April 18, 2013: Failing on "gun control," the president is truly a lame duck -- The (London) Telegraph.
Yesterday, the most modest of gun control proposals died in the Senate. It would have expanded background checks to people purchasing weapons at gun shows and online sales, enjoyed 90 per cent support among the public and came on the back of the tragedy at Newtown. Yet, despite all that it had going for it, the Toomey-Manchin bill raised just 54 votes – six short of the number necessary for passage. “This is a pretty shameful day for Washington,” said Obama afterwards. It wasn’t exactly a red letter day for him, either.
Nobody listens to what he says anymore, nobody is interested in winning his approval and nobody much cares if he thinks they have “let the country down”. This is typical for a second-term president who has lost all their leverage because they’re no longer running for office and everybody is patiently waiting for the day when he quits the White House. But Obama's difficult personality has doubled the size of the challenge. Gloating in victory, adolescent in defeat – the Prez doesn’t make it easy to work with him. Why should conservative senators give him a legislative victory after he has spent four years painting them as knuckle-dragging rednecks who hate women and the poor?
Whatever your position on gun control, yesterday’s events are a damning indictment of Obama’s presidency – a flash of style, lots of soaring rhetoric and, when the votes are actually counted, little show for any of it. America has four more years of this lame-duck president telling them that it has let him down. If only he could tear up the Constitution and rule by diktat he might save himself a little disappointment. Alas, American democracy is a stickler for rules.Later, 9:40 pm: wow. When I wrote the post earlier I was not aware of this. This is incredible. Politico is reporting:
One administration official told POLITICO the White House was especially disappointed with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D), the only dissenting Democrat not up for re-election next year, who refused to go along with the bill even after White House chief of staff Denis McDonough visited her office to make Obama’s case on Tuesday.
Still, officials believed Heitkamp would have flipped if they had gotten closer to the 60 votes they needed.
“The president was tremendously committed and emotionally engaged. I watched the president with these families. He was there for them and really felt it,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who worked closely with the White House in the aftermath of the worst school shooting in the history of his state.I had not seen the president's speech until now (at the linked Politico article). He sure lectures. He would make a good preacher.
It looks like North Dakota will take the blame for this. Ms Heitkamp wasn't even up for re-election next year. The note below, "payback is hell" may be very, very prescient. If the president denies the Keystone XL permit, the decision might have been made today.
The word for today: petulant.
But this pretty much says it all: weapons prosecutions decline to lowest level in a decade, and topping the list: Chicago.
The word for today: confused.
Later, 4:30 pm: Payback is hell. President Obama has a long memory. There's one area in which the president can affect Ms Heitkamp most visibly: in the energy sector. Keystone. Fracking. Cap and trade. Energy slush fund paid for by oil companies to build windmills. Payback is hell.
Original PostThe Bismarck Tribune is reporting:
Sen. Heidi Heitkamp Wednesday said she will not support an amended Senate gun control bill that would expand background checks.
Heitkamp, a Democrat who recently marked her first 100 days in office, in a statement said her position on new gun control laws has not changed.
“I’ve been adamant from the very beginning of this conversation that the focus should be on mental health issues, full and accurate reporting into the NICS database and ensuring that we are prosecuting criminals in possession of or trying to possess firearms,” Heitkamp said.Let's enforce the laws that are on the books (Chicago, are you listening?). And let's do a better job protecting the unarmed in gun-free zones.