Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Friday, December 21, 2012


Safety is job one not our concern.

Today, blogs are supposed to go "silent" - whatever that means - and bells will ring 26 times and we will pause and remember.

People around here are filling baskets with school supplies for the kids from Sandy Hook who have to go to new schools.  The United Way is taking donations.  My Facebook feed is cluttered with obituaries.

We've reached that stage where people want to do something.  After a few days of numb and tear-stained disbelief, people now want something to happen.  They want clear answers about Lanza that aren't going to come.  They want a ban on assault weapons that won't pass the House.

This is not just a tragedy in Newtown, although it will always be first and foremost about the families who have to deal with unspeakable grief.  It is also about the failure of our institutions to protect us.  And having failed to protect us, it is about the failure of our institutions to respond to our needs.

The gun "conversation" we may or may not be about to have is in some ways already over.  Boehner can't get his caucus to vote on tax cuts, for crying out loud.  How can he get them to vote on an assault weapon's ban?  We will respond to a tragedy unmatched since 9/11 by nibbling around the margins because the institutions of a democratic government are broken.

Yesterday, I posted the polling numbers about a public desire for common sense gun control.  But we already know that none of those measures will pass.  And because of gerrymandering, none of the Republican congressional delegations that oppose this measure will pay a price.

Last Friday, we saw the unconscionable deaths of 6 and 7 year old kids.  Over the next few months, we will watch the impotence of our political system.


“It weakens the entire Republican Party, the Republican majority. It’s the continuing dumbing-down of the Republican Party and we are going to be seen more and more as a bunch of extremists that can’t even get a majority of our own people to support policies that we’re putting forward,” LaTourette said.

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