December 15, 2012

Is Obama a man of "meaningful action" when it comes to gun control?

Let's go back to December 30, 1999, an article in the Chicago Tribune:
In a surreal day of political maneuvering, even for Springfield, [Senate President James "Pate" Philip] defied [Gov. George Ryan] for the third time this month, leaving the governor glowering and vowing to make passage of the [gun control] bill his priority when the spring session begins Jan. 12. ... Ryan began the day confident his last-minute push across the state had won him enough votes to prevail over his chief Republican nemesis.

But then the governor discovered that two senators who had promised to vote for his compromise bill — Barack Obama (D-Chicago) and Kathleen Parker (R-Northbrook) — had decided to remain on vacation instead of returning to the capital for the third special session since the original law was struck down on Dec. 2.

Furious, Ryan tried to track them down, hoping to send a state plane to whisk them back to Springfield. But no one was in Parker's office, and aides to Obama, who was in Hawaii, refused to tell the governor's staff how to find him....
Here's Obama's version of the story from "The Audacity of Hope" (which I was searching for evidence of his opinion on gun control):
[D]uring the Christmas holidays, after having traveled to Hawaii for an abbreviated five-day trip to visit my grandmother and reacquaint myself with Michelle and then-eighteen-month-old Malia, the state legislature was called back into special session to vote on a piece of gun control legislation. With Malia sick and unable to fly, I missed the vote, and the bill failed. Two days later, I got off the red-eye at O’Hare Airport, a wailing baby in tow, Michelle not speaking to me, and was greeted by a front-page story in the Chicago Tribune indicating that the gun bill had fallen a few votes short, and that state senator and congressional candidate Obama “had decided to remain on vacation” in Hawaii. My campaign manager called, mentioning the potential ad [incumbent Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush] might be running soon—palm trees, a man in a beach chair and straw hat sipping a mai tai, a slack key guitar being strummed softly in the background, the voice-over explaining, “While Chicago suffered the highest murder rate in its history, Barack Obama…”
(For what it's worth: Rush's son had been shot to death in October.)

Is Obama a man of "meaningful action" when it comes down to real gun-control legislation? I'm betting no. He'll talk about guns when plying liberals with lines like "cling to guns or religion" and while performing in the Theater of Grief after a momentous massacre, but when it comes to actual action, he's more the man in the beach chair and straw hat sipping a mai tai .

42 comments:

Michael K said...

I hope you are right but he will probably get a supreme court nomination this term. That will end the Heller majority.

Ann Althouse said...

"I hope you are right but he will probably get a supreme court nomination this term. That will end the Heller majority."

That's silly unless you're predicting a death.

Ginsburg was a dissenter in Heller (of course).

edutcher said...

ObamaTax was meaningful action and it's Chuckie Schumer and friends that are now suddenly horrified to find out what's in it after they passed it.

Dictator Zero may do something (his "mandate", doncha know) or not (assuming he really didn't win and the gun guys are the majority), but even the demos will come to regret it.

AJ Lynch said...

We know he and his wife rarely skip an opportunity for meaningful vacations.

Humperdink said...

Went to my local sporting goods store this morning. The parking lot was full. Several people were purchasing firearms. The instant background check telephone line was busy. And busy. And busy.

It was apparent to me the client base at the store is expecting the President to be a man of action the go-round.

bpm4532 said...

It just depends on how much money he can make 'er raise off it.

Bob said...

Ginsburg is the most likely, yes, but Scalia and Thomas are both old men, now.

Obama was notorious for voting "present" in his Chicago days.

Bob Boyd said...

I hope you're right, but what's changed is Obama doesn't have another election in his future.

creeley23 said...

A full-court press on gun control is coming. That's what Fast and Furious was about after all, though it failed and many people were killed.

You can forget about the economy -- the rest of Obama's second term will continue the "transformation" of America to the satisfaction of the progressive agenda.

Some people were persuaded by Obama's tears and choking up yesterday. That's just his "blank screen" method acting. He's a cold, prickly, dishonest SOB and it's all about getting what he wants.

Joe Schmoe said...

I think Obama's a sucky president. The suckiest of my lifetime.

However, I can sympathize with him IF the reason was his marriage was falling apart and he prioritized that over his job. I'm okay with that and would've done something similar.

In the passage Ann quoted, he's not-so-subtly saying that his marriage was on the rocks. Also remember the rumor a few months ago about Michelle having divorce papers drawn up. It could have been from this period.

So while I will agree with Ann that he talks a good game (if you're a Democrat) about gun control while doing nothing about it, I don't think this episode best exemplifies his apathy.

pbAndjFellowRepublican said...

Why bother looking for clues in BHO's book? Why doesn't Althouse figure out his real meaning by interpreting his hair color, again?

P.S. I have my own theory based BHO's books and guns. BHO is against gun control because he learned to love gun culture while he was a choom gangster.



