Schumer lies: I don't know of a single Democrat who supports Beto O'Rourke on gun confiscation

Schumer lies: I don't know of a single Democrat who supports Beto O'Rourke on gun confiscation

He doesn’t know Kamala Harris or Cory Booker, both of whom support O’Rourke’s gun-grabber fantasy?

I mean, they’ve been in the room during Senate Democratic caucus meetings for years now.

Between their mid-single-digit presidential polling and their frequent absences from the chamber to campaign, I suppose it’s understandable that they’d slip Schumer’s mind. Or … is he deliberately misleading the public about this because he knows O’Rourke’s “take the guns” plea is a political calamity for gun-control and for the party?

When he says “any other Democrat,” does he mean any other Democrat *in Congress* or any other Democrat anywhere? Because each of those claims is a lie even if you exclude Booker and Harris. The Squad hasn’t spoken up about Beto’s plan yet, likely because they don’t want to risk giving his candidacy a boost with progressives that might undermine Bernie or Warren, but I’d bet good money that they’re all aboard with a mandatory buyback. How could they not be? Their politics is to take the maximalist left-wing position on every issue. That’s what Beto did.

If Schumer meant Democratic voters generally, well…

Supporting confiscation is a safe-ish issue in very blue jurisdictions. In a national campaign with a purplish electorate, it’s not so safe, as O’Rourke is discovering. In a red state it’s political poison, of course, which explains why Joe Manchin from West Virginia sounds like he wants to fight Beto:

“Beto’s one human being,” Manchin said. “He gave his own opinion, OK? I think it was very harmful to make it look like all the Democrats. I can tell you one thing: Beto O’Rourke’s not taking my guns away from me. You tell Beto that OK?”

Eh. If Beto’s stunt at last week’s debate didn’t kill off the gun-control talks in Congress, Trump’s squeamishness about committing to anything would have. The Times has an update on that mysterious background-check proposal Bill Barr was shopping around on Capitol Hill yesterday. It came from the White House, yet Trump aides were adamant in telling reporters that the president hadn’t signed off on it or anything else. It was, in other words, a pure trial balloon, likely aimed at gauging how the right-most side of the Republican caucus would react to it. Answer: Not well.

Republicans who favor gun rights said they wanted more specifics, and several said it was pointless to even talk about Mr. Barr’s plan at this point. As the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, the attorney general will be a central figure in the debate over gun legislation, but senators agree that the president will have the final say.

“My question was: ‘Where is the president on this?’ And I asked this question directly: ‘Is this something the president supports?’ And they didn’t have an answer for that,” said Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, who met with Mr. Barr on Tuesday evening. “That’s an important piece. If the president doesn’t support it, then there’s no point.”

And Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who also met with Mr. Barr on Tuesday evening, warned against any legislation that “raised the specter of confiscation” and said he was not interested in a bill that would “restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”

So, yeah, it’s not happening. Trump could almost certainly get the bill passed over Hawley’s and Cruz’s objections if he endorsed it but then he’d have other prominent Republican pols to his right on a nuclear-hot cultural issue. And that’s an uncomfortable place for President Populist to be.

Here’s Beto yesterday on CNN doing a little damage control by emphasizing that only “weapons of war” would be confiscated under his administration, not weapons designed for self-defense. That plan would last about five seconds after it was implemented, of course, as Democrats quickly realized that confiscating assault rifles will do next to nothing to reduce total gun violence in the United States.

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David Strom 9:21 PM on March 24, 2023