Patterico's Pontifications


Obama on the Issues: Guns

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 7:37 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama is trying to win the votes of rural gun enthusiasts in Pennsylvania:

“Barack Obama did not hunt or fish as a child. He lives in a big city. And as an Illinois state legislator and a U.S. senator, he consistently backed gun control legislation.

But he is nevertheless making a play for pro-gun voters in rural Pennsylvania.

By highlighting his background in constitutional law and downplaying his voting record, Obama is engaging in a quiet but targeted drive to win over an important constituency that on the surface might seem hostile to his views.”

Obama’s approach is to emphasize that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to gun ownership while downplaying his history of votes in favor of gun control:

“Obama has long backed gun-control measures, including a ban on semiautomatic weapons and concealed weapons, and a limit on handgun purchases to one a month. He has declined to take a stance on the legality of the handgun prohibition in Washington, D.C., which the U.S. Supreme Court is reviewing, although Obama has voiced support for the right of state and local governments to regulate guns.

In the Senate, he and Clinton broke on one vote, in July 2006. Siding with gun-rights advocates, Obama voted to prohibit the confiscation of firearms during an emergency or natural disaster. Clinton was one of 16 senators to oppose the amendment.

A two-page white paper on Obama’s website doesn’t mention his voting record.

Instead, he introduces himself as a former constitutional law professor who “believes the Second Amendment creates an individual right, and he greatly respects the constitutional rights of Americans to bear arms.”

“He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting,” the paper states. “He also believes that the right is subject to reasonable and common sense regulation.”

The NRA and others describe Obama’s approach as trying to walk a “Third Way” tightrope:

“Obama’s approach is similar to one advocated by Third Way, which issued a seven-step blueprint in 2006 to close the “gun gap” with Republicans. In a memo on its website, the group urges progressives to avoid silence on gun issues, and instead “redefine the issue in a way that appeals to gun owning voters.”

Among the key steps, according to Third Way: “Own the Second Amendment” and “Take Your Message Directly to Gun Owners — Don’t Let Your Opponent Define You.”

The National Rifle Association posted an article on its website in February warning members against buying into Obama and Clinton, who were using the “scripted rhetorical tricks in the Third Way playbook to the letter.”

Obama has reportedly gained support in rural areas but some Pennsylvanians aren’t buying it:

“Melody Zullinger, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs who received the Obama campaign e-mail on his gun record, said Obama sounds like he is “speaking out of both sides of his mouth.”

“I was at one of our county meetings last night and I mentioned this to [federation members],” Zullinger said Friday of the Obama outreach. “Everyone basically blew it off and weren’t buying it.”

No voter agrees with every candidate on every issue and not every voter will consider gun control a litmus test issue. However, Obama has consistently supported gun control so I don’t see how a voter who opposes gun control can support him.

Sometimes it seems that Obama is a stealth candidate on almost every issue.


23 Responses to “Obama on the Issues: Guns”

  1. Imagine the derision that McCain would (rightfully) earn if he tried to tell pro-choice voters that he was their candidate because he had once voted against establishing criminal penalties for women who had abortions. Would anyone take him seriously? Yet Obama somehow believes that his slavish fans in his party and the media (but I repeat myself) will give him a pass on this obvious and insincere pander.

    JVW (0b3fa7)

  2. “He will protect the rights of hunters and other law-abiding Americans to purchase, own, transport, and use guns for the purposes of hunting and target shooting,” the paper states. “He also believes that the right is subject to reasonable and common sense regulation

    Please note that Self or Home defense isn’t mentioned.

    Senator Obama, I deliver unto you the same message I wish to speak to Senator McCain:

    Fuck. You.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  3. Scott – You’re running out of candidates.

    DRJ (a431ca)

  4. DRJ – We’ve been running out of decent candidates for years now.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  5. DRJ, I was out of canidates when Romney dropped out, but I was without my favorite when Fred dropped out…

    So, to get it out of the way… Hey Senator Clinton: Fuck. You.

    Scott Jacobs (d3a6ec)

  6. i’d repeat my comment from a previous thread, but why bother: you simply cannot believe anything cake boi says.

    redc1c4 (21981b)

  7. Well that clears it up. The collectivists don’t like people owning guns. That’s a tough one to figure out. I wonder why that is?

    bill-tb (26027c)

  8. Scott, given the inevitable reality that one of your three potential fuckees will become President next year, I strongly suggest revising your McCain insult (McInsult?) accordingly:

    Senator McCain, if you’re still around eight years from now, then fuck your future self eight years hence. In the highly unlikely event that the Democrats offer up someone better in four, fuck you then. In the meantime, here’s the biggest donation I can afford to help keep America from being truly fucked.

