Push for gun safety regulation goes on.
Greg Sargent: The president’s push for expanded background checks failed, but that doesn’t mean the push for gun control is over — far from it. The defeat of Manchin-Toomey was only round one in what will likely be a long battle to build a new constituency for stricter gun laws to reduce the country’s persistent gun violence.
To wit, Politico reports this morning that Vice President Joe Biden-who will appear tonight at a South Carolina Democratic dinner-plans to take “trips around the country to stump for the expanded background checks and gun trafficking laws that failed to pass the Senate last month.”
In particular, he will travel to the home states of Senators Kelly Ayotte, Max Baucus, Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowsi, each of whom has seen a precipitous drop in their approval rating since voting against background checks. Baucus is retiring next year, and Ayotte and Murkowski aren’t up for reelection until 2016. But Begich is running next year, and might be vulnerable to immediate pressure. Even Ayotte has something to worry about — she will run for a second term during a presidential election, where Democratic voters are energized and more numerous. At some point, she will have to appeal to non-Republicans.
And that will mean distancing herself from a National Rifle Association that has walked further and further into the waters of extremism.
Obviously, these appearances serve two purposes — to put potential defectors on the spot, thereby winning more background check votes, and to make gun safety an issue in the 2014 races. Democrats clearly have polling that shows the issue is a potential winning strategy for the party to hold the Senate; otherwise, it’s hard to see them risking putting Democratic senators on the hot seat.
Once again, Republicans find their traditional wedge issues turning against them. They’ve lost immigration and gay rights, they’ve lost reproductive freedom and the environment, and now guns are a loser too. If Democrats turn this into an issue-based election, Republicans lose.
So count on this being a wedge issue election and expect the GOP to find themselves on the sharp end of those wedges.
As if to remind you that he came from Politico, Buzzfeed’s Ben Smith writes a simpleminded and sensationalist piece reporting that younger people will be “disproportionately” “screwed” by Obamacare. This is a terrible betrayal, because all those young people voted for Obama. O the Humanity! They’re going to be pissed when they find out!
The problem: “disproportionately” apparently means they’ll be charged as much as anyone else for health coverage, so it’s kind of the wrong word. What he means is that more young people than old people will pay into the risk pool. Duh. There are more young people than old people. That’s gonna happen. Young people get “disproportionately” “screwed” for drivers’ licenses and cans of corn and shower curtains with pictures of fish on them and you get the idea.
Further, those young people will — for the most part — become old people themselves. At which point they’ll “screw” the younger population, et viola!; proportionality restored.
And that’s not even getting into Smith saying that Obama’s “enemies” are seniors. How Smith can write this hacky crap without being laughed out of the business (I’d imagine that would look something like this) is one of the world’s greatest mysteries.
The lack of dignity in our national discourse hits a new low.
We could get some infrastructure funding going right now for next to nothing, but it won’t happen because Republicans have somehow convinced themselves that infrastructure is a frivolous luxury.
RIP Marqes Bovre. If you’re from Madison, Wisconsin, you know who he is.
This is interesting. Nate Silver looks at Karl Rove’s big plan to beat Tea Party candidates in the primaries and finds that the people Rove’s most likely to help are least likely to need money — so Rovian help wouldn’t actually help much. Meanwhile, the base is basically revolting against Rove’s plan, so any ‘bagger who wants to can claim that Rove wants them out… and score big points by doing so, both in PR and in fundraising. Long story short, Karl may be doing more harm than good to his cause. Dems around the country may wind up rejoicing, as some unelectable freakshow comes out of their state’s GOP primary, just icthin’ to talk about the wonders of rape babies.
Sexual abuse victims aren’t sorry to see Pope Benedict XVI go. “We won’t miss this pope,” says one. The question is, is there really any reason to believe the next one will be any better?
No, taxes and regulations don’t kill jobs.
File under “Stuff I already knew: confirmed”: The Koch brothers and corporations — including hack anti-scientists formerly from Big Tobacco, now with Big Polluters — created the Tea Party. The idea that it just sprouted up organically in response to healthcare reform is the laughable horseshit you always knew it was.
Finally, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not have good things to say about Senate Republicans, the filibuster, or the sham “filibuster reform” the senate leaders of both parties are trying to fool us with. Some day democracy will come to the US Senate. Maybe even in your lifetime.
[cartoon via McClatchy Newspapers]
Biden says wide array of non-legislative options being considered for dealing with gun violence.
