President Obama comes out for some efforts to curb gun violence. This is valuable not so much because anything much is likely to happen soon at the federal level, but because it is important to stand up to gun culture & the purveyors of gun porn.
The president’s spokesman said yesterday that the president supports “common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights of Americans, while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing law do not get them.” Sorry, that’s not good enough.
Jay Carney’s statement for the president is an insult to both the dead & the living. By focusing on “protecting Second Amendment rights,” it gives aid & comfort to the cynical gun pornographers who secretly admire what James Holmes did. (And yes I mean you, Wayne LaPierre.) I think it’s fine that in the immediate aftermath of the killings in Colorado that Mr. Obama limited his remarks to platitudes and homilies; but now is the time for political courage. If not now, when? Clearly, the serial flip-flopper Mitt Romney is not going to go out of his way to remind voters that as Massachusetts governor he signed an assault weapons ban, saying at the time, “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”
President Obama should come out unequivocally for legislation at the national level that would ban assault weapons & high-capacity clips, as well as sales at guns hows without background checks. The NRA will attack him, you say? They have already turned him into a black fantasy of vast proportions–right-wing websites are already saying that he orchestrated the Aurora killings in order to impose gun control. Even as a matter of pure political calculation, what has the president got to lose? The gun fetishists are not going to vote for him. Again, as a matter of political calculation, he’d get credit for taking a courageous stand in the face of a truly mad collection of gun pornographers like Glenn Reynolds & Russell Pearce.
Given the number of guns already in circulation, no gun control law is going to have an immediate effect, but standing up to the NRA’s firearms pornography & their dark fantasies of tyranny would make an important political statement. Americans ought to be as disgusted by gun porn as they are by child pornography. Look, the NRA supports what James Holmes did in that theater. They think it’s cool. All that crap about an armed citizenry opposing tyranny & defending the innocent? It’s a smokescreen. The NRA & their fellow-travelers want to make it easy for the next James Holmes to get what he needs to shoot your children while they play or go to school or take in a movie. That is their agenda.
The time for homilies has passed; now is the time to show leadership & courage.
“I have an issue with people being able to buy ammunition and weapons on the Internet,” Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey of the Philadelphia police said on the ABC program “This Week” on Sunday. “I don’t know why people need to have assault weapons. There needs to be reasonable gun control put in place. “And we talk about this constantly, and absolutely nothing happens, because many of our legislators, unfortunately, at the federal level, lack the courage to do anything.” (NYT)
. . . that does not lower costs or achieve fundamental reform. That is the “health care bill” that will emerge from Congress “before the end of the year.” Obama should veto it, but he won’t, since he has already bargained away most of the really progressive ideas he campaigned on in order to achieve the sort of fake consensus that Washington so dearly loves. I’ll be dead and my ashes scattered on the river before the US sees fundamental change in is disastrous health care system.
I’ve been generally pleased with the progressive policies advanced by the Obama administration, but this really pushes my buttons. I said just before and then again just after the election that the birght line standard by which I would judge Obama consisted of his actions regarding torture and wiretapping. Everything the administration has said and done indicates that they will not abuse their power in the blatent manner of the previous administration, but they are also preserving the legal structures that would allow them to do so if they chose. The Obama administration also has settled on the formula that if it happend before we got here we don’t want to look at it. I think there is a little more moral wiggle room on this one, but not much. There are short term political reasons for not going after the Bush violations of law and fundamental American valuse, but in the long run this moral rot will emerge. And since the legal structures will still be in place, the moral rot will be defended and protected as a way of defending and protecting executive power.
So this is bipartisanship: No one agrees on anything, but everyone is happy to play their role. Obama looks like he is reaching across the aisle. The Republican caucus, with few moderates left, fires up the base. And the Dems in Congress get to write their own bill without obstruction from the other side. Everybody wins. The only losers seem to be the American public, who are getting a too-small stimulus package that doesn’t put enough money in play soon enough.
I don’t know Mr. Neyman, nor do I even recall seeing his posts before; but he has a way with words, having distilled the current political moment into six crisp sentences.