Victory on Guns

Watching Kudlow tonight. The discussants agreed that the Republicans have mostly defeated the Democrats’ latest gun-control scheme, which has been reduced to arguments about the scope of federal background checks. This is small stuff as compared to the broad gun and magazine bans Democrats initially promised. Kudlow and at least one of his guests thought the Republicans would be wise to concede on the remaining issues, and Kudlow was eager to move the discussion on to the topic of Congressional budget negotiations. I think he missed the point. The Republicans won on guns for two reasons. First, the weight of public opinion shifted against the Democrats once people realized that the proposed anti-gun measures 1) would not prevent future mass-murders and 2) avoided dealing seriously with mental-health issues that seem to be much more connected to spree killings than guns are. The second reason why the Republicans prevailed was that, contra the Dem/moderate conventional wisdom, they stuck to their principles and didn’t concede on apparently marginal points. The Republicans wanted to win, were not eager for a deal and were willing to fight. That is a winning political position and the Democrats knew it.

So why don’t the Republicans apply the same principled, fighting attitude that defeated gun bans to other important issues such as federal spending, Obamacare and immigration?

14 thoughts on “Victory on Guns”

  1. So why don’t the Republicans apply the same principled, fighting attitude … to other important issues such as federal spending, Obamacare and immigration?

    A “principled, fighting attitude” is foreign to the Institutional Republicans. They are believers in pre-emptive surrender.

    I fear that you are overestimating the success of the Republicans in defending the Second Amendment. While I may be wrong, I see it as a case where defenders of the Constitution may have won the public opinion battle; but that they are about to lose the substantive battle. The Left does not care if the public wants the laws that they impose. Before or after the fact. They want the power; q.v. Obamacare.

    Everybody is watching the Manchin-Toomey-Schumer-Kirk “amendment”. The question is what is being amended. The Senate just voted cloture on Harry Reid’s omnibus gun control bill. That bill has not yet been formally introduced, nor have the provisions been revealed and nailed down. ANYTHING can be in this bill. And the 16 Republican Senators who voted cloture before knowing what was in it just guaranteed that whatever Harry Reid wants will pass.

    Reality: 1) the Democrats have the majority in the Senate, and absent procedural quirks of the Senate like the filibuster, they can pass anything they want. 2) Democrats, regardless of how they may campaign as “moderates” or “blue dogs” will ALWAYS vote as they are told by their leadership no matter how far Left the orders. 3) There are at least a half dozen Republican Senators who will vote for pretty much anything that the Democrats and the media want in hopes of being loved. 4) the only thing that Harry Reid promised re: the Manchin-Toomey-Schumer-Kirk amendment was a) it would be allowed to be offered, and b) it will be voted on first. If [best case] he keeps his word, it will be voted down by the Democrats as being too pro-gun owner, first. And anything that the far Left wants will come out of the Senate.

    And just as everyone was sure that someone else would stop Obamacare, people are assuming that somehow the House will stop Reid’s bill. I offer this quote from Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner:

    Boehner has flouted the so-called “Hastert Rule” — named for former GOP House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) — on a few pieces of key legislation so far this year, which hasn’t sat well with some conservatives.

    He said at a news conference Thursday that he will continue to try and follow it in spirit, but also suggested he might well violate it for upcoming votes on guns, immigration and the budget.

    “Listen: It was never a rule to begin with,” Boehner said. “And certainly my prerogative – my intention is to always pass bills with strong Republican support.”

    Boehner has already given victory to Obama and Pelosi on a number of critical issues this session by having himself and about 30-40 votes in his pocket voting against the majority of the Republican caucus and with the Democrats. In normal times, he could not be trusted to defend the Second Amendment. With the overt statements he has made, he is going to gut the Second Amendment alongside the Democrats.

    It will be just like Obamacare. The interesting thing is that neither party seems to care about the public reaction to having it shoved down their throats. Either they are not worried about any possible future electoral reaction, or the change in the correlation of forces is enough so that they figure that they are safe regardless of the level of hostile reaction.

    Subotai Bahadur

  2. That’s the worst-case scenario. It may be what happens but so far the trend favors the pro-rights side. Reid and other red-state Democrats want this issue to go away, because otherwise they lose (more) seats in 2014. It wasn’t so long ago that media conventional wisdom was predicting gun owners would soon be socially marginalized as smokers are. That cockiness is gone now, and the anti-gun side is resorting to parliamentary games because that’s the only way they have a chance of getting even minimal new laws. I’m not saying I’m not worried but I’m much less worried than I was.

