The Corner

Insta-Response

Actually I was merely looking to highlight Patrick Kennedy’s idiocy. But if we’re going to talk about Dean, okay let’s talk. I think there’s a lot of merit to Instapundit’s analysis. But I think the situation’s more complicated than that. Dean isn’t nearly as pro-gun as many think. The fact is his state’s constitution is unequivocally friendly to gun rights, stating flat out that you can have any kind of gun any way you want it. Moreoever, Vermont’s coalitional politics, require any successful politician to peal off at least a few moderates and Old Vermonter types in order to win. And those folks would not truck with seeing their gun rights tampered with. However, Dean has said in the past that he would favor any gun control measure if it could be proven to him that it would save lives. This is an easy dodge in Vermont which has remarkably low-gun crime. But if Dean were president, it’s not at all clear he wouldn’t be persuaded that federal gun controls would save lives in California, Illinois, Michigan etc.

I agree entirely with Instapundit that being pro-gun, or even gun-neutral, would help a Democrat more than it hurt in a general election. But I’m not sure being anti-gun control is as harmless for Dean in the primaries as Instapundit thinks. And surely it doesn’t cost Patrick Kennedy (or Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards etc) to hammer him on it.

Jonah Goldberg — Jonah Goldberg holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute and is a senior editor of National Review. His new book, The Suicide of The West, is on sale now.