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

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Obama's Having A Rough Week

Time to treat Obama like a pinata. 

While things aren't going exactly swimmingly in my life, Obama's having a bad week, too.

Some of it is trivial - calling Kemala Harris the best looking AG in the country - but there are two other problems.

First, he's kicked off a shitstorm over Chained CPI.  Josh Marshall gives a good take on his possible thinking here.  Obama has a terrible habit of negotiating with himself and this feels like that poor posturing all over again.  He's also called out a full Circular Firing Squad, as Progressives have launched an email blitz against this.  I can hardly blame them, because - while Chained CPI isn't a life or death issue for me - I think his pattern of offering concession to a recalcitrant GOP is just poor politics.

But the real problem he has is that gun safety measures are dying on the vine.  It doesn't look like they have the votes in the Senate for a sensible background check.  Over 90% of Americans support this freaking idea and yet he can't get the Coward Caucus to even give him a majority vote in the Senate.

The rise of the NRA is a fascinating development in American politics.  I think I've written about it before, but here's my take.

In the early '90s, Clinton and the Democrats did two big things: they raised taxes to a responsible level and they passed an assault weapons ban.  They failed to pass any of the big ideas Clinton ran on: health care reform and national service.  But they got taxes and guns passed.

But the economy didn't bounce back as soon as they needed.  Plus, with a Democrat in the White House for the first time since 1980, a regional re-alignment culminated in 1994.  The old cohort of conservative Southern Democrats went down to defeat, because the conservative Southern voters could not longer reconcile voting for local Democrats with the national party.  The Boll Weevils of the '80s became the Newt Gingrichs of the '90s.

And the NRA took credit for that.

An analogy on the Left would be if Planned Parenthood were to take credit for 2012, when in fact 2012 was just another example of demographic based voting trends.

The NRA is a paper tiger, and Newtown was an opportunity to take a match to it.

But the Democrats blew it, and worse, Obama worked really hard on this.  While the failure isn't entirely his fault, this is the sort of legislative loss that can cripple a second term.

Obama needs a win.

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