Occam's Razor, Lame Ducks, & The Second Amendment

By Steve Deace

With the families at Sandy Hook still grieving, President Obama picked a political fight for anti-Second Amendment measures that wouldn’t have done anything to avoid tragedies like Sandy Hook, and yesterday he lost.

Welcome to lame duck status, Mr. President.

President Obama did not take losing well yesterday, and in a way you can’t blame him. When it comes to legislation he’s pretty much gotten his way his entire presidency whether Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner was the House Speaker.

But on Wednesday he suffered the first real policy defeat of his administration when Republican Pat Toomey’s sellout of the Second Amendment failed in the United States Senate. There is no way to spin this as anything other than a defeat for the president, which is why not even the mainstream media is trying to. I don’t say this lightly, but this administration cynically attempted to use the tragedy of Newtown as justification for shredding the U.S. Constitution, but it failed.

While that’s a tough thing for me to write, there’s no other explanation for why they didn’t attempt these gun control measures when they had a 60-seat majority in the U.S. Senate and control of the U.S. House earlier in Obama’s presidency. They didn’t need any Republican sellouts like Toomey then. They could just rubber stamp whatever they wanted to do. So why didn’t they try violating the Second Amendment when they clearly had the votes?

Since Occam’s razor is always in effect, the only answer you can reasonably come to, unfortunate though it may be, is that they needed to milk a tragedy for their political purposes. Never let a serious crisis go to waste, after all.

Not only did Obama lose his first real policy fight, but he also put his party further in peril in the 2014 midterm elections by putting vulnerable Democrats on the record on an issue that is a consistent political loser for them. Midterm elections for re-elected presidents are historically difficult enough, and yesterday’s vote will make it more so.

Second terms for presidents are also historically disappointing. Yesterday’s defeat, despite three months of more than favorable media coverage in support of the president’s gun grab, could be the first sign that Obama will not be immune to that disappointment—especially with the economy showing no tangible signs of improving in the near future.

But if Obama was a big loser in yesterday’s vote, the Constitution and pro-Second Amendment groups like our partners at Gun Owners of America were the big winners. What does it say that when the U.S. Constitution wins this president loses? Groups like GOA proved they still wield plenty of muscle, and they were willing to stand up to Obama while the Republican Party has been in full retreat.

Another big winner yesterday was Speaker Boehner. He now avoids a showdown that might have cost him the Speaker’s gavel. Already four times this year Boehner and his acolytes have allowed legislation to pass out of the House that a majority of the majority party didn’t support. Which means Boehner was advancing Pelosi’s agenda even though she’s now in the minority. Had the Toomey sellout passed out of the U.S. Senate, Boehner would’ve been pitted between more of the liberal media pressure he’s repeatedly proven he’s vulnerable to, and conservatives in his own chamber that support the Second Amendment.

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Had Boehner caved on guns it likely would’ve cost him the Speakership. Had he held firm he would’ve faced the meaningless media criticism he cares too much about and probably cried some more. If your name is John Boehner, that’s a real catch-22. But now that Toomey-Obama was defeated in the U.S. Senate, Boehner avoids having to show any leadership or masculine courage for at least another news cycle.

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