History will vindicate my memory.
The worst president ever.
The suggested gun rights legislation should be of enormous interest to political bird watchers like yourselves. Perhaps you don’t own or even care about firearms; even so, what’s happening now is of grave interest to voters from a behind-the-scenes vantage.
As you know, the President is recommending some sky-blue bills that will likely originate in the Senate; among these are a reinstatement of an assault weapons ban (with even more pointless and esthetic prohibitions), bans on certain calibers and on magazine capacities.
Also, by now you know that pro-gun Senate leader Harry Reid not only feels the legislation will lose, he’s not even interested in introducing any of it. There is good reason why: he is concerned that 2014 is already coming up, and he has about nine-to-ten Democratic seats that could now be readily contested by Republicans. He has already been warned by those Senators and from three dozen gun rights groups that introducing any gun legislation will cost the Democrats dearly.
The Senate, which never forgets a slight, is well aware and largely blames the Republican landslide of 1994 on the previous dull thud of an assault weapons ban. Senator Reid is easily able to read the signs that a 2013 zombification of that disastrous bill will cost him his majority leadership position for a long time.
More curiously, we are learning that Barack Obama is advising him to introduce the legislation anyway; in characteristic fashion, the President is asking someone else to risk it all. And even if Reid does, there is slim chance of the bills getting through the House. So why would Reid lose his command for an ostensibly lost cause?
This reveals a couple of things that should be of substantial interest.
First, it shows how incredibly vulnerable Harry Reid feels. Despite all the back-slapping by the Democrats in the 2012 Senate races—which the Czar inaccurately predicted Republicans would win—the Democrats are keenly aware of how precarious they were and are even more so. The Democrats are effectively 5 seats away from losing the Senate, and if there really are about twice that number of contested seats, then Reid is already in serious trouble.
Perhaps the Republicans could start capitalizing on this.
Second, it shows how fantastic and skewed the President has become. The President, as any guest lecturer on the Constitution at the University of Chicago Law School ought to know, is secondary to Congress. He cannot order the Senate around; to do so smacks of traditional despotism and this of course reinflates a lot of anti-Obama sentiment that he successfully deflated in 2012.
But we have seen numerous attempts by the President to ignore Congress, do end runs around them, and basically wheedle that they are ineffective to his aims. He even attempted to cajole the Supreme Court on the issue of political speech, but he has not—to our recollection—attempted to order a different branch of government to risk their very positions and jobs simply for his own benefit. Until now.
Especially gun control, which is largely a settled political issue. Americans do not want it: and while we were all disgusted and shocked by Sandy Hook, Americans simply want a portion of existing laws enforced, not extended to the point of Constitutional risk.
The President is wasting valuable Democratic capital on this: as Harry Reid is proving, the Democrats are not as strong as the public assumes, and they are running out of time, money, and leverage on all issues. Wasting so much of it on an issue that even a massive number of Democrats reject shows how out-to-sea the President and his inner circle have become.
Perhaps, sigh, the Republicans can do something with this, too.
In politics, you deal with the possible. And you worry about optics (how the public interprets your actions) and long-term precedents. All the President’s men seems to misunderstand all three of these; and while the media is already discussing how he could get his face put up on Mount Rushmore, we anticipate that historians will place his memory elsewhere.