Textbook O. First, almost obligatorily, the speech is built on the assumption that his opponents are callous to the point of malignancy. Read the transcript and you’ll see that he’s all but given up arguing policy on this; it’s a straight-up, 13-minute-long guilt trip, essentially the same point Jim Carrey made the other day but with less colorful language. If you disagree with him, it’s because you’ve “forgotten those kids.” Second, leave it to O to try to revive momentum for gun control with yet another speech after he spent weeks trying and failing to build durable momentum for it by, er, making speeches. All I could think of while watching was “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan,” which he repeated several thousand times during 2009 and which, as you know, helped make ObamaCare the fantastically popular program it is today. Gun control is arguably an even heavier lift for red-state Democrats than O-Care was, and while there are things he could do to make it a bit easier, he’d rather give speeches, I guess. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
Because he hates the children or something, Mike Lee mustered the temerity to respond:
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, one of three senators setting a 60-vote threshold for the gun legislation, was unmoved by Obama’s speech. “It is deeply unfortunate that he continues to use the tragedy at Newtown as a backdrop for pushing legislation that would have done nothing to prevent that horrible crime,” Lee said in a statement. “This debate is about more than magazine clips and pistol grips. It is about the purpose of the Second Amendment and why our constitutionally protected right to self-defense is an essential part of self-government.”
Joel Gehrke, who posted Lee’s statement at the Examiner, notes that Obama spent more time on background checks in today’s speech than he did on “assault weapons.” (In fact, the term “assault weapons” is never used. O opted instead for the phrase “weapons of war,” which ought to bump the poll numbers for an AWB ban up another 5-10 points.) That’s interesting because he and Biden have insisted lately that they aren’t giving up on the assault-weapons ban, even if Harry Reid has. If ever there was a moment to try to rally red-state Democrats to grit their teeth and support Feinstein’s bill, if only so that the Dems could get to 50 in the Senate and then blame the GOP for filibustering, this was it. Did O give them a pass because he thinks it’s more important not to force those Democrats to take a very tough vote on the AWB might hand the Senate back to the GOP next year? Is that also why rich liberals are now making background checks, not the AWB, the litmus test for Democratic incumbents? Sounds to me like some people have forgotten about the children.