayne may be considering retirement. He has done very well with the NRA. He is nationally known and loved by more people than those who despise him. The question is, who will succeed him in the executive vice president spot? That job is the chief executive officer position in the NRA. The president’s post is largely ceremonial.
That’s why the above photo is significant. Chris Cox, currently head of the NRA-ILA, is a clear up-and-coming presence in the organization. He’s heard from more and more these days, and many believe that he is Wayne’s heir apparent. In the line-up of NRA luminaries displayed at the Music City Center this past weekend, Cox is there right behind LaPierre and ahead of the late great Charlton Heston. That’s exactly the sort of thing a Soviet watcher would attach significance to.
Will Chris Cox be the next executive vice president of the NRA? No one knows for sure. But that’s the smart bet.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.