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On Gun Control, Blame Democracy, Not Obama


Americans who support gun control continue to express shock, disappointment, and disgust at the recent defeat of federal legislation expanding background checks for gun buyers. And at the center of their outrage is President Barack Obama. The WSJ reports:

Democratic strategists, lobbyists and some Capitol Hill aides see last week’s defeat of the gun-bill amendments as a worrisome sign that Mr. Obama hasn’t found a way to bridge the partisan divide in Congress—or even that he has a sufficiently firm hold on the more conservative members of his own party….

Some Democrats wondered whether Mr. Obama could have done more arm-twisting to convince four Senate Democrats from GOP-leaning states who voted against the background-check amendment, and perhaps pick up another Republican or two. The president “still doesn’t get in there and work with his own guys as well as he should,” said Ed Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania.

The Grey Lady herself got into the act, lamenting that Obama seems more interested in academic shilly-shallying than in the dirty work of politics. Most of these dispirited Democrats take a more realistic stance towards politics than Mauren Dowd’s candyland vision of governance. They know what getting dirty means. But they share her belief that the president failed, perhaps in a way that will taint his whole second term.

But the problem might be less with Obama and more with democracy itself. To be a citizen in a mass democracy is to live in a permanent state of political frustration. There are so many people in the country with so many different views, and the institutions of a mass democracy are inevitably so clunky, that the political process isn’t going to give you what you want very much of the time.

But of course, where some lose, others win. And it’s becoming clearer and clearer that outside the Democratic mourning chamber, there are many Americans who felt like a defeat of gun control was a win for the country. A new USA today poll found that support for gun legislation has dropped from 61 to 49 percent.

That’s a far cry from the 90 percent figure the media widely cited in the run up to the vote. Welcome to democracy, folks, the worst form of government except every other.

[Gun image courtesy of HelgaLin /]

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  • Marty Keller

    Actually–and fortunately–America is not a “mass democracy,” although that’s what the blue social model “progressives” keep driving towards. As ojfl notes, our republic’s constitution was designed to prevent majorities from imposing their will on our underlying natural rights principles through limited government constrained by specific enumeration of powers. It was the progressive worm that began to eat away at this insightful and unique system of self-governance starting with Teddy Roosevelt and in full blossom today under the nominal leadership of Barack Obama. Yet that classical liberal stance is not only superior to the utopianist progressive idea, it will doubtless prevail in the long run of human evolution–even if we must experience setbacks and detours.

  • Jim Luebke

    Americans think that half of the money the government spends — the half the other party wants to spend, really — is wasted.

    The only way to prevent this waste is to reduce the amount of money that goes to government in the first place.

  • Banned_by_KBTX

    The president “still doesn’t get in there and work with his own guys as well as he should,” said Ed Rendell, a former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania.
    Why should he? The goons in the media rough up anyone who dares to disagree with Obama (Republican, Democrat, or independent). Progressive take their ideas and opinions as self-evident truths not to be questioned. Opponents are not wrong-headed people to be reasoned with: they are enemies of the people who must be squashed.

  • AD_Rtr_OS

    A Government that is big enough to give you all that you wish, is certainly big enough to take all that you have.

  • A Goy

    Those paying attention know that this “90%” number is nonsense. Those promoting it as some sort of “mandate” also know it’s nonsense.

    Only in a nation largely devoid of critical thinking skills and any understanding of legitimacy could this sort of open deceit be tolerated in virtually every issue that arises.

    It’s hardly Democracy. It is, in fact, ignorance, as intentionally bred and produced by an utterly co-opted public education system which has been producing innumerate, illiterate “graduates” incapable of recognizing an Appeal to Emotion fallacy, for decades now.

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