The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

Gun Control ‘Deserves a Vote.’ Low Bar, Isn’t It?


A point about last night’s allegedly stirring moment, when Obama listed “background checks that make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun” (already illegal), banning guns for resale to criminals (already illegal), banning “massive ammunition magazines” (define “massive”) . . .

. . .  and then in the emotional climax, he declared, “Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress . . . Gabby Giffords deserves a vote! The families of Newtown deserve a vote! The families of Aurora deserve a vote!”

Notice Obama says the proposals “deserve a vote” — not that they must be passed.

If you genuinely believe that, say, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s renewed assault-weapons ban will save innocent lives — that, literally, lives hang in the balance — doesn’t that make Democrats who oppose it, like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, heartless monsters who would rather see American children die than cross their allies?

And wouldn’t that apply to the other red-state Senate Democrats who are iffy on the legislation? Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska, Independent Angus King of Maine?

How can Obama deem it morally imperative that the legislation be voted upon, but not morally imperative that it pass?

And by the way, who would be holding up the vote in that chamber? Not the Republicans. Nope. Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, sets the floor schedule.

Of course, Obama is trying to thread the needle of demonizing the NRA, most anti-gun-control Republicans, and most gun owners, without actually demonizing any of the Democrats who he knows (or strongly suspects) will vote against those proposals.

Tags: Barack Obama , Gun Control , Senate Democrats


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