As the mother of two small children, I am open to any constitutional method that will actually succeed in preventing another Newtown-style massacre.
Not surprisingly, the left is pushing more gun control. But based on the experiences of Britain and Australia in banning guns, more gun control isn't going to address the problem
It feels good to pass a law -- if we can affix blame on a specific phenomenon (like widespread gun ownership) and then legislate against it, that restores our sense of control over our children's well-being and confidence in our own efficacy.
But it seems like plain common sense that before we go infringing on constitutional rights -- or any rights, for that matter -- there should be clear, demonstrable proof that the law being contemplated actually succeeds in doing what its proponents promise.
In A Christmas Carol, the ghost of Jacob Marley wails in regret, "Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence, were, all, my business. The dealings of my trade were but a drop of water in the comprehensive ocean of my business!"
Here, our "trade" is political commentary. But tonight, to commemorate the wondrous star that shone over the hope of the world, is the Nativity story from the book of Luke:
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyre'ni-us was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, (because he was of the house and lineage of David,) 5 to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 ¶ And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace,
good will toward men.
What happened in the House last night was a debacle, but the truth is that there's plenty of blame to go around.
You're not going to read it in the MSM, but you read it here: If Democrats really cared about protecting the middle class from tax hikes, they would have provided enough votes (35 or so) to pass Plan B in the House, especially given that the plan had originally been the Democrats.' But hey, House Republicans handed them a weapon, and they seized it.
Harry Reid had already said nothing was coming from the Senate -- not surprising since he hasn't passed a budget in three years -- even though Senate legislation could have been used to negotiate with the House's passage of Plan B and avoid the cliff. The reason? Supposedly, Plan B doesn't tax enough people for the Democrats.. . and because the Dems have no interest in any spending cuts, whatever the impending fiscal catastrophe in years to come.
The political malpractice is bipartisan. Republicans will be complicit in tax increases for middle income Americans because they wouldn't support a tax increase limited to millionaires -- and they have handed Democrats a tactical weapon the Democrats will use to try to destroy them, and sown dissension within their own ranks.
For their part, Democrats will be responsible for the across-the-board tax increases because they want to tax as many people as possible -- and because they simply want to benefit politically at the Republicans' expense, whatever the cost to the American economy.
What a crew.
As for the President, he's really irrelevant. By now, anyone with eyes to see knows that he has no interest in any serious negotiation, compromise or governance. If he doesn't get his way -- or reap a political advantage -- then he truly has no interest.
Absolutely appalling all around. And what's been lost in all the political posturing is any genuine concern for the best interests of the American people and the economy of this country.
Yes, that's sarcasm.
Rather than vote for a plan that would have allowed the GOP to argue that Democrats were taking America over the cliff as a result of their refusal to back their own leaders' previous plan to raise taxes on those making $1 million per year, the GOP will now be blamed for taking America over the cliff as a result of a stubborn refusal to back tax increases on million dollar earners.
Yes, I wanted John Boehner to step down before wanting him to step down was cool. I've not been a huge fan, but he was trying to help Republicans salvage something from the very poor hand they were already trying to play. Grover Norquist understood what he was trying to do, and was willing to go along. Others did not, and would not.
As a result, expect Democrats to make sure everyone knows -- if we go over the cliff -- it's because, in part, Republicans couldn't even decide among themselves to raise taxes on millionaires . . . and were willing to let regular Americans suffer as a result. May not be accurate, may not be true. Won't matter -- you know the MSM.
As I said, well played, Republicans. Geeeez. As I just said to my husband earlier this evening, this sort of thing makes me wonder why I even get invested (no pun intended, though the market's already plunged since the news).
Look, I get how difficult it is for any member of the Republican caucus to vote for a tax increase, even one on those making $1 million or more per year.
But at this point, it's the best of bad options. Opposing it means subjecting everybody to a big tax hike, when we go over the fiscal cliff, AND getting blamed for it by the Democrats. If "Plan B" passes, the GOP can at least point out that they took a tough vote in order to spare as many people as possible from the tax hike the President was determined to impose at almost any cost.
It's entirely likely that we could go over the cliff anyway. But at that point, it's the Democrats' fault . . . not the Republicans'. And that's the best outcome for which we can hope at this time.
I guess I just don't see what opposing any tax increase gets the Republicans. It's effectively allowing a tax increase on the middle class, along with the "evil rich." With Plan B, at least the GOP has a case to make to the myriad of low-information voters out there like this one.
Many people and groups I respect see this entirely differently. So what am I not understanding?
As much as I oppose any tax increase on any American -- much as President Obama once did -- it seems to me that there is at least some political merit in Speaker Boehner's bringing "Plan B" to a vote in the Congress. If President Obama vetoes it, we go over the cliff because of what he did. Majority Leader Reid refuses to bring it up in the Senate, to amend it so that a House-Senate compromise can be reached, it's on him. They're refusing to support, or negotiate based on, a plan they once supported because they think there's political advantage, for them, in inflicting pain on a large number of Americans when all the Bush tax cuts expire and we go over the cliff. . . and because Democrats always want more taxes on more people, not fewer taxes on anyone.
If the press reports with even any modicum of accuracy on this, it's going to be clear who's seeking political advantage rather than a solution. The GOP has already caved on the concept of tax increases. Where is any comparable concession on the part of Democrats?
