In her latest post No Bully in the Pulpit New York Time’s Op-Ed columnist Maureen Dowd blames President Obama for the Senate’s recent failure to pass the expanded background check law.
She claims that President Obama does not know how to govern, that he doesn’t know “how to work the system,” and that he has no leverage in Washington because “no one on Capitol Hill is scared of him.” That’s an interesting thought, that in the #1 democracy in the world the President would be more effective if he governed through fear. But I get her point, especially considering this Congress.
As usual, Dowd is being particularly harsh with the President. That’s her style. She did it with W. Bush and with Bill Clinton. But considering how viciously the conservative machine constantly attacks President Obama, I don’t like the liberal amounts of ammunition that she makes available to the President’s detractors. To be clear, my problem is not that she disagrees with President Obama, it’s in the scornful way that she expresses her disagreement.
However, as much as I wanted to ignore her scathing words once again, the last sentence in her post struck a chord: “The president said the Newtown families deserved a vote. But he was setting his sights too low. They deserved a law.” Dowd, of course, is referring to President Obama’s SOTU speech where he stated:
It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment – have come together around commonsense reform – like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals. Police chiefs are asking our help to get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets, because they are tired of being outgunned.
Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress. If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote. Because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun. [Time.com]
To thunderous applause at the State of the Union, the president said, ‘The families of Newtown deserve a vote.’ Then, as usual, he took his foot off the gas, lost momentum and confided his pessimism to journalists.
The White House had a defeatist mantra: This is tough. We need to do it. But we’re probably going to lose.
When you go into a fight saying you’re probably going to lose, you’re probably going to lose.
Now, unlike Dowd, I feel that the blame for the failed gun control bill does not solely fall on President Obama. For one, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid needs to learn to be as successful in corralling Democratic Senators as the GOP is with Republican Representatives in the House. Then, there is a dire need to get back to a simple majority vote rule in the Senate.
However, back when I was watching the SOTU speech, I distinctly remember doing a double take when I heard President Obama say “If you want to vote no, that’s your choice.” My discomfort was drowned out by his repeated cries of “they deserve a vote,” only to resurface again when I read Dowd’s post this past Sunday. Choice? What choice? If we don’t want the blood of another Sandy Hook massacre, another Columbine, another Aurora, another Gabby Giffords on our hands, there is no choice but to vote YES on sensible gun control bills.
That’s what President Obama should have said that day. That’s what he should have demanded on behalf of the majority of Americans. But, instead, he gave Congress a choice, and he shouldn’t have.