The Morning Jolt

We’re Living in Post-Deliberative-Democracy America

Michael Gerson, gun-control supporter, argues that Obama’s Thursday-night tantrum did measurable damage to the cause of gun control and to America’s system of political decision-making itself:

With his last election behind him, Obama is free to be Obama. And it appears that he is, deep down, a liberal commentator of the MSNBC variety — perhaps providing a preview of his post-presidency. The only apparent purpose of his gun speech was to incite the faithful by expressing a seething arrogance.

But it matters when the president of the United States decides that democratic persuasion is a fool’s game. It encourages the kind of will-to-power politics we see on the left and right. In this view, opponents are evil — entirely beyond the normal instruments of reason and good faith. So the only option is the collection and exercise of power.

When the main players in our politics give up on deliberative democracy, it feels like some Rubicon is being crossed. Our system is designed for leaders who make arguments for their views, seek compromise and try different policy angles to break logjams. And when they lose, their proper recourse is . . .  to make more arguments, seek other compromises and try different policy angles.

It’s a great point, but Obama’s lack of interest in seriously engaging with those who disagree with him has been obvious for some time now — going back to his “I won” declaration in his first negotiations with Congressional Republicans. When the president wanted to pass Obamacare, he resorted to the Cornhusker kickback and reconciliation, as public skepticism and opposition remained solid. Immigration reform is enacted by executive order. The Iran deal gets rammed through despite House and Senate majorities opposing it; Obama dismissed opponents as warmongers who make “common cause” with Iranians chanting “death to America!” When the Senate wouldn’t confirm his nominees, he just declared them “recess appointments” even though the Senate isn’t in recess.

Earlier this year, he dismissed his opponents as “the crazies.” His discussion of ISIS featured a lecture to Christians to get off their “high horse.”

Obama’s entire presidency is marked by statements and behavior that suggest he’s willing to engage and negotiate with the world’s most brutal regimes, like Iran, but he finds his American critics and opposing lawmakers too silly, extreme, or malevolent, inherently beyond the pale.

The man who bowed to the Saudi King is the same man who called on Latinos to “punish our enemies.”

The president who is so eager to pronounce “Pakistan” “Taliban” and “Koran” in the authentic style of locals dismisses his domestic critics as “teabaggers.”

There’s little sign this will change. The entire apparatus of the Democratic party — from DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz to MSNBC to the New York Times editorial board carry this same conviction that their opposition is self-evidently evil and not worthy of having a real debate with. Obama’s most likely successor, Hillary Clinton, goes long stretches without serious questioning from journalists and is proposing changing the nation’s gun laws through executive action.

Liberals, Please Continue Calling for Banning Private Gun Ownership!

Why do gun owners believe that gun-control supporters want to take away their guns? Because they periodically say that they want to take away all of the guns!

Fred Hiatt, writing in the Washington Post:

Prohibition.

Mass buyback.

A gun-free society.

Let’s say that one again: A gun-free society.

Doesn’t it sound logical? Doesn’t it sound safe? Wouldn’t it make sense to learn from other developed nations, which believe that only the military and law enforcers, when necessary, should be armed — and which as a result lose far, far fewer innocent people than die every year in the United States?

Not in the slightest, because there’s somewhere in the range of 300 million to 400 million guns in America. And no “mass buyback” is going to get all of them, and it sure as hell won’t disarm the criminals. So the result is a program that disarms the law-abiding and leaves the worst among us armed and free to commit whatever mayhem they wish on a country that’s been turned into a vast version of Oregon’s “gun-free campus.” We’ve seen this in real-life before in the District of Columbia before the Heller decision. At one point, D.C. was the murder capital of the United States while having laws that effectively banned private gun ownership. That’s what Hiatt’s calling for on a national scale.

Hiatt continues:

The Supreme Court, which has misread the Second Amendment in its recent decisions, would have to revisit the issue.

This guy’s a regular Kim Davis, huh? Why is it okay for this guy to insist the Supreme Court got it wrong, and keep fighting, but not okay for gay-marriage opponents?

Then he offhandedly states:

The court has corrected itself before, and if public opinion shifts it could correct itself again. If it did not, the Constitution would have to be amended.

Oh yeah, the Constitution. Glad you remembered. Finally, someone on the left is taking up Charlie Cooke on his offer.

Dear Democrats: Please, please, please run on national gun confiscation in 2016. Republicans could use another Reagan-vs.-Mondale landslide.

Déjà Vu: It’s Like I’ve Read This Article Before. It’s Like I’ve Written This Article Before.

Hey, nice article on Ben Carson and Mannatech, Wall Street Journal.

Mr. Carson, who is running near the front in the GOP presidential contest, has never held public office and holds up his career as a pediatric neurosurgeon as one of his chief credentials. In a contrast some medical researchers find jarring, he has also had a long and personal involvement with Mannatech, a company that has weathered scrutiny from state and federal officials over allegedly improper health claims for its products.

The company in 2009 settled false-advertising charges brought by the Texas attorney general’s office, which alleged Mannatech had permitted “deceptive” and “illegal” miracle-cure testimonials at sales meetings and allowed materials circulated by associates suggesting its products could treat or even cure Down Syndrome, cystic fibrosis, autism, cancer and other serious ills. The Texas AG’s civil complaint said the U.S. Food and Drug Administration had notified Mannatech on multiple occasions that its marketing materials made illegal drug claims.

At least the WSJ article says, quite a few paragraphs down, “In a January 2015 television interview following a National Review article about his history with Mannatech, Mr. Carson said he had been using its products for more than a decade.”

Ah, this article.

I guess now I know how a performer feels watching a cover band sing one of his songs.

ADDENDA: Last night was the book party for Jay Nordlinger’s Children of Monsters: An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators — perhaps the creepiest, strangest, and most darkly fascinating books ever written by a National Review editor. Jay said that unlike his book on the history of the Nobel Peace Prize, he was rather happy to be finished with it. But many early readers and critics are noting that this look into secretive, rarely-discussed corner of life in oppressive regimes, from Hitler to Stalin, Mao to Ceausescu, Khomeni to Pol Pot left them with a new appreciation for what we have in our free nations of the world. 

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