Almost thirty five years ago, an obscure tape recording of President Nixon’s conversations with advisors came to light, revealing his knowledge of the Watergate break-in and leading to his resignation of the presidency. That recording became known as the “smoking gun.” Now another smoking gun has come to light, revealing Barack Obama’s real views on many issues, including gun ownership and the Second Amendment. It could cost him millions of votes in November, and the presidency.
Barack Obama currently leads Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic nomination. As things stand today, he is favored to win the nomination and face Republican John McCain in November.
The campaign that has brought Obama this far is premised on the idea that he is some sort of post-partisan, transcendent figure who could bring America together and bridge the divide between the Red States and the Blue States.
But in the past couple weeks America has been getting glimpses of a Barack Obama that is nothing like this manufactured image. Between his spiritual leader’s anti-American tirades and his off-the-cuff comments, Obama is looking less like a unifying figure and more like an ultra-left political activist.
When it comes to gun rights, Obama recently stated in a press conference he believes the Second Amendment speaks to an individual right. He said, “There is an individual right to bear arms, but it is subject to common-sense regulation just like most of our rights are subject to common-sense regulation.” He explained what he means by common-sense regulation, “I think that local jurisdictions have the capacity to institute their own gun laws . . . the City of Chicago has gun laws, as does Washington, D.C.” He went on, “The notion that somehow local jurisdictions can’t initiate gun safety laws . . . isn’t borne out by our Constitution.” In other words, the DC handgun ban is okay with candidate Barack Obama.
Like many of Obama’s contradictions, his stated belief in the individual rights view of the Second Amendment is at odds with his support for DC’s categorical ban on handguns. That law is currently being challenged in District of Columbia v. Heller, now pending before the Supreme Court. Fifty five senators and 250 house members (including many Democrats in both chambers) signed a brief in that case supporting the individual rights view. Obama was not one of them.
And now we know why. As has been reported all week, in 1996 Obama filled out a candidate questionnaire where he revealed his true beliefs on all sorts of subjects, from abortion to school choice.
One question that has not gotten much attention, however, asks if Obama supports legislation to, “ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.” His one-word answer—uncommonly direct and lacking the flowery eloquence we’ve come to expect from him—was “Yes.”
His answer could cost him the presidency. Since gun control became a partisan political issue in the late 1960s, the only two Democrats to win the White House (Carter and Clinton) have done so by portraying themselves to America as moderate, “common-sense” politicians in sync with Middle America. Supporting an absolute ban on owning any pistol or revolver is at odds with a vast super-majority of Americans, and shows Barack Obama to be far outside the mainstream of American politics.
National Democrat leaders don’t support an absolute ban on handguns. Some far-left politicians from liberal strongholds such as San Francisco, Chicago (where Obama is from) and New York City may tout such extremist measures, but not anyone trying to carry Pennsylvania, Michigan or Ohio in a presidential election. The last time a Democrat nominee supported a ban on handguns was Michael Dukakis, and we all know how that election ended.
Millions of hard-working voters in swing states like Pennsylvania are staunch gun owners. Many of them don’t have a problem with what some people call “reasonable regulations” on guns, but when you start talking about banning guns outright, they vote against you. Barack Obama is now on record with just such a radical agenda.
A smoking gun in the form of a tape recording cost Richard Nixon the presidency in 1974. Another smoking gun in the form of a questionnaire could cost Barack Obama the presidency in 2008. And 90 million American gun owners will be better off if it does.