    All better.

    Xrlq (62cad4)

  9. One of the big problems I have with certain Progressives I know quite well is that they think I’m as dumb as they are.

    J. Peden (a0bb6f)

  10. i can’t vote for mccain, clinton or obama. i don’t like any of these people. i have a hard time trusting a candidate who’s never fished or hunted in his life. what did he do for fun when he was growing up, other than cocaine?

    assistant devil's advocate (3c13ba)

  11. I don’t see how a voter who opposes gun control can support him.

    Because most voters get their news through MSM. They have no clue of Obama’s record and only see their usual MSM talking heads just a glow about the guy.

    jpm100 (b48b29)

  12. Why Did it Have to be … Guns?
    by L. Neil Smith

    Over the past 30 years, I’ve been paid to write almost two million words, every one of which, sooner or later, came back to the issue of guns and gun-ownership. Naturally, I’ve thought about the issue a lot, and it has always determined the way I vote.

    People accuse me of being a single-issue writer, a single- issue thinker, and a single- issue voter, but it isn’t true. What I’ve chosen, in a world where there’s never enough time and energy, is to focus on the one political issue which most clearly and unmistakably demonstrates what any politician — or political philosophy — is made of, right down to the creamy liquid center.

    Make no mistake: all politicians — even those ostensibly on the side of guns and gun ownership — hate the issue and anyone, like me, who insists on bringing it up. They hate it because it’s an X-ray machine. It’s a Vulcan mind-meld. It’s the ultimate test to which any politician — or political philosophy — can be put.

    If a politician isn’t perfectly comfortable with the idea of his average constituent, any man, woman, or responsible child, walking into a hardware store and paying cash — for any rifle, shotgun, handgun, machinegun, anything — without producing ID or signing one scrap of paper, he isn’t your friend no matter what he tells you.

    If he isn’t genuinely enthusiastic about his average constituent stuffing that weapon into a purse or pocket or tucking it under a coat and walking home without asking anybody’s permission, he’s a four-flusher, no matter what he claims.

    What his attitude — toward your ownership and use of weapons — conveys is his real attitude about you. And if he doesn’t trust you, then why in the name of John Moses Browning should you trust him?

    If he doesn’t want you to have the means of defending your life, do you want him in a position to control it?

    If he makes excuses about obeying a law he’s sworn to uphold and defend — the highest law of the land, the Bill of Rights — do you want to entrust him with anything?

    If he ignores you, sneers at you, complains about you, or defames you, if he calls you names only he thinks are evil — like “Constitutionalist” — when you insist that he account for himself, hasn’t he betrayed his oath, isn’t he unfit to hold office, and doesn’t he really belong in jail?

    Sure, these are all leading questions. They’re the questions that led me to the issue of guns and gun ownership as the clearest and most unmistakable demonstration of what any given politician — or political philosophy — is really made of.

    He may lecture you about the dangerous weirdos out there who shouldn’t have a gun — but what does that have to do with you? Why in the name of John Moses Browning should you be made to suffer for the misdeeds of others? Didn’t you lay aside the infantile notion of group punishment when you left public school — or the military? Isn’t it an essentially European notion, anyway — Prussian, maybe — and certainly not what America was supposed to be all about?

    And if there are dangerous weirdos out there, does it make sense to deprive you of the means of protecting yourself from them? Forget about those other people, those dangerous weirdos, this is about you, and it has been, all along.

    Try it yourself: if a politician won’t trust you, why should you trust him? If he’s a man — and you’re not — what does his lack of trust tell you about his real attitude toward women? If “he” happens to be a woman, what makes her so perverse that she’s eager to render her fellow women helpless on the mean and seedy streets her policies helped create? Should you believe her when she says she wants to help you by imposing some infantile group health care program on you at the point of the kind of gun she doesn’t want you to have?

    On the other hand — or the other party — should you believe anything politicians say who claim they stand for freedom, but drag their feet and make excuses about repealing limits on your right to own and carry weapons? What does this tell you about their real motives for ignoring voters and ramming through one infantile group trade agreement after another with other countries?

