The Consequences of Doing Nothing

Erick Erickson
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Posted: Jan 08, 2016 12:01 AM
The Consequences of Doing Nothing

"If you see 10 troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you," said the ever wise Calvin Coolidge, who was both the best American President and most conservative. Washington politicians of both parties, in an ever-greater quest to play to the crowd and earn free media, are desperate to just do something.

Thus the other day President Obama announced he would take executive action to curtail gun purchases in the United States. His action comes at a time more and more Americans are buying guns to keep themselves safe, convinced the government cannot keep us safe. Gun company stocks soared on the news of the President's actions.

What of the regulations? Doctors can now feel free to report patients to the government if they determine the patient is mentally ill. Such a patient will be unable to buy a gun. Trust between a doctor and patient is less important than Barack Obama's desire to just do something.

Likewise, the President will supposedly close the "gun show loophole," requiring background checks at gun shows. There are hundreds of gun shows in the United States and, to my knowledge, every single one already sees purchasers undergoing background checks before buying guns.

The Associated Press, within 24 hours of the president's executive action, declared that not one of the President's steps would have kept a gun out of the hands of a mass shooter. But the President shed a tear on live television, so that is okay. He compared Internet gun purchases to shopping on Amazon, which is absolutely not true, but is also something people who have never bought a gun believe.

President Obama's actions were designed to just do something. He saw troubles on the road and decided to race toward them instead of waiting for them to bounce off the road. As several studies have noted, gun deaths in the United States are in decline. The one thing not in decline includes armed jihadists shooting up the place. Since Barack Obama became President, those gun incidents are on the rise and his actions will do nothing to stop those.

According to the political left, it does not matter. What matters is that the President shed a tear and did something. The very same people overcome with joy by the power of the President's tear were just a few weeks ago ridiculing and attacking Republican politicians for offering "thoughts and prayers" over the terrorist attack in California. Their thoughts and prayers were nothing compared to President Obama's tears and executive order that, again, would not have stopped a single mass shooting.

We have reached peak political theater with this President and his tenure in office. He seems obliged to take actions to "just do something," even when those actions will amount to nothing. The press corps and political left -- I repeat myself -- hail him as a bold leader who is unafraid to act. Meanwhile, the status quo does not change.

It is a consequence of children running our government. They have decided to forego reality for a fantasy world. Associated Press reporter Matt Lee confronted State Department spokesman John Kirby about this fantasy world. After news of a North Korean hydrogen bomb test, Lee told Kirby, "Every time this happens, we hear from people in this administration and other governments as well that we will not accept North Korea as a nuclear armed state. And yet it is." He also pointed out the United States government said the same thing about Crimea as part of Russia.

Kirby denied the Administration is living in a fantasy world, then refused to acknowledge reality. "At this level of foreign policy, you have to make choices and you don't have to accept everything," Kirby said refusing to both acknowledge Russia now controls Crimea and North Korea has a nuclear bomb program.

Kirby should not have stopped there. The administration also refuses to accept reality on guns, immigration, education, healthcare, and so much more. But at least the President shed a tear instead of offering "thoughts and prayers." He just did something, though it will amount to nothing.