The White House has identified 19 executive actions for President Barack Obama to move unilaterally on gun control, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of House Democrats on Monday, the administration’s first definitive statements about its response to last month’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Later this week, Obama will formally announce his proposals to reduce gun violence, which are expected to include renewal of the assault weapons ban, universal background checks and prohibition of high-capacity magazine clips. But Biden, who has been leading Obama’s task force on the response, spent two hours briefing a small group of sympathetic House Democrats on the road ahead in the latest White House outreach to invested groups.
The focus on executive orders is the result of the White House and other Democrats acknowledging the political difficulty of enacting any new gun legislation, a topic Biden did not address in Monday’s meeting.
The executive actions could include giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to conduct national research on guns, more aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws and pushing for wider sharing of existing gun databases among federal and state agencies, members of Congress in the meeting said.
“It was all focusing on enforcing existing law, administering things like improving the background database, things like that that do not involve a change in the law but enforcing and making sure that the present law is administered as well as possible,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).
The White House declined to comment on the details of what Obama will propose.
The lesson I’m taking away from all this? That you can’t possibly satisfy the gun crazies, so your response to them should now and forever be, “fuck off, whiner.”
White House to use executive orders to stem gun violence.
Prior to meeting with gun victims and safety groups on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said that a White House commission on gun violence was weighing all available means to reform laws in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. mass shooting — including executive orders the President may issue in addition to legislative remedies already sought.
“The president is going to act,” Biden said. “Executive order, executive action that can be taken, we haven’t decided what that is yet. But we’re compiling it all with the help of the attorney general and all the rest of the cabinet members as well as legislative action, we believe, is required.”
Biden is scheduled to meet with gun owners and representatives of the National Rifle Association, the country’s powerful gun lobby, on Thursday.
That ought to go well, huh? We’ve seen how serious the blood lobby is about reducing gun violence — i.e., they aren’t. They’re a trade association, they want to sell bullets and guns — as many as possible — and they don’t really give a damn who’s buying. If you think people couldn’t possibly be that evil, I refer you to the tobacco industry and their “smoking doesn’t cause cancer” campaign — a campaign they launched while sitting on research that showed the opposite. If corporate America can make a buck killing people, corporate America will make a buck killing people. We know that because they’ve done it many times before. Don’t expect a lot of help from that front.
But the news that the president will use — excuse the metaphor — a double-barreled approach of legislation and executive orders is good news. Short of a lawsuit, there’s very little Republicans can do about executive orders and those would hinge on the constitutionality of the order — if it’s constitutional, there ain’t jack they can do. The bad news would be that a future president could rescind the orders.
Still, the White House will get a lot more done with executive orders than it will talking to the NRA. You have to believe that such talks are merely window-dressing. Nothing can possibly come of them.
Joe Biden scares the crap out of gun freaks.
Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported the gun violence task force led by Vice President Biden is considering gun legislation “far broader and more comprehensive…than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition.”
News that the White House is considering significant gun control legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting is music to the ears of gun control advocates, who have waited decades for a serious conversation about guns. But it’s also being welcomed by gun rights groups, who say leaks from the Biden task force are just the thing to push their flock back into the fight.
“[The article] was a Molotov cocktail right into the middle of this thing,” Dave Workman, a former board member at the National Rifle Association, told TPM Monday. “That lit the fuse, it really did.”
Biden has “galvanized the gun community,” Workman said. Though no longer on the NRA board, Workman still spends most of his time advocating for expanded gun rights. He’s an official with the Second Amendment Foundation, communications director for Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and a prolific writer on the gun rights. Both groups Workman serves on are sponsors of Gun Appreciation Day, a nationwide effort to highlight gun ownership scheduled for the weekend of President Obama’s second inauguration.
“They’re talking about banning millions of firearms,” Workman told TPM. “The writing was on the wall when Joe Biden was put on that thing because he’s a gun grabber.”
While it’s good to see the gun nuts worried, it pays to point out that these are people who seem to lack any sense of perspective when it comes to danger. You don’t argue that you need to be able to take any kind of gun with you anywhere you want if you’ve got a sense of what threats might realistically exist out there. Gun nuts are gun nuts because their initial reaction to pretty much anything seems to be blind, animal panic.
So it may be that Biden’s not as much of a threat to their cause as they might think. Wait until the final package is out before you get your hopes — or terrors — up.