12 thoughts on “Who’s the big winner from yesterday’s gun rights decision?

  1. I look at Stevens (lib/dem), Ginsburg (lib/dem), Sotomayor (lib/dem), and Breyer (lib/dem) as the dissenting opinions in this case along with mayor Richard Daley (lib/dem) who has responded by saying that “the city will enact new gun laws aimed at restricting the spread of legal guns” and have to wonder why you can’t be a little more candid about the historical and contemporary politics of this issue.

    When it comes to gun rights, the lib/dem establishment will never, ever be your friend. Never.

    The “big winner” from yesterday’s gun right decision is neither Democrats (you’re joking, right?) nor Republicans, but rather Americans who cherish the right to defend themselves from freshly paroled recidivist Democrats. Just kidding.

    Then there’s Judge Urbina….On Friday, a federal District Court judge tried to indirectly reinstate the D.C. handgun ban. Judge Ricardo Urbina (lib/dem), a Clinton appointee, wants to make it so difficult for people living in DC to use a handgun defensively that few will get one.

    Last September, a Washington Post reporter, Christian Davenport, found out just how difficult it still is to get a handgun in D.C. even after the Supreme Court struck down the city’s handgun ban. Excluding the price of the gun, the reporter spent $558.69 in various fees to get through the approval process. But that was only part of the cost. It took him “a total of 15 hours 50 minutes, four trips to the Metropolitan Police Department, two background checks, a set of fingerprints, a five-hour class and a 20-question multiple-choice exam.”

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to gracefully concede that your enthusiasm for the shooting arts (which I share) simply does not jive with the predominant traditional lib/dem position? Isn’t this kind of like denying that the sun rises in the east?

  2. Oh, no, I’m not joking at all. I think gun control as boogeyman for the right is a much bigger part of American politics than any modern Democratic desires to actually and meaningfully restrict gun ownership. Look over the last 20 years or so: all the Dems were able to do was the Brady Bill for the most part, which did almost nothing of substance (and most of its provisions aged out years ago).

    Democrats have learned that it’s not a slam dunk issue, that there’s dissent in their own party, and that coming after guns alienates the middle you need to win. What antigun provisions did Obama run on, for example?

    If this is all settled law for the most part — we will have to wait and see what gets considered “reasonable” w/r/t 2nd Amendment regulation — then both sides end up losing it as an issue. But in recent times, as I said, it seems that the GOP is way more reliant on “they’re gonna come get your guns!” than the Democrats are on pushing gun control. Which makes sense, since the GOP is also the party of “somebody gonna GETCHA” politics, be it gays or immigrants or democrats.

  3. Agreed that there are elements on the right that oversell the gun control issue to the most easily manipulated members of their base (uneducated/low-income), but I think that to go immediately to the “boogeyman” characterization of the issue is at very least an equal overstatement if not a calculated mischaracterization. “Boogeyman”=ongoing attempts to weaken or render meaningless the 2nd amendment absolutely do not exist. They do exist. It is a legitimate issue, and even the most casual research effort clearly illustrates who is who and what is what when it comes to the 2nd amendment. To point this out does not make one a fear-mongering “GETCHA” wingnut.

    I believe that we cannot allow the left to get any manner of a foothold on this issue or there will be no end to where they might take it in the name of “public safety” (see the new warning signs just provided to Arizona by the Fed for reference). I see no value in taking that risk in order to demonstrate how open-minded I am.

    Obviously I overstated my case as I so often do while simultaneously overcaffeinated and brilliantly tempted with such luscious MH-flavored conservo-bait. All I really intended to convey was that, in my opinion, for you to categorically deny that any friction whatsoever exists between your gun rights sensibilities and the predominant lib/dem position makes you appear less than reasonable. I mean, honestly, the bizarre rhetorical twists, turns, and baffling gyrations that Kasie Hunt had to perform to convert this ruling into an overwhelming political victory for Democrats just astounded me. Perhaps I am too easily astounded.

