Is Obama Willing To Take On The NRA For Real?
Obama has certainly been willing to take on foreign terrorists and hasn't let "legalities" stand in the way of the use of unconventional tactics. What about the homegrown terrorists who kill far more Americans year after year after year than any foreigners ever do. The NRA has captured the Republican Party in it's grip so strongly and so powerfully that foreign terrorists and their support groups can only look on with envy as thousands of Americans are murdered annually with the guns that the NRA promotes for its own and it's backers' profits. And although the NRA has developed a great gimmick-- a twisted and utterly fatuous victim-fueled need to "defend" the Second Amendment-- the NRA has always been about the cash they get from the manufacturers of weapons and ammo.
With public opinion-- at least for now-- having swung violently away from the NRA and gun nut positions on unregulated weapons proliferation, Obama and the Democrats-- as well as many flustered and panic-stricken Republicans-- sense a possible sea change. If the NRA and their Republican allies can't slow down momentum for action until the horror and the mess of Newtown fades from people's consciousnesses, they will have to face the reality of political (and possibly even financial) losses.
But will Obama press the issue? The video above indicates that he will. Unless the pushback from the far right is strong enough to look like it will beat him. He doesn't like to appear to lose; he's phobic about looking like he loses. The right has been good at playing that card in the past. Obama:
Look, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. This country has a strong tradition of gun ownership that's been handed down from generation to generation. Obviously across the country there are regional differences. There are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. And the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible-- they buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection.Lurking in the back on many minds are conflicting passions: on the one hand, protecting society-- and protecting innocents-- from the undeniable reality of what gun madness has wrought. On the other hand, an incoherent frontier mentality that we have to be ready for a tyrannical government power grab. What a country! And a country that has grown dangerously dysfunctional as hucksters from Rupert Murdock and Rush Limbaugh to ravenous plutocrats have figured out there's profit to be made and power to be gained by promoting that incoherent dysfunction and stoking irrational fears and a fractious agenda of divisiveness among working people.
But you know what, I am also betting that the majority-- the vast majority-- of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war. I'm willing to bet that they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas-- that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to get his hands on a military-style assault rifle so easily; that in this age of technology, we should be able to check someone's criminal records before he or she can check out at a gun show; that if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Newtown-- or any of the lesser-known tragedies that visit small towns and big cities all across America every day.
So Tuesday the Biden task force officially reports his no silver bullet findings to Obama. Both are aware that the Republican-controlled House isn't going to pass any legislation the NRA opposes strongly enough and that even the conservative-consensus Senate will only go so far. That leaves Obama with two choices: fake reform-- always his first choice to try, usually unsuccessfully, to avoid the kind of egg cracking conflict he hates but that is usually needed to make real progress on anything-- or reform by fiat (executive order). Republicans and their neo-fascist allies in the militia movement/NRA are eager to declare Obama a dictator, a totalitarian, a tyrant, Hitler, Stalin... whatever. But they've cried wolf so much along those lines that if Obama pushes what the public is asking for, the Republican hate machine is likely to sputter and collapse this time. It worked for him-- and for the country-- when he used the same method to institute the Dream Act that the public favored and the GOP was committed to blocking.
He probably doesn't have the guts to go all the way and push through an assault weapons ban-- this is after all, Barack Obama, not some kind of fearless, principled leader of men-- but he can certainly ride the public wave of support to ban high-capacity ammunition clips, end the gun show loophole, cut back on online ammo and weapons purchases, keep weapons out of the hands of felons, terrorists and the mentally unstable.
PPP's newest national poll finds that the NRA's image has declined over the last three weeks following Wayne LaPierre's controversial press conference the week before Christmas.
The NRA now has a negative favorability rating, with 42% of voters seeing it positively while 45% have an unfavorable view. That represents a 10 point net decline in the NRA's favorability from the week before the press conference when a national poll we did found it at 48/41. Its image has taken a hit with both Democrats (from 29/59 to 22/67) and Republicans (71/19 to 66/18).
The NRA's focus on putting more guns in schools is likely what's driving the decline in the organization's image. Only 41% of voters support the organization's proposal to put armed police officers in schools across the country, with 50% opposed. Democrats (35/57) and independents (38/51) both oppose the push and even among Republicans only a narrow majority (52/39) supports it.
On the broader issue of giving teachers guns, only 27% of voters are supportive with 64% opposed. There's bipartisan opposition to that concept with Republicans (35/50), independents (31/59), and Democrats (19/77) all standing against it. Gun owners (37/52) oppose it as well.
The holidays and the fiscal cliff took a lot of the spotlight off gun control measures, but in general 53% of Americans say they support stricter gun laws with 40% opposed.