Thursday, March 01, 2018

DCCC Sure Doesn't Get A Profile In Courage Award For Their Stand On The NRA


Carl Hulse in the NY Times yesterday: "Here’s how significant things don’t get done in Washington even in a moment of crisis and opportunity. The president throws out a hodgepodge of ideas but refuses to put his full weight behind any of them. Senate Republicans, grappling for an answer that responds to public clamor but doesn’t alienate their conservative base, focus on a small fix unlikely to satisfy many people even if it could overcome internal divisions. House Republicans say they will wait to see what the Senate does-- though history has shown that can be a very long wait. Democrats push for a broad debate that Republicans want nothing to do with. That’s where Washington stands now on the subject of new gun legislation after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla. Despite immense public pressure in part from students who escaped the shooting, the outlook for any consequential action remains dim as the president and lawmakers diverge on how best to respond."

Did everyone read Daniel Marans' story Tuesday about how the DCCC advised candidates to stick to the "thoughts and prayers" messaging after the NRA massacre in Las Vegas? Hulse didn't use it as part of his story but it is part of the story of congressional dysfunction over guns. (I should mention that DCCC chair Ben Ray Luján himself regularly takes large sums of money from gun manufacturers, although not from the NRA.) On October 1 a DCCC staffer, Evan Lukaske, warned Democrats not to "politicize" the massacre by talking about gun violence prevention policy. "There will be time for politics and policy discussion, but any message today should be on offering thoughts/prayers for victims and their families, and thanking 1st responders who saved lives." Perhaps the massacre in Florida would never have happened if that DCCC didn't send out that message and Democrats would have politicized the murders in Vegas.

Several members of Congress I asked about this told me the DCCC staffers are "clueless," "incompetent" and "the bottom of the barrel," that Ben Ray Luján is a disaster and that they can only win elections in wave years. One very prominent Democrat told me "the DCCC is more likely to slow down a wave than do anything to bolster [or accelerate] it."

Even when major corporations are severing their ties with the NRA, the DCCC adamantly refuses to back away from notorious NRA allies-- like Jeff Van Drew (NJ), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ) and Anthony Brindisi (NY)-- they have recruited. This week even Dick's Sporting Goods "is taking new steps to curtail the sale of firearms, including ending sales of assault-style rifles and banning the sale of guns to people younger than 21," something that has the NRA in a tizzy. Yesterday Dick's Chairman and CEO, Edward Stack, was on Good Morning America said the company was moving on-- far more than Ben Ray Luján and the DCCC are willing to do.
"To think about the loss and the grief that those kids and those parents had, we said, ‘We need to do something,'" Stack, whose father, Dick, started the business 70 years ago, explained. "And we’re taking these guns out of all of our stores permanently."

When asked whether there is a chance the company will reverse its position on the newly announced ban, Stack replied, "Never."

"We’re staunch supporters of the 2nd Amendment. I’m a gun owner myself," Stack said. "We’ve just decided that based on what’s happened with these guns, we don’t want to be a part of this story and we’ve eliminated these guns permanently."
This is something Dick's sent to the Parkland students, not to the DCCC-- though maybe they should have. "Thoughts and prayers are not enough. We have tremendous respect and admiration for the students organizing and making their voices heard regarding gun violence in schools and elsewhere in our country. We have heard you. The nation has heard you. We support and respect the Second Amendment, and we recognize and appreciate that the vast majority of gun owners in this country are responsible, law-abiding citizens. But we have to help solve the problem that is in front of us. Gun violence is an epidemic that is taking the lives of too many people, including the brightest hope for the future of America-- our kids... Beginning today, DICK’S Sporting Goods is committed to the following":
We will no longer sell assault-style rifles, also referred to as modern sporting rifles. We had already removed them from all DICK’S stores after the Sandy Hook massacre, but we will now remove them from sale at all 35 Field & Stream stores.
We will no longer sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age.
We will no longer sell high capacity magazines.
We never have and never will sell bump stocks that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire more rapidly.
They also urged Congress to pass these regulations, something that will not be helped by the DCCC's insistence of recruiting NRA allies.
Ban assault-style firearms
Raise the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21
Ban high capacity magazines and bump stocks
Require universal background checks that include relevant mental health information and previous interactions with the law
Ensure a complete universal database of those banned from buying firearms
Close the private sale and gun show loophole that waives the necessity of background checks
This is a list of exactly what the gun manufacturers oppose and which their lobbying arm, the NRA, will go insane over. Already the so-called "Freedom Caucus," the most far right grouping of Republicans in Congress are working on Trumpanzee to get him back in line in terms of gun control. They know Trump has no core values and that's he's liable to do anything that he perceives to benefit his own narrow interests of the moment.
“We’re pretty sure they’re going to do something just for the sake of doing something,” Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) said, leaving a raucous debate between Freedom Caucus members on how to address the White House’s gun control push. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) said members were shocked by where Trump was willing to go on gun control.

