Does the president know the hardships he just inflicted on his own party and administration? He’s going after guns, but what the rest of his term? He wants to tackle immigration, but as The Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin wrote today – he may have sacrificed that initiative with his plans to renew the assault weapons ban.
Rubin, WaPo’s right-of-center blogger, listed eight possible developments over the coming months because “unless and until committees of jurisdiction take up some or all of them we really have no idea what is in the realm of possibility.” Hence, why conservatives are angry and fearful over this anti-gun tango occurring along the Potomac.
1. President Obama was able to put on paper very specific proposals on guns. Where are his written proposals for health-care cost reductions? For an alternative to the sequester?
2. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) promised to vote on something having to do with guns “early this year.” Why won’t he promise to pass a budget?
3. The president included nothing that would ease mandatory mental evaluations of those who appear to be dangers to themselves or others. The single common thread in these mass shootings is a mentally unbalanced perpetrator who is untreated and/or not sufficiently supervised.4. The president adopted the National Rifle Association’s suggestion for armed guards in schools.
5. There is nothing in his proposals that will cause the makers of violent video games or movies a moment of concern. Their political donations have finally paid off.
6. Democratic senators in competitive states up for reelection in 2014 ( e.g., Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Udall of Colorado, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Mark Warner of Virginia) plus 43 Republicans could vote down an assault weapons ban or other stringent anti-gun measures on an up-and-down; the pro-gun senators would have more than enough for a filibuster. With that political reality the chances of significant anti-gun measures coming to the floor of the Senate are small.
7. If Democrats are serious about a full legislative fight on guns, immigration reform will slide, a result the president may or may not want.
8. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and most smart Republicans will point the press to Reid’s door. In a written statement Reid said, “Sen. McConnell will continue to defend the 2nd Amendment rights of law-abiding Kentuckians. While the administration acknowledged that there is much more to be done to enforce existing law, Sen. McConnell’s first test of any new legislation the majority leader decides to bring before the Senate will be on whether or not it infringes on the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”
Rubin’s sixth point I think is the most salient, and gives a good gauge as to how a new assault weapons ban will fair in the Senate. The prognosis is dead on arrival, but that’s betting that these Democratic senators in pro-gun states (mostly) will vote to ensure their re-election. Who am I kidding? Of course, they’ll do that!
Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska has already gone on record saying that he’s “not interested” in the renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. However, some Democrats not up to reelection in 2014 have voiced their opposition to the president’s anti-gun plans as well. Freshman North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a Democrat, called the crusade to institute stricter gun laws “wrong headed.” Furthermore, as Katie Pavlich at Townhall wrote today, Sen. Heitkamp said, “there isn’t any amount of gun regulation or gun executive orders that will solve the problem of identifying people who could potentially do this [mass shootings].”
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) prevaricated more, and said “I can’t tell you whether I’m for this ban or for that ban.”
What’s telling is that NBC Political Director Chuck Todd noted how the president used hyper-emotionalism, rather than substance to get his points across when he unveiled his Second Amendment assault plans to the public today. Emotion can go so far, and as I’ve said before, it creates an atmosphere for bad policymaking.
Yes, I could be speaking too soon about 2014, but if this fails, which I think it will – blood will be in the water. It’s all on the Democrats. Let them self-implode, which will allow us to go in for the political kill.