    Don’t the D’s employ just as much fear-mongering as the R’s do? And to the same uneducated/low-income segment of their base? “Republicans health care plan is for you to DIE!” “Republicans are going to starve your children to death by taking away their school lunches!” “Republicans will slaughter the elderly by destroying SS through privatization!” That brand of fear-mongering has been going on for ages, hasn’t it?

    D’s promise to protect the imbecile class from Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Banking, and anything else they deem too “big” and therefore mysteriously hazardous to your well-being. And what of Big Bird? You gotta admit, he’s pretty big, and yellow to boot. Note how government never falls into this “too big therefore dangerous” category.

    Both parties aggressively exploit the differing fear-based gullibilities of their respective bases. Rational or not, R’s fear the loss of their guns and freedom of religious speech and worship (and yes, some even fear gays, but why should I concern myself with their fear? Let them live in fear). Rational or not, D’s fear the loss of their food stamps, Section 8 housing, affirmative action hiring criteria, and wildly lucrative “historically underutilized business” government set-aside contracts.

    The widespread if not dominant stupidity necessary in the general populace for this kind of fear-mongering to be effective over the long haul is so horrifying that I’m about to go ahead and recklessly re-embrace my youthful sophomoric affection for Plato’s notion of the philosopher king, but then again, we all know how that typically ends.

    In apocalyptic pre-hurricanic times like these, I can only conclude that such thorny issues can be settled over a Lankford’s Friday afternoon gut bomb.

  4. The thing is, though, that Heller and this decision (too lazy to look) make it much, much harder for even a committed antigun zealot to pass a bill that meaningfully restricts ownership. The hoops you mention in DC, post-Heller, aren’t post-this-decision, and may not survive a challenge.

    Game over. You can’t do what the GOP says the Dems want to do, and you probably can’t even do what (some) Dems might actually want to do. And, again, n.b. that gun restrictions haven’t been a major part of the Dem platform, really, since Brady.

    As for tensions between my Democratic loyalties and my gun rights positions, well, I guess we’ll have to see. The Dems I vote for aren’t antigun, or their antigun positions are outweighed by other positions I find more important. This calculus has gotten a lot simpler since Heller, and will be simpler still after this decision.

    I don’t think Hunt is wrong. Her position is pretty much what I’ve said here: As a political football, the GOP are more dependent on gun control to motivate their base and bring out the vote than are Democrats. I think that’s correct. Dems “lose” the point, if you accept for the sake of argument that they’d like to grab guns, but the GOP loses more in being unable to use the issue as a cudgel.

    I find the idea that Democrats are just as prone to fear-mongering to be pretty laughable. The last several election cycles have included ballot initiatives in addition to party talking points that have nothing to do with reality, and are 100% designed to rattle the faithful — what do you think their babble about gay marriage was? What do you think underlies the ongoing hysteria about immigration?

    What the Dems have done, on issues like health care, is not the same thing. Anything the Dems said on HC paled in comparison to the complete fabrications the GOP was using about death panels. It hasn’t been the Dems suggesting we’d have a senior apocalypse; it’s been the GOP. There’s no equivalence here between GOP hatemongering over gays and Mexicans and anything the Democrats have said.

    No one is threatening anyone’s religious freedom, either, but you remind me that the GOP’s fundie base seems to enjoy forgetting that not being allowed to impose their religion is not the same thing as being denied the right to practice their religion.

    The GOP is really, really good at this. Examine their positions and platform carefully, and see how they run campaigns, and you’ll see that it’s a constant theme of fear and over-simplistic analysis. They know this. They don’t care about solving problems; they just care about being in power. “What can we create fear about?” It’s been a drumbeat of hysteria since 9/11 from these guys. And it works. Which, as you note, is depressing as all hell, and I’ll see you on Friday. :)

  5. Democrats are known as the party of Gun Control. So spin it anyway you want but this is pretty much the way they are seen across the country. Unfortunately for moderates, they are branded with the left crackpots just like the GOP is branded with those on the right. I think the article is interesting because it points out that Dems don’t have to worry about this plank biting them in November. This may be somewhat true, but I doubt those who were associated with gun control laws will now be given a free pass. I would think that the GOP would hammer them further by pointing out their unconstitutional behavior whose epicenters are in MASS, NY, DC, C, and Chicago. All of which are liberal.