AllenS said...

You're a fool to believe anything that comes out of Obama's mouth.

garage mahal said...

TEACHERS: We must take your unions away and replace them with guns.

America Exceptionalism!

Erika said...

I realize this is beside the point but what I notice about that passage is the missus pouting and sulking because he had a demanding job that the public was paying him to do. Cripes, what a bitch.

Maguro said...

The problem with using this incident to drive more gun control legislation is that there's really no law, short of completely banning private firearm ownership, that would have prevented it.

Connecticut is a liberal state and all the incremental gun control laws are already in place: Mandatory registration, waiting periods, backgound checks, "gun-free zones" around schools, etc.

The only gun control measure that might conceivably have prevented this is a blanket ban on private gun ownership. And maybe not even then.

Are the Democrats really ready to go there?

Erika said...

But then again, maybe I'm being too hard on her.

AllenS said...

You'll never be able to ban private ownership of guns. If someone wants a gun, they'll get one. How hard would it be to sneak guns into this country by simply hiding them in large bags of marijuana, cocaine or heroin?

hombre said...

TEACHERS: We must take your unions away and replace them with guns. America Exceptionalism!

Another bit of abject stupidity from the abjectly stupid garage mahal.

How about this next, garage: "Lunatics don't commit massacres, guns do."

virgil xenophon said...

creely23 is dead on tgt! (no pun intended--or did I?)

virgil xenophon said...

And Maguro sums it up correctly. But I'd opine they'll nibble like crazy around the edges to make it a regulatory hell..

30yearProf said...

Obama knows not to put HIS hand on a red hot burner.

Connecticut HAS now all the gun controls that Sarah Brady's heart pines for. And, as criminologists have repeatedly demonstrated, none of it worked. Criminals and the insane (and terrorists) do NOT follow the rules.

That's why Israel arms teachers and requires armed parents to patrol school grounds and to escort school field trips. On our visit to Israel we saw them everywhere.

garage mahal said...

Another bit of abject stupidity from the abjectly stupid garage mahal.

You mean, it was smart and it tripped your trigger. You just didn't like hearing it.

purplepenquin said...

You'll never be able to successfully ban private ownership of guns

fix'd that for ya, 'cause the law certainly could be passed. The Land of the Free already has all kinds of illegal things/objects/etc.

How hard would it be to sneak guns into this country by simply hiding them in large bags of marijuana, cocaine or heroin?

Can't tell if you're saying it would be stupid to ban guns or if you're trying to point out how stupid it is to ban marijuana, cocaine, and heroin.

Hopefully the answer is both, 'cause that works for me too!

hombre said...

garage wrote: You mean, it was smart and it tripped your trigger. You just didn't like hearing it.

Really? That's what I meant? I though I meant what I wrote. LOL

Balfegor said...

Is Obama a man of "meaningful action" when it comes down to real gun-control legislation? I'm betting no.

I don't think his level of activity is particularly issue-specific. He spent a lot of energy, unsuccessfully trying to move public opinion during the Obamacare debate, but it's not like health care was something he'd spent a lot of time thinking about before he became a candidate. I think his level of "meaningful" engagement is just a matter of how personally exposed he is on an issue. If he can get away with it, he'll sit back with the mai tai. But if his supporters threaten to embarrass him over gun control, he won't.

hombre said...

"The only gun control measure that might conceivably have prevented this is a blanket ban on private gun ownership. And maybe not even then."

Otoh, There is no constitutional prohibition against identifying the dangerously mentally ill and institutionalizing them. Deinstitutionalization was one of the great liberal causes of the 60s and 70s. I wonder how many lives it has cost?

I also wonder how the political and economic cost of institutionalizing potential killers would compare to the cost of confiscating weapons and enforcing draconian guns laws as envisioned by, say, Mayors Bloomberg and Emanuel.

Politicians, of course, abhor the cost of institutionalization because the are accountable for it. They much prefer the random costs of deinstitutionalization to the resultant victims. The only cost of that to them is sympathetic platitudes - and maybe a tear or two.

garage mahal said...

I like to fish hombre. You always need to keep that in mind. Now I'm going to take the hook out of your mouth and go back to fishing! If'n you don't mind.

JohnJ said...

“He'll talk about guns when and while performing in the Theater of Grief after a momentous massacre, but when it comes to actual action, he's more the man in the beach chair and straw hat sipping a mai tai.”

But, the charade work for him—wonderfully!

And, by all indications, the public prefers the hip-hop to the substantive.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but we’re getting exactly what we deserve.

Rusty said...

AllenS said...
You'll never be able to ban private ownership of guns. If someone wants a gun, they'll get one. How hard would it be to sneak guns into this country by simply hiding them in large bags of marijuana, cocaine or heroin?

