A lot of people have the sense that this time is different, that the the Newtown school massacre was so horrendous we might finally be able to move an inch or two to the left on gun regulation. I've been feelings glimmers of optimism myself, and that's rare.
Then I read this from Broder Junior, aka Chuck Todd, and my hopes begin to fade:
So Obama and others have raised expectations. Can they deliver? To pull this off in the gun area, the president is going to have to tackle every issue associated with these heinous crimes: gun laws, our gun culture, mental health, the de-sensitization of violence thanks to Hollywood and video game makers, and of course parental responsibility. If it's a LARGER policy discussion, it's much harder for the most ardent NRA-supporting lawmaker to walk away.So Broder Junior, on behalf of the entire Beltway Village, has declared that the president has to be extra nice and consider the fee-fees of all those ardent NRA-supporting lawmakers by diluting the discussion of guns with talk about a hundred different tangential issues. Otherwise they'll understandably pitch a fit and say, "Screw the next bunch of little kids who come face to face with a guy holding a Bushmaster assault weapon. Our liberal-ideologue president insisted that we talk primarily about guns. No fair!"
See also pro-gun senator Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), who won his last race, in part, with a TV ad that depicted him literally taking a shot at cap-and-trade legislation. Yes, it's news that Manchin is now entertaining the notion of gun control...
NRA A-rated member and West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) called for a "common sense" discussion about gun control during an appearance on Morning Joe on Monday....But note what else he said:
"I just came with my family from deer hunting," Manchin said. "I've never had more than three shells in a clip. Sometimes you don't get more than one shot anyway at a deer. You know, this is common sense. It’s time to move beyond rhetoric. We need to sit down and have a common sense discussion and move in a reasonable way."
"Everything should be on the table," he said, noting that the NRA should be involved in the discussion as well. "I want to call all our friends in the NRA, sit down and have this discussion. Bring them into it. They have to be at the table. We all have to."Yet another call for diluting the talk about guns. Let's propose tightening regulations on movies and TV and video games! Let's forcibly institutionalize more people with schizophrenia and autistic spectrum disorders! Let's arm more schoolteachers and school administrators! (And you know, post-Huckabee, that prayer in public schools is going to have to be on the table.)
... it's not just about gun control, he said. "It's about how we treat people with mental illness, how we intervene, how we give them the care they need, how we protect our schools."
So that's where we're headed -- maybe we'll talk seriously about an assault weapons ban (which will probably be as porous as the last one) and a ban on high-capacity magazines, but only if we also put the "liberal"/"secular"/"permissive" culture on trial. Lovely.