  6. “How they are seen” isn’t the same thing as “what they actually try to do.” That’s my point here.

    We live in Texas; even our Democratic candidates are typically pretty pro-gun. And national Dems have been assiduously avoiding GC like the third rail it’s become (n.b. Kerry making a point of being photographed hunting quail back in 2004). I think the analysis is right: The GOP lose here, since they spend a lot more time talking about gun control than the Dems do.

  7. Compare and contrast the almost biblical ferocity with which elements of the right promote the gun control issue (They’re going to take away your guns!) with the way the left promotes the most holy of the secular progressive sacraments, dare I say it, abortion (They’re going to take away your right to choose!).

    I can only chuckle mirthfully at the suggestion that the right has cornered the market on using fear, especially fear of the Other (consider the endless moveon.org Bush is Hitler propaganda, etc…), to market their ideas. Is it hyperbole to describe that stuff as vile?

    At this time I would like to volunteer to be punched in the neck repeatedly until I die as punishment for bringing up the “A” word.

    In closing, please email me if you have either a KISS or Playboy pinball table for sale. Thank you.

  8. There is an important difference between Republican ads suggesting Dems want to take their guns and Dem ads suggesting the GOP wants to restrict birth control.

    The GOP is in fact actively seeking to restrict not just abortion but easy access to birth control and to fact-based sex education. Democrats, on the other hand, have apparently learned that most people oppose the “traditional” liberal position on guns, and have avoided that bit of electoral poison for quite a while now.

    (I will admit, btw, that it’s possible that the tacticians of the GOP don’t want the abortion issue settled, either, given how well it works for them, but they do make actual changes in policy on this issue, and their fervor drives them to make terrible choices on related issues in order to appease the fundies.)

    I do not believe that any actual MoveOn.org or other reputable progressive organization has actually painted Bush as Hitler, dude. Find it and cite it and I’ll admit I’m wrong, but I just don’t think it’s happened short of turbo wingnuts. Of course, the Tea Party is superfond of insisting BHO is somehow a dictator, which is incredibly ironic considering the 8 long years of executive power grabs that constituted GWB’s years in office, and their complete silence at that time.

    In other words, you’re still not bringing a functional dog to this hunt.

    In re: pinball, are you aware of the flat-fee all-you-can-play nights at Joystix downtown?

  9. The video in question was submitted as part of a “Bush in 30 seconds” video contest that moveon.org sponsored back in 2004.


    After the video was discovered and received widespread media coverage, moveon.org promptly disowned it, removed it from their site, and said how sorry they were that it “slipped through their screening process” (not unlike the way a mastodon slips through a pinhole). Perhaps it really was an honest mistake.

    You changed the subject. I wasn’t talking about what the GOP is or is not doing when it comes to abortion. I was talking, specifically, about the way the left frequently and shamelessly uses fear to sell their ideas. This marketing methodology has been particularly potent when applied to the abortion issue with images of bloody coathangers, horrifying back-alley abortions and so forth.

    And while, yes, some of the wiser and more centrist Dems do steer clear of the gun control issue, that, again, is not what I was talking about. Again you have changed the subject.

    I could fill notebook after notebook with documented examples of lib/dem efforts (successful and otherwise) at unconstitutional gun control legislation in the name of public safety. The Repubs use those real-world examples, amplify and perhaps exaggerate them, and use them to sell their ideas. If there were no substantive kernel of truth present in the pitch, it would never work, and consequently the architects of the ploy would be easily made to look like fools if not outright lunatics.

    You keep implicitly rebutting arguments I did not make, positions I did not take, and then declaring my beloved dog to be dead! Old school straw man shuck and jive, my friend. Old school like House Party 3 starring Kid and Play!

