Why raise this tawdry irrelevancy, you ask? Because if Democrats think heinous demagoguery will give them a political advantage after Orlando, two can play at that game. Following the defeat of four gun-related measures in Congress' upper chamber on Monday evening, fact-averse Senator Chris Murphy declared that Republicans had come down on the side of selling weapons to ISIS. Lefty heartthrob and privilege-stealing fraudster Elizabeth Warren enthusiastically endorsed her colleague's loathsome framing, earning a rebuke from Nebraska Republican Ben Sasse:
This isn't true.— Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) June 20, 2016
You know it isn't true.
But that probably doesn't matter for your political purposes. https://t.co/uYum6Qrocp
Since liberal lawmakers have evidently decided that Republicans and the NRA share blame for the murderous actions of a committed jihadist (a US citizen who passed a background check, mind you), they ought to be reminded that mindless, partisan mud can be flung in the other direction. As I noted in my satirical piece last week, Omar Mateen was a registered Democrat. What was it about that party's rhetoric and agenda that so attracted a gay-slaughtering terrorist, I wondered sarcastically, fake-suggesting that elected Democrats and their media pals watch their language as to avoid fueling the 'climate of hate' that could cause additional massacres. Now we have a new detail via a Washington Post op/ed written by a former friend of Mateen's -- a fellow Muslim, it should be emphasized -- who reported the eventual killer to the FBI over his alarming behavior and remarks:
Omar and I continued to have infrequent conversations over the next few years. I last saw him at a dinner at his father’s house in January. We talked about the presidential election and debated our views of the candidates that were running – he liked Hillary Clinton and I liked Bernie Sanders. This banter continued through texts and phone calls for several months. My last conversation with Omar was by phone in mid-May. He called me while he was at the beach with his son to tell me about a vacation he’d taken with his father to Orlando the previous weekend. He’d been impressed by the local mosque.
To make it as clear as possible, Mateen's apparent support for Hillary Clinton is in no way a reflection on her, nor does it attach any responsibility for the horrors he inflicted to her campaign. At all. That said, I cannot help but contemplate whether his political preferences may have been treated differently by the media class if the shooter had been of a different ideological persuasion. Here's your answer to that hypothetical question, incidentally. In any case, much of the Democratic Party and media echo chamber appear to have decided that partisan point-scoring and opponent-shaming is more valuable than confronting (or even acknowledging) obvious truths, or actually solving any problems. Which brings us back to those previously-mentioned Senate gun votes. Republicans and a handful of Democrats scuttled two Democratic gun control proposals that critics said (a) offered insufficient civil liberties protections for eligible US citizens who find themselves erroneously added to secret government watch lists, and (b) could expand mandatory federal background checks in such a way that may necessitate a national gun registry to enforce. Two GOP alternative bills were filibustered and thwarted by Democrats, leading Gabriel Malor to conclude that the gun control lobby on Capitol Hill is more interested show votes and demonization than compromise or bipartisan progress:
Rather than agree to the incremental gun control measures Republicans proposed, the Democrats chose to pass no gun control legislation at all. At some point after loudly demanding legislation for more than a week, Senate Democrats decided it would be better for their reelection prospects that no gun control bills pass the Senate during the election season. Their decision was hypocritical, unprincipled, and pure politics. Republicans were willing to link the terrorism watch list to a gun sales ban, as Democrats have demanded. The price of agreement was due-process protections for Americans placed on the list. But apparently due process is too much for the Democrats. They would rather have no sales ban than a sales ban that comports with the Fifth Amendment. The Democrats similarly rejected an incremental expansion of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Apparently, some gun control is not worth sharing credit with the Republicans.
That's right, Republicans offered legislation that would have further tied the terrorist watch list to the screening process for potential gun-buyers ("the FBI is already alerted during the criminal background check process anytime someone on the watch list tries to purchase a gun, and it is already illegal for almost all of the people on the list to buy a gun," John McCormack reported last year), by allowing federal officials to delay approval for up to three days in order to allow prosecutors to present probable cause arguments before a judge. This was not good enough for Democrats, who voted in near-lockstep to ensure the bill's defeat. They could not abide affording that amount of due process to US citizens, insisting instead on a plan that would have given the government much more sweeping powers, while placing the onus on individuals to prove that they're deserving of exercising their constitutional rights. Many of these same Democrats also professed outrage over non-citizen enemy combatants -- actual terrorists -- being denied sufficient due process protections at Guantanamo Bay. They also rebuffed a Republican proposal to strengthen the existing federal background check system:
While Grassley's bill would steer more money towards the federal background check system and include provisions dealing with mental health, Democrats say that is not enough.
They declared marginal, cautious steps to be disqualifyingly unsatisfactory, actively chose to do nothing, then attacked Republicans for having done nothing. Actually, it's worse than that: They've slandered Republicans for wanting to arm ISIS, and smeared the NRA -- and Congress itself -- for 'complicity' in the bloodshed. Given the attempt to censor ISIS references from official transcripts of the killer's phone calls and the moral confusion about the overriding issue at play in Orlando, it's becoming increasingly and depressingly clear that a significant portion of our political leadership is incapable of dealing honestly or seriously with a deadly threat that should serve as a rallying point for unity, reasoned debate and shared resolve.