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May 31, 2002
WOBBLY WATCH UPDATE: Reader Craig Schamp says that I've ruined his day:
You say that "gun rights supporters should be very unhappy with Bush." Of course, you're right, but why did you have to go and say that? Bush's gun rights stance was one of the things I hadn't yet lost hope in. Now I have nothing, with the war on terrorism looking more and more like the war on drugs (endless and ineffective, full of political posturing), the domestic policy front completely in shambles (steel tariffs, anyone?), and the cabinet full of idiots and clueless political losers.
Unless things change, and PDQ, I think any political capital that would help Republicans in the fall will have been wasted. I also think that Bush is opening himself up for more hawkish challengers. Not that any of this would be bad. It shows the dynamics of our political system. But my concern is that Bush's loss may turn out to be more than just a political one, if all of his bumbling on the war (at home and abroad) brings more death and destruction to the home front.
-- Craig Schamp
P.S. I have voted for a Republican for president since 1980 (voted for Carter in 1976, first time to the pools, I'm ashamed to say). I will gladly cast my vote for a hawkish Democrat next time, given the chance.
Well, a pro-gun Democrat could do pretty well, I think, and Bush is vulnerable to attack from the right on the war unless more hawkish undertakings are forthcoming. Bush did well when he kept a clear vision. He's been muddled lately, and it's going to hurt him if it lasts. What's more, I predict that if his stock falls substantially it will do so very rapidly, as a number of these matters reach critical mass.
To be fair, the prosecution in DC is (I think) only for "carrying" a gun illegally and there's a respectable argument that laws governing the carrying of weapons don't implicate Second Amendment rights. There's no evidence that that's what's motivating the Justice Department, though.
UPDATE: Bill Quick says this is a problem for Bush, too.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Best of the Web is noting the contradiction between the Justice Department's actions and its Second Amendment position, too.