  3. Grover Norquist was right about immigration but for the wrong reasons. Labor costs need to decrease for the recovery not to fizzle out. It’s the painful lesson we learned from FDR’s strangulation of the economy in the 30s.

    Growth must be driven from the supply side, which in the labor markets is workers. Ann was right that immigration reform will bring in the unskilled underclass. That is in fact exactly what we need. Bottom up growth is how this country was built.

  4. Grurray,
    Where is your sarcasm hashtag? We have millions of people on welfare who could be working and you propose to bring in MORE low skilled workers? I’m tired of my country being used as an economic dumping ground for a Mexican elite who won’t make the necessary changes to their own country. Don’t even get me started on the thousands of Americans murdered, raped and robbed by illegals every year….

  5. No, no, no–not a victory, not yet.

    We have the other army heading the direction we want, but it’s not over yet. “Don’t get cocky, kid!”

  6. Why don’t you try treating the Repubs as irrelevant, as indeed Congress is?

    As indeed that is one’s Duty to treat unjust Laws- irrelevant – especially mad ones that would have you disarmed before the greatest gang of criminals and madmen – Washington?

    The Repubs didn’t and Junior Boehner certainly wouldn’t defeat anything. Dem voters did. It is not particularly relevant to anyone but the holders of office and their many staff and camp followers.

    They govern as suits them, bugger the Laws. As should we all.

    Would you be an endless procession of Antigone’s before these retarded Creon’s?

  7. I am concerned about Toomey, who was a big hope of mine. Pennsylvania should be safe for gun owner support. Maybe he’s too worried about Philadelphia but he’ll never get votes there anyway.

    Michael Medved was going on about how great the coming immigration bill would be. Nobody has seen it yet so I was very disappointed with him. Schumer has already been quoted that DHS has TEN YEARS (!) to “design” the fence and the rest of the bill will already be in force. We got snookered in 2007 with a fence bill that never happened because the Democrats took Congress in 2009.

    The Republicans never seem to tire of playing Charlie Brown with the football.

    I spent ten years reviewing workers’ comp claims. About half were Mexicans and half of those were probably illegal. They *claimed* to have second grade educations but most were illiterate in Spanish, let alone English !

  8. So an amendment to a bill will be presented and voted upon BEFORE the text of the bill will be available for scrutiny?

    Reminds me of a line from Gibbon:

    “To resume, in a few words, the system of the Imperial government, as it was instituted by Augustus, and maintained by those princes who understood their own interest and that of the people, it may be defined an absolute monarchy disguised by the forms of a commonwealth. The masters of the Roman world surrounded their throne with darkness, concealed their irresistible strength, and humbly professed themselves the accountable ministers of the senate, whose supreme decrees they dictated and obeyed.”

  9. “The Republicans never seem to tire of playing Charlie Brown with the football.”


    We’ve been the Charlie Brown’s. We’ve been kicking the football.

    As far as Augustus/monarchy as commonwealth etc…

    So then what?

    What Now? And do ye finally see you need to stop being WHOM and start being WHO? Who does WHAT to their foes.

    We’re actually an oligarchy and retarded aristocracy that masquerades as democracy with a written Constitution. However yes…the Republicans certainly understand their interests.

  10. Let’s do the math. Immigration soared in the 90s & 2000s at the same time as deep cuts in welfare & low unemployment.

    In recent years immigration has dropped, and reversed in the case of Mexico, at the same time as welfare is rapidly increasing & unemployment is stubbornly high.

    The time for a wall along the southern border was 20 years ago (if ever). That ship has long since sailed. Whatever law is passed will be attempting to address an issue that has already self corrected.

  11. What deep cuts in welfare? The Zero administration has gutted the Bill passed by Republicans while Clinton was President. The recent “drop off” in illegal immigration has more to do with Mexico’s 4.7% unemployment rate. There are also many other nationalities coming across the border, which is facilitated by Mexican coyotes.

  12. Federal spending, Obamacare and immigration are all FAR more important issues than gun rights. Unfortunately, a large hunk of the electorate cares far more about gun rights than the other issues. Perhaps not coincidentally, much of this hunk of the electorate are low information swing voters. So we will end up bankrupt, with universal Medicaid and inundated with underclass immigration – but we will still have gun rights. Great.

  13. If we are disarmed, the predation so far will seem tame by comparison.

    One does not disarm before madmen and criminals, or the United States Government…but I repeat myself.

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