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 / Shutterstock.com]