    Would it not be more interesting if you were to just come at me head-on and directly steamroll my paper mache rhetoric like the liberal lumberjack juggernaut that I know you are?

    I have heard of this Joystix thing you speak of, although still have not experienced it firsthand. Is this primarily a pinball experience?

  10. You said yourself the video was immediately disowned by MO, so I’m not sure what the problem is here. Try again.

    As for fear, let’s be a little more granular and careful with our terms. I content that the GOP campaigns more on fear that the Dems do, I’ve tried to make clear why I believe this, but we’ve gotten mired a bit in terms. Finally, the whole “who fearmongers more” conversation is based on the thesis of this post, which is that Democrats actually come out ahead in a world where SCOTUS affirms the NRA version of gun rights.

    So, fear:

    If I campaign against you by suggesting you’ll do something I know you won’t actually do (or something else untrue about you), we might call that fearmongering. It’s an appeal to emotion, and is based on outdated, distorted, or outright false allegations. Examples include GOP broadsides about gun control, sure, but also their positions on gays (“they’ll recruit your children!”), on immigrants (“they’re all drug mules come to steal yer jerbs!”), on terrorists (“they hate our freedom!”), and, honestly, on liberals themselves (“they hate America!”). Don’t kid yourself that the GOP’s consultants weren’t behind the whole “BHO is a sekrit terrorist mooslim” bullshit, either, which is clearly fearmongering of the first order.

    If I campaign against you by suggesting you’ll do something that you yourself campaign on doing, I don’t think that’s fearmongering. I’m not sure you can fearmonger with the truth. Examples of the second type includes Democratic ads pointing out GOP positions on reproductive health, on evolution in schools, on gay rights, on torture, etc.

    Clearly, door #1 is distinct from door #2.

    You seem to be saying, over and over, that the left is just as guilty as the right in using fear to motivate their base. What you neglect to recognize is the difference between the two scenarios I lay out, supra.

    Have the Dems in the past pushed GC legislation? Absolutely. Has it happened with any real push in 20 years? No, not really — level-headed folks saw the Brady Bill for what it was, given that it made no real changes and what changes it DID purport to enact had an expiration date.

    Local pols may still try to push GC, but it’s become complete box office poison for Dems at a state and national level, and consequently it’s stopped being an actual issue for them. Obama didn’t campaign on it. Neither did Kerry. Clinton’s support of GC was ambivalent at best and deliberately ineffectual in practice. You’ve gotta go a long way back to find an actual gun-grabber with a shot at an office that matters.

    The GOP, of course, love to paint the Dems based on the actions of the 70s and 80s, but that doesn’t make it true TODAY. The GOP know that Dems aren’t pushing GC anymore, but they still campaign as though the Dems are. This matches hypothetical #1, supra.

    The Democrats, for their part, absolutely DO campaign on fighting GOP initiatives to restrict access to abortion. Their actions and rhetoric here very closely match hypothetical #2.

    What I’m saying, Rick, is that if I try to get people to vote for me because they’re afraid of what YOU SAY YOU WILL DO — in other words, if I use your own platform in my ads — I don’t think I’m fearmongering. And the only real example you’ve given of actual Dem “fearmongering” is abortion rights, an area where Dem ads are actually based on the actual current national GOP platform. Which, as I said, I think means it’s not fearmongering. It’s just reading.

    All that being said, then, I think the original point stands: Gun control as a political issue was for more damaging to the Dems than it was helpful to the GOP, so I think Dems come out ahead on this even if the decision means that some “classic” libs can’t have what they wanted for Christmas in 1977 anymore (ie, restrictive gun laws). They’ll happily take the loss on the policy position if it means taking away a very damaging tool the GOP have been using for pretty much EVER.

    In re: Joystix, no, it’s actually mostly vintage videogames, but they have lots of new and old pinball as well. And all such machines are, I must report, for sale. The mechanical Elton John model from the 70s is like 10 large. Save your nickels.

