Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Obama's Gun Control Defeat Raises Questions About His Effectiveness

It's about time we're getting some critical reporting like this, at the New York Times even.

See, "In Gun Bill Defeat, a President Who Hesitates to Twist Arms":
WASHINGTON — Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, asked President Obama’s administration for a little favor last month. Send your new interior secretary this spring to discuss a long-simmering dispute over construction of a road through a wildlife refuge, Mr. Begich asked in a letter. The administration said yes.

Four weeks later, Mr. Begich, who faces re-election next year, ignored Mr. Obama’s pleas on a landmark bill intended to reduce gun violence and instead voted against a measure to expand background checks. Mr. Obama denounced the defeat of gun control steps on Wednesday as “a shameful day.”

But Mr. Begich’s defiance and that of other Democrats who voted against Mr. Obama appear to have come with little cost. Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, is still planning a trip to Alaska — to let Mr. Begich show his constituents that he is pushing the government to approve the road.

The trip will also reinforce for Mr. Begich and his colleagues a truth about Mr. Obama: After more than four years in the Oval Office, the president has rarely demonstrated an appetite for ruthless politics that instills fear in lawmakers. That raises a broader question: If he cannot translate the support of 90 percent of the public for background checks into a victory on Capitol Hill, what can he expect to accomplish legislatively for his remaining three and a half years in office?

Robert Dallek, a historian and biographer of President Lyndon B. Johnson, said Mr. Obama seems “inclined to believe that sweet reason is what you need to use with people in high office.” That contrasts with Johnson’s belief that “what you need to do is to back people up against a wall,” Mr. Dallek said.

“Obama has this more reasoned temperament,” he said. “It may well be that it’s not the prescription for making gains. It raises questions about his powers of persuasion.”

Some supporters said the imperative of the moment requires more force from Mr. Obama. “He needs to turn up the heat every way he can and every chance he gets because it’s not political points or poll numbers that are at stake but lives,” said Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, a New York Democrat who has sponsored a gun control bill in the House.

The White House on Monday defended the president’s efforts on the gun legislation, saying he had made a vigorous effort to lobby wavering senators. “He made numerous phone calls and had numerous meetings,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary. “And his entire team here engaged in this process completely and thoroughly.”

But the president has long struggled to master his relationship with Congress. During his first two and a half years in office, he favored what aides called an inside approach, working quietly in back rooms to convince lawmakers of the logic of his positions. That worked better when Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate, and he passed legislation to expand health care, regulate Wall Street and spend hundreds of billions of dollars to stimulate the economy.
Well, he's a shitty president who can't tell the difference between his ass and a homosexual rim-station.


RELATED: "Public Support For Gun Control Ebbs."

And to think, the gun-grabbing Dems work the shame strategy for all it was worth. I'd say they "worked it to death," but that wouldn't be cool.