The McCain campaign shows once again that they have honed the rapid-response instincts in the campaign by quickly arranging a conference call for the media on the Heller decision and gun control within an hour of the decision. Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and senior policy adviser Randy Scheunemann spoke about the decision and what it means, as well as how Barack Obama’s reversal on Heller affects the race.

As one might expect, it got off to a late start, par for the course for a quickly-arranged presser.  After 25 minutes, Brian Rogers kicked off the festivities with introductions.  Brownback started with a short statement expressing delight in the Heller decision, which he called “a long time coming”.  Brownback expressed amazement at Obama’s flip-flop on the DC gun ban today, calling it either “an incredible flip-flop or incredible inexperience”.  The entire debate on the DC gun ban has focused on whether the 2nd Amendment was a collective or individual right.  Brownback says Obama is simply an opportunist who is moving to the Right in order to compete in the general election.

He also warned that the next flip-flop will probably be on Iraq.  Brownback notes that he himself didn’t support the surge, but acknowledged his error and John McCain’s wisdom when it succeeded.  Why can’t the Democrats do that?  Obama talks bipartisanship, but his actions don’t match his words.

Scheunemann covered the shifts in positions coming from Barack Obama on this and other positions.  Obama didn’t sign the amicus brief despite several of his Democratic colleagues joining McCain.  He has supported gun bans in the past that resembled the DC version.  Obama, Scheunemann says, has established that he holds no position that he won’t change for political opportunism.  NAFTA, FISA, Jerusalem, and many other positions have changed, and sometimes rather rapidly.  Obama was wrong on the surge and wanted firm timetables for withdrawal, and the McCain campaign figures that another flip-flop may be coming.

Questions:

  • Election Night: Will Heller hurt McCain in the suburbs? — Brownback says no.  McCain wound up on the right side of the issue, and stuck to his guns [my pun] while Obama has vacillated.
  • USA Today: What about Bush’s announcement on North Korea? — Campaign will have a statement later.
  • Me: Fort Leavenworth and Gitmo? — The court found that their location doesn’t matter, so why close Gitmo at all?  We don’t have to move them, according to SCOTUS.  The disciplinary barracks are not set up for maximum security save for 30 beds or so.
  • IBD: Does this Heller decision end the debate, or does it make a difference in the election?  The narrow victory shows how important the presidential election will be.  Do we appoint strict constructionists in the next four years, or more of the four who couldn’t see the individual rights in the 2nd Amendment?  This could come back before the Court, and do we want more judicial activists instead?  Follow-up: McCain supported background checks; does this leave him open to charges of flip-flopping?  Scheunemann — No, he wanted the same kind of sales processes at gun shows as in gun stores.  That doesn’t prevent people from purchasing guns.
  • Who ought to be able to purchase guns — children, non-violent felons, immigrants?  McCain supports the restrictions in place now, and Heller doesn’t affect these.  The DC gun ban kept law-abiding citizens from owning guns, a much different issus.
  • McCain’s rating from the NRA hasn’t been great; won’t Obama make that an issue?  Brownback says no.  The central point is that McCain supports private ownership and the individual right to own guns, as well as strict constructionists on the Court.  McCain went to the NRA convention and has supported the organization’s initiatives.  My own thoughts: HA!  Ha ha ha ha ha ha!  I’d love to see Obama try that!