A Shameful Day for President Obama

April 18, 2013

I wonder why President Obama feels he has the right to be outraged when legislators don’t automatically roll over to his policy demands. I suspect that his moral indignation is more about personally losing than it is about policy issues themselves.

For indeed, President Obama was obviously furious when his gun control bill failed to muster sufficient votes to pass the Senate. Politico reported, “More than anything, it was an emotional blow to Obama, who was as irritated at the four members of his own party as he was at the 90 percent of Republicans who defeated the bill.”

Politico revealed that an administration official said Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp’s refusal to support the bill especially rankled Obama because she “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.”

Do you see clues to Obama’s mindset here? How dare a member of a coequal branch of government, especially one in his own party, defy Obama’s wishes and refuse to succumb to his fabled powers of persuasion?

Politico would have us believe that the impetus for Obama’s emotional investment in the bill was that he was “shaken to the core by the massacre of 26 innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School.” He was allegedly so upset that he “broke his own informal ‘Obama Rule’ — of never leaning into an issue without a clear path to victory.”

I’m not buying any of it. I don’t believe that Obama was any more personally shaken by Sandy Hook than he was by the Gosnell abortion clinic infanticide atrocity. What I do know is that Obama is a leftist gun control zealot who seizes on crises as opportunities to advance unpopular policies.

And what’s this about an “Obama Rule”? That, too, is poppycock. Obama has tried to overreach many times, refusing to take the public’s and Congress’ “no” for an answer, from Obamacare to Stimulus Jr. to cap and trade to high-speed rail to various tax hikes for the “rich” to the financial reform bill to campaign finance reform to education reform to his push to close Gitmo to New START to the DREAM Act to his unanimously failed budget proposals. It took him several tries on many of those initiatives, brutal arm-twisting on others, and on still others, he just issued executive orders or had his administrative agencies unilaterally issue their own rules to do end runs around the recalcitrant Congress.

Obama’s defeat on the gun control measure must have been particularly annoying to him after he had exploited and showcased the poor parents of Sandy Hook victims in furtherance of his legislation. Everyone, left to right, agrees that Obama reacted angrily and bitterly and lashed out at his opponents — a most unpresidential performance, to be sure, but nothing out of the ordinary for Obama, who has demonstrated his petulance on numerous occasions. Just ask Rep. Paul Ryan, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, who sat silently for his regal tongue-lashing during a State of the Union address.

After his bill went down to defeat, Obama said: “Families that know unspeakable grief summoned the courage to petition their elected leaders … to protect the lives of all of our children. A few minutes ago, a minority in the United States Senate decided it wasn’t worth it.”

Don’t let those nasty words slip by you. The president of the United States actually accused certain senators of calculating that it wasn’t worth it “to protect the lives of all of our children.” This is an exceedingly harsh moral judgment and a vicious personal attack.

Obama then proceeded to accuse “the gun lobby and its allies” of “willfully” lying about the bill. He said: “There were no coherent arguments as to why we wouldn’t do this. It came down to politics.” He said those voting no “caved to the pressure.” According to Obama, “this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.”

Obama clearly depicted those who opposed his dictates as caring less about preventing gun violence. He said, “The point is those who care deeply about preventing more and more gun violence will have to be as passionate and as organized and as vocal as those who blocked these common-sense steps to help keep our kids safe.”

But fear not; in keeping with his usual practice, Obama promised to move forward through executive action to get his way: “Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities.”

If Obama truly cared about preventing gun violence, he might look at the unspeakable gun violence in his home city, Chicago. He might investigate solutions actually designed to address the problem rather than to deprive citizens of their constitutional rights with measures that will not prevent or reduce mass shootings.