Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Excitable Boy, They All Said
First, we had the heartfelt sorrow of the surviving parent talking about his heartfelt sorrow as if it should mean something to the supposedly cerebral task of writing laws which actually produce the desired result. Emotion doesn't help that process. Then the President spoke. He seemed more angry than he ever did talking about the incident in Benghazi. I put that down to frustration at not getting his way.
The President can be a petulant little bitch, can't he?
Here are my notes (and responses in parentheses):
The purpose of the laws proposed (all of which failed to get the 60 votes, as Senate rules require when the opposition asks) was "to protect the lives of all our children." The minority in the Senate decided it wasn't worth it. (Not that they had principled objections to the proposed legislation, they were morally bankrupt, lazy cowards who probably like dead 6-year-olds).
"They blocked common sense gun reforms even while these families [of the dead in Connecticut] looked on from the Senate gallery." (See, heartless to vote against the laws the President supports).
This "distortion of Senate rules" blocked the proposed legislation. (No, Mr. President, the votes fully complied with the Senate rules, the same rules you used, liked and supported to block Republican supported legislation during the few weeks you were actually present in the Senate).
The two Senators Manchin and Toomey, who are "fierce defenders of the Second Amendment" and "A" rated by the NRA showed a lot of courage to put together a common sense compromise on expanded background checks. The President thanked them for their courage--"that was not easy given their traditional strong support for Second Amendment rights." (Wait, what? If the law was good, constitutional, commonsense and popular, why was it not easy vis a vis traditional strong support for the Constitution? Something wrong there).
No one could honestly claim that the Manchin-Toomey package infringed on Second Amendment rights. (Sure we could--if the government does anything to stop, slow or make more difficult my keeping or bearing a gun, then it necessarily has impinged on my Second Amendment rights. And what's with the poll tax on my exercise of an enumerated right and my God given right to armed self defense? Maybe the Republicans were voting against it because of their oaths to uphold the Constitution).
The President repeated the worthless, outdated poll that alleged 40% buy guns from non FFL holders. Most people with actual knowledge know this statistic is false.
Then the President said the "gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill." He said opponents claimed it would create a Big Brother gun registry even though the bill specifically outlawed such a registry. (We never said this bill contained a registry but it would pave the way--now background checks are made effective by laws which require FFL holders to keep meticulous records, so there would eventually have to be just such a registry with expanded, checks by citizens who do not keep any records--otherwise it's pointless without the FFL like record keeping. Two years later, who knows if there was a background check on that particular gun without record keeping?)
This pattern of spreading untruths intimidated the Senators who despite their good hearts could not offer any cogent reason not to prevent criminals and dangerously mentally ill from obtaining guns. (I've got a few cogent reasons--it won't work; no prohibition of items people want is successful (Prohibition, drug laws); it is an unconstitutional infringement on Second Amendment rights and a general diminution of freedom and an unwanted growth of Government).
The President objected to this politics of fear which caused the cowardly Senators to cave. He tried then to debunk the objections of the legislators: 1) It wouldn't do what it said it would do (to protect the lives of all our children) but he said that was not a problem because no single law could do that but 2) plenty of laws could (So it's not totally irrational to think that some of these laws were mere first steps towards registration, and then confiscation--for the children of course). After all, if it saves one life then isn't it worth it? (So allow armed self defense everywhere then--that will save more than one life).
He couldn't understand why failure of the bill was seen as a victory (for supporting the Second Amendment, for upholding "shall not be infringe,"' for advancing freedom, for less expansion of government bureaucracy--any of these ring a bell?) After all the polls all said expanded background checks were popular "Who are we here to represent?" (How about the oath to uphold and protect the Constitution?)
He railed against calling the families with murdered children props or "emotional blackmail" and called the vote a pretty shameful day for Washington (Not for me).
He believed we can reduce gun violence with executive orders (yeah, by expanding concealed carry everywhere and outlawing gun free zones). The President also talked about "emergency plans to protect our children in their schools" (What? with gun toting guards? Your supporters think this is not only stupid but so apparently stupid as to be almost madness).
To reverse this stunning loss, the President proposed that his supporters put political pressure on the no-voting Senators. (But isn't that just the politics of fear you didn't like the opposition using to thwart your favored legislation? Logically consistent this guy ain't).
He called this stunning and complete defeat Round One (yeah, in which he suffered a TKO). And he ended it as he started by appealing only to emotion not pre-frontal cortex like analysis--"The memories of these children demand it."
Who said this guy was a great speaker?
UPDATE: Jacob Sullum on the same subject. Money quote:
Of course [the victims' families] have a right to speak their minds. But no, their emotions are not relevant when it comes to empirical questions such as the impact of background checks, "assault weapon" bans, and limits on magazines. Their pain tells us nothing about the effectiveness or constitutionality of such measures. To the contrary, it obscures those issues with an impenetrable emotional fog.
Obama does a fine job of empathizing with the parents of Adam Lanza's victims. But that is something any decent human being should be able to manage. Where he has trouble, despite his lip service to the idea of putting himself in the other guy's shoes, is in empathizing with his opponents. He not only says they are wrong, which is to be expected. He refuses to concede that people who disagree with him about gun control are acting in good faith, based on what they believe to be sound reasons—that they, like him, are doing what they think is right. His self-righteous solipsism is striking even for a politician.
UPDATE 2: Neal Bortz puts the blame for the failure where it belongs, on Obama. Money quote:
So … it failed. Perhaps the people do want stronger background checks. That may well be. But they flat-out DON’T want you to be the person in charge of writing those rules and regulations. Even Democrat lawmakers in Washington were uncomfortable with that idea.
You failed, 0bama. You waited, you planned, you obfuscated, you lied, you schemed, and you pounced when you thought the time was right. You used the grief of the people of Newtown to advance your agenda. You exploited the memory of those children who died at the hands of a lunatic to advance your big government dreams --- and you failed. Too many lies, too much ham-fisted government, and too many bizarre and irresponsible rules and regulations.
On Althouse's blog this morning:
Obama at the memorial today:
“Boston is your hometown but we claim it a little bit too,” he said, referring to his days as a student at Harvard Law School. “I know this because there is a piece of Boston in me.”
Given the context, that's one of the worst figures of speech ever.
It's also bad for Obama to make the disaster about himself and to bring up an aspect of his life that entails time spent not with ordinary Bostonians, but amongst the elite academics of Cambridge.