Obama to Dems: Back my gun-control play or I won't campaign for you

It turns out that Barack Obama wants to play hardball on gun control with everyone. The President penned an essay for the New York Times which went online shortly before the start of his CNN town hall on gun issues. For the most part, Obama regurgitated the same arguments he’s made all along, but almost buried in the middle of the column was a new threat, this one aimed at Democrats who won’t play ball with him in Congress:


Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen. I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve.

Where to start with this threat? First, the numbers behind it are laughable. The “90%” claim comes from this Gallup poll showing 86% of people favor universal background checks for all gun purchases.” That’s what we already have, except for personal transactions, usually between family members. Online and gun-show sales from retailers still require a background check through a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL), and the change Obama announced only made an ambiguity between retailers and hobbyists even more ambiguous. In poll after poll, though, Americans don’t consider gun control a primary or even secondary public issue, and recently two media polling series have shown majority opposition to so-called “assault weapons” bans for the first time.

The disconnect between Obama’s “90%” rhetoric and reality can be seen in the makeup of Congress. Obama started pushing hard on gun control in 2013, at the start of his second term. If “90% of Americans” wanted gun control expanded, why did Democrats suffer such a sharp loss in the next midterm election?

That’s why this threat to Democrats on gun control is silly, and evidence of a lack of contact with reality. Democrats in safe seats can afford to talk about gun control and don’t really need Obama to campaign for them, although they wouldn’t mind his fundraising and organization. Democrats in swing states and districts won’t want to remind voters that their party has decided again to go all in on gun control, and won’t want Obama within 50 miles of their campaign anyway. In fact, his efforts make using Obama’s personal qualities even more risky on the campaign trail for these Democrats in purple areas, and that includes the next Democratic nominee.


Speaking of separations from reality, Obama took a moment during his town hall last night to dismiss the concerns of a rape survivor who wants to provide for her own self-defense. Obama followed up by suggesting she might be too careless to manage firearm ownership:


He pointed out that, though he didn’t think Corban’s guns necessarily made her safer, he’s not trying to take them away.

“I just want to repeat that there’s nothing that we’ve proposed that would make it harder for you to purchase a firearm.” And: “You have to be pretty well trained in order to fire a weapon against somebody who is assaulting you and catches you by surprise.” And: “There’s always the possibility that that firearm in a home leads to a tragic accident.” And: “All I’m focused on is making sure that a terrible crime like yours that was committed is not made easier because somebody can go on the Internet and just buy whatever weapon they want without us finding out whether they’re a criminal or not.”

Corban wasn’t impressed.

“I would say it was more of a non-response,” she told The Post. “He kind of dodged the question.” …

Saying Obama was working without a script or a teleprompter, Corban criticized the president’s insistence on talking about how guns endanger children every time he “got jammed” at the town hall. Doesn’t he understand that she has guns because she wants to keep her children safe in her family’s home?

“That’s where I understand this violence happens,” she said, mentioning that her daughter will be a year old soon. “It’s not just on the news. It’s not just in far-off places. My nightmares are real. They are my memories. I don’t want that for my own kid.”


Obama’s utter condescension was not limited to his New York Times virtue-signaling op-ed, in other words.

Update: I forgot to link to the Washington Post on the Corban story, which I fixed above, and corrected a grammatical error as well.

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David Strom 12:31 PM on November 29, 2023