    BTW, Joystix is a bar. The arcade part is distinct from the bar part, but they’re connected by a short hallway, share a door, and the bar part sends cocktail waitresses into the arcade area, which pleases me to no end. I’ve no idea how comfortable you are with such things at this point, but I’d hate for you to get suprrised.

    Also, it’s only open on the first and last weekends of the month.

  11. Fear tactics often used ny left:

    I. Vietnam- used ad nauseum in Iraq invasion both I and Ii

    Irrespective of what you consider a just war, y’all beat this horse until you could no longer because the us military in fact GASP learned from their mistakes.

    II. We must repent from our consumer driven sins ( which Chet I know does not exactly apply to you) the world is coming to end times if we use one more ml of Carbon.

    I believe this totally smashes your argument that Dems do not legislate on their fear tactics. See EPA regs on CO. See ridiculous moratorium on offshore drilling by O. Gee you think the gulf coast needs anymore economic hardship than what they have suffered in the past 5 years? Cap and trade coming ie. Power grab u seem to abhor under W but give your guy a pass.

    III. We are squandering our children’s future by spending money. Let’s legislate budget controls while our GOP brothers are in power. Then conveniently ignore such efforts when it the DEMS turn at the table.

    IV. Torture/clandestine operations/ Geneva convention/constitution

    The drum was beating loudly on this one up until your guy took office. Now we will keep 48 in prison forever and well this is ok because the Geneva Convention and Constitution all of the sudden are not so important because W is out drinking hiballs in Dallas and well O has a Nobel peace prize.

    Dems were responsible for emasculating our intelligence agencies by legislating several limitations into their operational capabilities. Recently General Betrayus (another move on.org gem) was put in charge to save the afghan front and guess what his fist major decision was? To tell the O admin that rules of engagement and their limitations are costing our people lives, and success. All of this stems from the DEMS rich history of wrapping themselves in the failures of the Camelot boys and trumpeting the fear of failure associated with that war. The summer of love has been over now for 50 years and yet the DEMS can’t move away from their fear driven policies regardless of it’s cost in current times.

  12. Oh, Edgar.

    I. I don’t think using Vietnam as a reason to avoid invading with no goddamn reason is fearmongering. Iraq turned out better (for us) than we anticipated, but that doesn’t mean urging restraint about when to go to war based on the quagmire we created in south Asia is fearmongering.

    Again, as I said before, it’s not fearmongering if it’s based on actual facts.

    II. As for cap and trade, I don’t think I’ve EVER taken a position on it — so I’m not giving anyone a pass.

    I know you ignore science on AGW. That’s your option. I’m done arguing with you about that. All I can say on the fearmongering point is that if the downside even MIGHT be as bad as the scientific consensus suggests, it seems prudent to work to reduce emissions as quickly as we can.

    As for offshore work, it also seems like a no-brainer to avoid drilling so deep we can’t fix shit when it goes bad. DH was too fucking far down, and BP was absurdly negligent in not understanding how they’d address this kind of failure.

    III. I have no idea what you’re talking about here. Both parties spend money, but if you look carefully at expenditures vs. congressional power phases, it’s not the Dems who look like drunken sailors.

    IV. I’m no happier about torture and illegal detention NOW than I was during Bush’s years, but my aguments then were existential: Bush and his cronies established a huge Executive power grab in order to do those illegal things, and I believe I pointed out that future presidents would be very, very unlikely to back away from that. It disappoints me that I’m right, but I was.

    All that said, we ARE doing less awful shit now. Why? Because Bush and his criminals are out of power.

    I have no fucking idea what you’re trying to say in your last paragraph. What limitations did the Dems push onto our intelligence services? Christ, both parties rolled over and showed their belly to the law enforcement goons in the wake of 9/11!

    The dustup about Afghanistan reflects a difference of opinion about how to proceed there. That buck stops at 1600 Pennsylvania, not with McChrystal or Petreaus (insulting nicknames are just stupid, regardless of who does it). Escalating seems like a bad, bad idea. We will not occupy and control Afghanistan. Nobody ever has. Empires die there.