So far, Trump has spoken in support of more comprehensive background checks and signed a memo for his administration to ban “bump stocks,” devices that make semiautomatic weapons work like fully automatic ones, without Congress’s approval.

He’s floated giving police the authority to temporarily confiscate guns from those reported to have violent or threatening behavior or who have mental illnesses, and said he would consider raising the minimum age for purchasing certain assault rifles from 18 to 21. He’s also suggested arming school teachers.

Many of Trump’s positions signal a clear break from the traditional Republican talking points on mass shootings, which typically steer away from any actual gun control-related measures. Now it appears the Freedom Caucus and its chair, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), are strategizing how to steer Trump back in their direction, away from gun control and toward armed policing and a focus on institutionalizing those with mental illnesses.

“There was talk about how do we give him meaningful alternatives,” Sanford said.

This strategy has been successful in the past. Trump has been known to engage these conservatives, even if it risks killing the policymaking effort altogether. It wasn’t too long ago when Trump voiced support for Democratic-driven immigration policy before turning back to propose a kitchen sink of immigration restrictions spun up by Congress’s archconservatives-- a hardline position that ultimately tanked negotiations in the Senate.

If conservatives succeed in dominating the gun control conversation, this could spell trouble ahead for any hopes of legislative action.
The neo-Nazi Freedom Caucus is virtually the only group in Congress that even opposes outlawing bump stocks, which are basically only about mass murder. Obviously they oppose anything that will cut into NRA profits, like raising the age of gun purchases or banning any weapons or ammo types at all.

There are very few DCCC-endorsed candidates I would trust to vote correctly on gun policy. One of the exceptions is Lisa Brown in very gun-friendly Eastern Washington. Here's her statement on the issue:
As a mother and community member, I’m deeply concerned that students and teachers across our country do not feel safe at school, and that yet another community is being racked by the grief, loss, fear, and sadness brought on by another school shooting.

I hear from parents, students, teachers, gun owners and many others about the frustration and outrage they feel at the nearly two decades of ineffectual statements by congressional leaders of both parties  expressing condolences, saying their hearts are broken, yet not bringing any solutions forward which can actually be voted on and implemented.

As with any public health crisis, it is the responsibility of congressional leaders to invest in evidence-based solutions to reduce fatalities and injuries from gun violence.

As a member of Congress, I would not give in to polarization and the current logjam. I believe we don't have to choose between the Second Amendment and children's lives.  We can enact policies that prevent and reduce gun violence, while not violating constitutional rights to own and use firearms legally and responsibly.

I would immediately sponsor legislation and vote for effective solutions backed by evidence and by public support, such as banning bump stocks, closing loopholes in the background check system, and enhancing mental health treatment.

I would also immediately convene meetings throughout eastern Washington to listen to the families of victims, domestic violence survivors, students, teachers, gun owners, local law enforcement, researchers and others-- to find common ground and make recommendations for solutions.

My campaign will not accept contributions from the NRA, and I would not run my congressional office on a “pay to play” basis. All stakeholders, starting with residents of eastern Washington, would have an avenue for presenting their point of view on issues to my office.

Since congressional leaders, including Rep. McMorris Rodgers, won’t even bring forward a bipartisan commission or fund research, there is practically no chance they will take on more challenging issues, such as waiting periods for gun purchases and effective regulation of AR-15 style weapons.

I’m encouraged by students speaking out and demanding action. I did this myself as a student and I believe the solutions will come from grassroots and community action, in partnership with elected officials who are responsive to their communities, not beholden to donors and special interests.

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At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS is the party that too many here at DWT want to reclaim from the inside? How many decades are you willing to waste before you give up on that delusion? I doubt the nation will last that long waiting for you to see the reality forest hiding among the daily trees.

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Democraps haven't stood for principles for 38 years, since Clinton et al formed the DLC and sold the soul of the party for big money.

They do, however, steadfastly stand with their big donors no matter the political cost. 2008 was their best chance since FDR to stand on principle, even a little. They steadfastly refused and their pretense was so lame that they lost 15 million voters in 2010; losing the house and losing the senate the next cycle (which they already lost taking a dive on every issue before 2012).

They enabled trump by ratfucking Bernie. They committed vote fraud in order to foist another Clinton on an electorate that did not wish to see another DLC spawn spend 4 more years claiming to be with them but being only with the money.

Now they are using the trump shit show to SEEM better by comparison (remember 2006) and enable them to take the party further right, increase their power to suborn bribes and further entrench their own corruption and suppress any and all progressive insurgencies.

It takes a certain amount of courage to insist on ratfucking over 65 million voters knowing that at any moment, so many of them may have the light click on that they'll be forever irrelevant electorally and, therefore, irrelevant to the big donors. Of course, they are reassured that they've been doing this for 38 years and, so far, voters remain clueless.


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