Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Winning on Gun Control

Nate Cohn makes the case for Democrats winning using gun control as a wedge issue,
It’s easy to envision the next Democratic presidential candidate campaigning on gun control—and winning. Thirteen years ago, Democrats needed rural Ohio, West Virginia, or Missouri to win the presidency. Today, Democratic presidential candidates are less reliant on rural, conservative gun owners than at any time in the history of the party. Democrats win with big margins in cities and suburbs, where support for gun control is an asset, not a hindrance. This is even true in Ohio, where Obama won twice despite losing additional ground in the traditionally Democratic, gun-toting, southeastern part of the state. Now Republicans find themselves in the place that haunted Democrats in the early part of the last decade: To win, Republicans need to reclaim the socially moderate suburbs around Denver, Washington, and Philadelphia, where gun control is a real asset to Democratic candidates.
Would Hillary Clinton have the courage to do this?

One of the things that hurt Hillary last time was the inability of her campaign to understand that it wasn't 1996 any more.  As Cohn points out, America is drastically different today than it was even 10 years ago. 

Courage aside, the wisdom of using guns as a wedge issue is another matter.  Using gun control as a wedge would be incredibly divisive, making governing with a Republican House even harder than it is today.  

Monday, April 08, 2013

Because it's not 1979 anymore


On the occasion of Margaret Thatcher's death, Matt Yglesias has a very insightful post today.

Thatcher and Reagan both enjoyed great policy success -- as did LBJ domestically -- but it's not 1979 anymore. Times change.
Thatcher, like Ronald Reagan...became what [LBJ] never was—more than an influential politician but a generation-defining icon. And yet while the policies of the Thatcher and Reagan revolutions have been largely successful, the political legacy seems to me to be quite mixed. Listening to contemporary conservatives, you often get the sense that they want to just rerun the policy agenda of the late 1970s and early 1980s. But today the leading global problem is climate change, not Communism. That's not because Communism isn't bad, it's because the Cold War is over. Privatizing state-run industrial companies won't jump-start growth. That's not because state-ownership of industrial firms is a good idea, it's because we don't have any. Reducing the power of labor unions to curb cost-push inflation doesn't fix anything because labor unions aren't powerful anymore. When you triumph, you triumph. But history doesn't end, new issues come to the front of the stack. We have a crisis of inadequate demand. We have the problem of providing health care to an aging population. Trying to apply the "lessons of Munich" to Vietnam was a disaster. Trying to apply the economic policy solutions of a generation ago to the problems of today is equally inappropriate.
Trying to apply the lessons Munich to Iraq also didn't work out so well. I really don't understand the Republican/conservative insistence in looking backward and trying to go backward. I suppose that's what makes them conservatives, but it doesn't take a visionary to see the obvious: Success in the future requires actually moving forward into the future and building a majority with the citizens of the country as they exist today, and not as they existed in 1980 on that August day in Philadelphia Mississippi where Ronald Reagan launched is general election campaign.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The NRA's Jack-booted Thugs take over National Press Club

I find this absolutely stunning for the gall and and also because this wasn't a scandal.

Dana Milbank reports on the goonery of NRA thugs at the National Press Club on April 2 where the NRA was rolling out their plan to arm schools,
The thugs....About 20 of them -- roughly one for every three reporters -- fanned out through the National Press Club, some in uniforms with gun holsters exposed, others with earpieces and bulges under their suit jackets. In a spectacle that officials at the National Press Club said they had never seen before, the NRA gunmen directed some photographers not to take pictures, ordered reporters out of the lobby when NRA officials passed and inspected reporters' briefcases before granting them access to the news conference.
First, where was the usual security at the National Press Club? Second, on exactly what authority did this self-appointed militia operate? And finally, why on earth would anyone take orders from these kooks?

And forgive me for asking the obvious, but what about the Second Amendment rights of those attending this press conference?  Assuming any of the reporters was carrying, was the NRA going to take their gun away from them?  As I understand the position of the NRA anyone carrying a concealed weapon that day would have been well within their Second Amendment rights to shot any one of those goons in the head for even trying to take their gun from them.  Am I missing something?

Because undeserving people have been called fascists too many times, it makes it harder to point out examples of actual fascist among us in 2013.  The NRA is running their very own Sturmabteilung or Camicie Nerre. This is exactly how fascists in Germany, Italy and Spain behaved in the 1920s and 1930s before they took power.