Michael Barone
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Then there is gun control. Some recent media polls show majority support for further restrictions on guns. If you phrase the question the right way, you tend to get that kind of response, especially after a horrifying crime like Newtown.

But new restrictions are unlikely to have any significant practical effect. The ban on assault weapons -- a category defined mostly by cosmetics -- certainly had none in the 10 years it was in effect.

The fact is that we have many more guns and many fewer murders than we did 20 years ago. Allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons, as most states do, has not resulted in the street shootouts some predicted.

Strict state gun control laws did not stop the carnage in Newtown or the frequent killings on the streets of Chicago. The push for gun control is more a symbolic gesture than a serious attempt at governing.

Something better can be said about Obama's call for immigration law changes. The need for some change is clear.

That was also true in Obama's first two years, when he did nothing to advance legislation on the subject when Democrats had a solid majorities in Congress.

The question is whether Obama wants legislation or to stick it to the opposition. Many Republicans, like Sen. Marco Rubio, are ready to support legalization of those brought here as children but not immediate legalization for all 11 million illegals.

Negotiations and compromises will be needed to get a bill through Congress. A president interested in governing would not insist on getting his way 100 percent. Whether Obama is such a president is far from clear.

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Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM