Jonah Goldberg
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Running through a list of victims he was all too eager to politicize -- "The families of Newtown deserve a vote. The families of Aurora deserve a vote," etc. -- he brought the Democrats in the audience to their feet. Many in the press hailed it as one of the most moving moments of his presidency.

With the sort of willingness to politicize tragedy that is always denounced as the vilest cynicism when Republicans do anything of the sort, Obama and his paid OFA subalterns took to the streets and the airwaves waving the figurative bloody shirt of Newtown for months (with nary a peep of complaint from the same press corps that routinely denounced president Bush for politicizing 9/11).

But when it came time to clear the shin-level hurdle he set for himself and OFA, they face-planted in ground well short of the target.

And now, the president is going to run the same play, again. "If this Congress refuses to listen to the American people and pass common-sense gun legislation, then the real impact is going to have to come from the voters," he said in one of several bitter promises to turn gun control into an issue to win back Congress in 2014.

As Josh Kraushaar of National Journal noted, Obama couldn't misread the political environment heading into 2014 any worse. Why? Because the places where the Democrats need to win to take back the House -- the South and Mountain West -- are precisely those areas where even many Democrats disagree with the president on gun control. Making it a central issue in 2014 is a boon to Republicans.

The upshot of this is that we will now endure nearly another two years of Obama haranguing us about how it's him and "the people" against special interests and other evil forces who don't care about murdered children. Washington will become more shrill and get even less done, all because Obama's only play is an populist charade made possible by the fact he still believes his own bull----.

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Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
 
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