    Makes voting simpler, doesn’t it? You don’t have to study every issue — health care, international trade — all you have to do is use this X-ray machine, this Vulcan mind-meld, to get beyond their empty words and find out how politicians really feel. About you. And that, of course, is why they hate it.

    And that’s why I’m accused of being a single-issue writer, thinker, and voter.

    But it isn’t true, is it?

    Horatio (55069c)

  13. I don’t believe anything any of these people say but it would be interesting to hear what Clinton has to say about gun control. Her record shows she is a brain dead idiot that is probably worse than Obama.
    It will also be interesting to hear what the supreme court has to say and how fast these Demoncrats adjust their lies to align with that decision.
    I don’t trust McCain either,for a lot of reasons but what else is there? Nothing that is electable.

    Victor (8b76d7)

  14. I uppose he,ll wear blaze orange and claim he went hunting deer with a shot gun, i mean he is pulling the JOHN KERRY on us BUT WERE NOT FOOLED BY HIS SMOKE SCREEN OF LIES HE IS A DADGUM FLAT LANDER

    krazy kagu (5e1710)

  15. Instead, he introduced himself as a former Constitutional law professor

    OK, so can someone who took Constitutional law explain to me how he can claim a professorship when he was a lecturer? Am I not seeing something here? Are all university lecturers considered professors or is this just one more case of Obama padding a resume that is short?

    retire05 (c9eddc)

  16. If, by your own choice, you do, or do not, own weapons, you are a Free Citizen;
    If the State prohibits the excercise of that free choice, you are a Serf!

    To put the lie to what Obama and Clinton say about supporting gun-owners, one only has to look at the record of their key supporters: Mayor Daley in Chicago, and Gov. Rendel in PA.

    By their actions you shall know them!

    It will be very difficult for either of these candidates to establish any traction in the gun-owning/hunting/fishing community in PA, or any other state with an established hunting/fishing tradition (Blue, Coastal States need not apply).

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  17. retire05,

    Beldar had a little debate about that on March 29. In short, Obama did not hold the title of “Professor,” but a common dictionary definition of “professor” includes anyone who teaches at the college or university level. One’s opinion about whether Obama was misleading depends on what one thinks he meant, or what his audience took his statement to mean.

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  18. Retire05–I’m what’s called adjunct faculty at a relatively small school which teaches adults working towards their bachelor’s degree, and is about two steps up from a diploma mill. Staff and students invariably address me with the title of Professor. Other faculty members invariably do not; they know to keep the title for those who actually have the formal position. But the rest do, even after I explain that I’m not really a professor.
    But I never refer to myself as a professor, even in situations where I’m subjecting myself to a complicated explanation of what adjunct faculty means.

    kishnevi (86bdc7)

  19. DWPitelli wrote: but a common dictionary definition of “professor” includes anyone who teaches at the college or university level.

    Students should address lecturers (and “adjunct professors”) by that title, because it would be weird and awkward not to.

    But that doesn’t mean lecturers can tell people that they are “Law Professors” or “Professors of Law.” Even lowly lecturers know that much.

    For a man who never published a law review article in his life, it takes a lot of brass to call yourself a “law professor.”

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  20. Obama’s stance on this issue is easy to explain: he thinks gun rights supporters are dumb, and therefore, easily fooled.

    Well, I have news for Sen. Obama: we might be dumb but we’re not easily fooled!!!

    Daryl Herbert (4ecd4c)

  21. For a man who never published a law review article in his life, it takes a lot of brass to call yourself a “law professor.”

    For an empty suit who is where he is because he made himself the puppet of powerful white men, serendipity helped along by dirty politics, and a weird kind of affirmative action, it takes a lot of brass to consider yourself capable of being President of the United States.

    nk (764292)

  22. I still think Michael Barone has hit the thing right on when he compares Obama to Adlai Stevenson. I remember Stevenson. Of course, guns weren’t an issue in those days. The left hadn’t yet decided that gun control could control crime. Crime wasn’t even much of a problem. That came in the 60s.

    Mike K (86bddb)

  23. It’s not that he thinks that firearms rights supporters are dumb, he thinks that they’ve been politically silenced. Coming from Chicago, where for decades the police have hidden the applications for concealed carry permits, this is perhaps understandable.

    Sorry, Senator. Your world view is about to collide with reality.

    htom (412a17)

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