In one of the most recent internal reviews of the watch list system, the Justice Department inspector general found in a 2014 report that improvements in the F.B.I.’s watch list system had made it “more complete, accurate and current” after problems in getting people on and off the list.But I get the due process argument. And yet it's good to see Democrats fighting back against the gun lobby and a gun culture that believes gun proliferation always make America better.
Earlier reviews found that as many as 15 percent of suspects in active terrorism investigations were not on the F.B.I. watch list, and that other people were improperly kept on it even after investigations into their suspected terrorism ties were closed. Both these problems appeared to have been significantly reduced or eliminated by the time of the 2014 review.
But it's sad that the principal demand of this sit-in is a vote on a bill linking gun violence to terrorism screening. A vote on a universal background check bill is a secondary consideration. A ban on assault weapons isn't being discussed.
The sit-in came the same day that Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush, announced that he was endorsing Hillary Clinton. This endorsement was rolled out to coincide with a Donld Trump speech that harshly criticized Clinton's record on foreign policy.
Clinton wants swing voters to think, Oh, she must be a good choice -- Republican foreign policy gray eminences like her. Democrats in Congress want swing voters to think, Oh, the Democrats are right on guns -- they take terrorism seriously.
For Democrats, it's still 2002, the year of the Iraq War vote, or maybe 1980, the year Reagan was elected, or 1972, the year McGovern lost: The way you're supposed to show you can be trusted with political power, if you're a Democrat, is still by demonstrating that you think like a Republican, or at least that you think about issues traditionally linked to Republicans.
I know that Donald Trump has attacked Clinton from the left on a couple of foreign policy issues, particularly by dishonestly arguing that he was against the Iraq War from the beginning. But he gets away with that because hhe's said he wants to "bomb the shit out of" ISIS and because he wants to re-legalize torture.
And I know that Brent Scowcroft really did oppose the Iraq War before it started. But, still -- he's a Republican. That's why Clinton wanted his endorsement.
Democrats have been on defense on foreign policy for nearly 45 years. I don't think I'll live long enough to see that change.