80 million plus gun owners with over 200 million firearms. And those are just the people that are on record as owning firearms. The actual figure may be much higher. Banning even certain types makes little sense. They are already here. Confiscating them all or even a portion would be a logistical nightmare.

purplepenquin said...

Deinstitutionalization was one of the great liberal causes of the 60s and 70s.

That is so weird....the word around the liberals' campfire is that Reagan was the one who released the patients and shuttered the institutions.

dbp said...

"Is Obama a man of "meaningful action" when it comes down to real gun-control legislation? I'm betting no."

I bet no too. Not because in his heart-of-hearts he would have any problem with the abolution of private fire arm ownership. No, risk aversion and lazyness account for it.

As the Prof is wont to say, Nothing is a high bar. As for me, I don't care if the bar remains unsurmounted from lack of ability or lack of effort.

Cedarford said...

Rusty said...
AllenS said...
You'll never be able to ban private ownership of guns. If someone wants a gun, they'll get one. How hard would it be to sneak guns into this country by simply hiding them in large bags of marijuana, cocaine or heroin?

==================
Liberals and progressive jews that want only the state to have weapons to stop the possible pogroms by peasants, and emoting non-tech savvy women forget another thing.
Guns are fucking low tech manufacturing.
Things that once required a factory and special steel imported from afar now are part of many small biz mechanics shops and home enthusiasts.
Many calibers don't even need a barrel bored out of round stock steel as high quality steel pipes that fit the bullet size and can handle the pressure are a Home Depot trip away.
Over in Pakistan, a family shop can crank out 20 AK-47 knockoffs a day.
Perhaps not as reliable or as accurate as modern factory firearms, but good enough for the job.
And making ammunition is easier.

And making 30+round magazines from a spring and a piece of sheet steel is a snap if you have a means to cut and bend the sheet accurately and a welding machine.

hombre said...

purple-p wrote: That is so weird....the word around the liberals' campfire is that Reagan was the one who released the patients and shuttered the institutions.

Well, there is the problem with sitting aroud liberal campfires. Liberals, like the old Russian communists, don't study history, they invent it.

Reagan shuttered state mental hospitals, eh? That would have been weird.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Obama's "cling to guns or religion" remark was an inartful way of telling his liberal San Francisco audience that he thought guns and religion should be left alone.

Ann Althouse said...

"That is so weird....the word around the liberals' campfire is that Reagan was the one who released the patients and shuttered the institutions."

I did a new post on deinstitutionalization, linking to an article that includes this:

"Contrary to popular perception, California Governor Ronald Reagan’s signing of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1967was only one small part of a broad-based movement, starting in the late 1950s. The Kennedy Administration optimistically described how the days of long-term treatment were now past; newly-developed drugs such as chlorpromazine meant that two-thirds of the mentally ill “could be treated and released within 6 months.”

wyo sis said...

The risk is in believing anything Obama says. He's got a record of saying one thing and meaning something entirely different, when he's not just outright lying. I don't believe he had any motive except avoiding a controversial vote. But, I could also go for the fear of Michelle argument.
In either case, Obama proves himself to be a coward who's willing to use his 18 month old daughter and his wife as a shield.

Firehand said...

I'll also note, the gun bigots really like to point to Britain as a place with the 'right kind of gun laws'; they don't like dealing with things like this:
"Gun crime has almost doubled since Labour came to power as a culture of extreme gang violence has taken hold."
They're on a friggin' ISLAND, where handguns are banned, rifles and shotguns highly restricted, the police can yank your license for any reason they choose, and they can't keep the bad guys from getting guns. But somehow, It will work HERE, yes, it will!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html

hombre said...

@AnnAlthouse: I understood purple-p's reference to Reagan to be President Reagan, not Governor Reagan.

During my clerkship with a federal judge in Sacramento the year after the passage of the L-P-S Act the Act was occasionally discussed in our circle, but not in the context of deinstitutionalization per se. As I recall, despite its grandiose pretentions, its primary purpose was to diminish the instances and the impact of indeterminate commitment.

Smilin' Jack said...

...when it comes to actual action, he's more the man in the beach chair and straw hat sipping a mai tai .

He should lead by example and disarm his Secret Service detail.

Paul said...

Obama may try to pull show shit but the House of Reps will stop him. And even the Senate, which WILL HAVE TO FACE VOTERS, will not do anything.

But as the economy tanks in 2013 due to Obamacare and the fiscal cliff, maybe he will just start a war abroad to get the voters minds off it. Guncontrol won't do that.

purplepenquin said...

Well, there is the problem with sitting aroud liberal campfires.

Actually the problem comes when you only sit around one campfire while waging battle-after-battle with The Others. Those of us who hang out in both camps know that "deinstitutionalization" was more of a bi-partisan effort than you stated earlier.

pduggie said...

Hope his marriage survives his post-presidency / his kids leaving home.