President Obama has announced that he will tap Joe Biden to lead a task force to craft policies to curb gun violence. It strikes me that this is above all a cynical move by the President, designed to buy time to gauge public sentiment about just how far he and the Democrats can push gun control without outraging normal Americans.
Consider this: There have been plenty of liberal efforts to push gun control in the past -- indeed, state senator Barack Obama had some very detailed anti-gun prescriptions way back in 1999. If he were truly committed to taking a stand right here, right now, the President could simply reiterate those demands, or call for the Senate to pass Dianne Feinstin's proposed ban on assault weapons, or call for federal legislation mimicking the new California proposal to close "loopholes" in assault weapons bans and restrict the sale of ammunition.
But he's not. Instead, he's outsourcing it to a committee, which is often where politically tricky issues go to die. That's because Democrats have been aware in recent years that their gun control stance was hurting them among white males in rural areas like West Virginia, and tempered their stance accordinglly. That's why -- in the elegant rhetoric long associated wtih him -- Joe Biden (now described as a "longtime gun control advocate" by the Associated Press) had this to say in 2008: "I guarantee you Barack Obama aint' taking my shotguns."
Given the President's obvious hesitation to entertain the gun issue before his reelection, it's clear he's aware of those numbers and that history. Indeed, a piece by a Chicago journalist just last summer pointed out the political motivation for the contradiction between Obama's stance on gun control as a state senator and as president, noting:
For Obama, it’s a political calculation. Obama’s weakest demographic is white men without college degrees. He’s getting only 29 percent of their votes. Working-class white men have struggled during the recession, so Obama wants to make an economic argument for their support, especially in the Rust Belt swing states of Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. But they’re also culturally conservative and disproportionately rural, which means they cherish gun rights. They’re already suspicious of Obama because he’s a big city African-American liberal. If he comes out in favor of gun control, they’re not going to listen to him on jobs or any other issue. These same voters punished Democrats for passing the 1994 assault weapons ban, giving Republicans control of the House for the first time in 40 years.
That’s why we’re not going to hear about gun control between now and Election Day.
However sincere Obama's pain at the death of the Sandy Hook children may be, it's still not enough to get him to take any personal political risk. His plan seems to be -- as par for the course with him -- say what he thinks his base needs to hear, then outsource responsibility for actuallly coming up with something. This committee is a way to establish "plausible deniability" if need be, while Democrats figure out just how much government intrusion into gun ownership they can get away with.
Judge Robert Bork has died. Although he was best known by the public for the contentious Supreme Court hearings that resulted in his nomination to the Supreme Court being defeated -- and because the malicious lies about his views purveyed by the likes of Ted Kennedy created the term "Borking" -- he held a significant place in American public life for a long time.
He was an antitrust scholar, a Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General and a judge on the DC Circuit. He was also the author of fine books including Slouching Toward Gomorrah and The Tempting of America.
By all accounts, he was a man of great intellect and personal integrity -- who refused to tailor his views to prevailing notions of political correctness. He paid a price for that.
But he was a great American whose contributions to American jurisprudence and legal thought will long endure.
May he rest in peace.
We all know there's plenty of bias in the reporting that's done by the MSM: The adulation fro President Obama, the handy re-invention of taxes as "investments," the continued insistence (against all evidence) that Tea Partiers are the source of violence and incivility in our political culture.
But here's a handy reminder that media bias doesn't exist only in what is reported -- there's also bias in what goes unreported, too. As the invaluable Newsbusters tells us, neither ABC nor CBS bothered to report on the historic nomination of Tim Scott to the US Senate. This despite the fact that Scott will be the only African American senator currently serving, represented the district where the Civil War actually began, is one of only two African American senators post-Reconstruction (the Democrats have had three -- Carol Moseley Braun, Roland Burris and Barack Obama). What's more, he is taking the seat held for decades by Strom Thurmond, who was once a segregationist.
But nothing here worth reporting, no sir.
This morning, when I took my children to school, there was a guard at the gate for the first time. Obviously, the school intended it as a thoughtful gesture for anxious mothers.
But that's the point. Most of the "solutions" being touted offer only a false sense of security. To that point, Ron Fournier had a compelling piece in today's National Journal, titled "What If Nothing or Nobody is to Blame for Adam Lanza?" Fournier writes:
What if there is nothing or nobody to blame? Would that make this inexplicable horror unbearable?
What if we didn't rush to judgement? What if we didn't waste our thoughts, prayers and actions on assigning blame for the sake of mere recrimination? What if we calmly and ruthlessly learned whatever lessons we can from the massacre -- and prevented the next one?
What if it wasn't one thing, but everything, that set off Lanza?
Indeed. What if, like most things in life, Lanza was the product of genetics and environment? In his remarks last night, the President had this to say:
If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try.
But what if there isn't "one step"? What if it required banning guns, AND violent movies, AND violent video games -- and even then, you knew that killers would just turn instead to homemade bombs, and cars, and knives?
It's easy to hold out the simplistic, false hope that there is "one step" that can stop heartrending tragedies like this. But in the long run, is it really doing anyone a service to pretend that there is a "one step" answer that will work, when evidence indicates -- over and over -- that it isn't one factor but many that result in this kind of evil and the resulting suffering?