Yes, I’m Gonna Sing The Doom Song Now

Greg Sargent does not believe that the House and Senate GOP can stand up to the overwhelming agreement among American voters that universal background checks are needed for purchasing firearms:

Every member of Congress, Democrat and Republican, needs to be asked this question: Do you believe people should be able to buy guns in America without undergoing a background check designed to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from getting their hands on lethal weapons that can ultimately be used in crimes and mass killings?

In one sense, this is arguably the most important question at the heart of the gun debate. But it’s being obscured by the widespread media focus on the assault weapons ban. To read many accounts is to come away believing that the assault ban is the centerpiece of Obama’s package of initiatives — and that because the ban faces a tough road in Congress, Obama’s whole proposal is doooooomed.

OK, I’ll bite.  Why not, Greg?

There’s a lot of chatter to the effect that the House GOP leadership won’t allow a vote on any of Obama’s proposals. In the case of background checks, however, historical precedent suggests the contrary. In the wake of the Columbine massacre in the late 1990s, public pressure — mobilized by then-President Bill Clinton — forced the GOP controlled House and Senate to allow votes on requiring background checks for all gun show sales and other gun provisions. Though Republicans were hostile to the bill, they ultimately relented and allowed votes on it. It passed the Senate but failed in the House, but that doesn’t mean it would fail this time. The point is that public anger in the wake of horrific massacres has been known to break the GOP’s determination to block votes on gun regulations — particularly one as rational as improving the background check system.

Clinton’s push for background checks still failed.  This was back when Republicans were slightly less clinically insane than they are now (or at best, equally so.)  What actually makes you think the outcome’s going to be any different?  The NRA is going to back down in shame after going after Obama’s daughters and screaming that the next step will be confiscation of firearms and an open, bloody civil war?  They’ll somehow throw their hands up after 4 years of HE’S COMING FOR YOUR GUNS and BUY MORE GUNS NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE and say “Well gosh, you’re right, we went too far” and surrender?  That the GOP after endlessly demagoguing the point and basically vowing to kill everything this President has announced so far since the election, will suddenly see reason?

Seems totally legit, bro.  Look, it’s one thing for the Powers That Be over on Wall Street to tap the GOP on the shoulder and say “Knock it off on the debt ceiling, guys.”  It’s another thing entirely for the NRA to tap the GOP on the shoulder and say “Argle Bargle Bloogity Confiscation!” and stuff.

So yeah, if the GOP was worried about backlash from the public with the way they’ve gerrymandered everything, I haven’t seen any evidence.  We’re talking about a bunch of clods who didn’t ever feel the need to have a vote on the American Jobs Act.  I’d love to be happily surprised on this.  But betting against the GOP doing the inconceivably evil and stupid thing in 2013 is for suckers, full stop.

71 replies
  1. 1
    Sharl says:

    I guess Sargent must think his Twitter encounter* with “reasonable conservative” Liz Mair will be an anomaly in this battle for passage of new regs (*part of that seen here). I think he’s in for a rude surprise. A favorable head count is certainly a good thing, but intensity of support is valuable as well, and as many here have noted, the gun lovers have traditionally had the overwhelming advantage in intensity, as folks working the phones for Congressional reps can attest.

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Agreed. The public’s views don’t mean anything unless the public are willing to vote for Democrats if and when the GOP ignores them.

  3. 3
    Robin G. says:

    I still think our best hope is for 30-odd GOP Reps from moderate/still-contentious districts to declare themselves Independents. From their POV, I can’t imagine it’s an unattractive prospect; think of all the ass-kissing they’d get. A whole passel of Liebermans would be insufferable, but at least stuff might get done.

  4. 4
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    inb4 NRA-sponsored gun defenders responding to the gun-signal.

  5. 5
    gvg says:

    Do you suggest we should give up before we try?

    This is a long battle and has to be about cultural change more than just laws. Rather like smoke and drunk driving. Decades. Don’t try to talk us out of getting started. There will be defeats, a lot of them, especially in the beginning.

    Getting people to articulate some things will also help. TPM is posting personal stories and letters that verbalize some of it. Part of what has burned me so much is the in your face bulling arrogance I’ve been noting the last 10 years or so. 2009 guns paraded at Democratic candidates rally’s just really pissed me off. That is mafia style intimidation, and those jerks should go to jail, but it didn’t even get thought of that way. Those kind of acts are very different from going out hunting or having a gun under the cash register. Threatening needs to be recognized as different and treated legally as different. We need to say this.

    In addition the people who demand that we ALL own guns just like them are infringing on the rest of us’s freedom and need to be clearly taught to take a hike.

  6. 6
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Baud: Exactly. If the Repubs feel that there are no consequences for their bad behavior, they’ll continue unabated through 2014. Vote them out.

  7. 7
    Raven says:

    BTW, today is Boortz’s last day

  8. 8
    hoodie says:

    @Raven: to be replaced by Herman Cain. From the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous.

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    @hoodie: So true.

  10. 10
    Tone in DC says:

    @gvg:

    I remember that “picnic” in Bull Run a few years ago. And the other incidents you mention. I hope enough people are getting closer and closer to outrage, so that votes like this one can actually happen, and be won.

    The NRA IS getting desperate, very desperate. And US Americans, such as, can catch a whiff of that foulness a mile away, these days.

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Face says:

    Not only are the gun safety measures doomed, there’s no incentive for House GOPers to vote yes on anything with Obama’s stink on it for the next 2 years. Primary opponents and all that. Unless Boner goes all “Dem caucus + ~20 non-tards” for every bill that needs passing, I’m guessing the House will be the place democracy goes to die.

  13. 13
    chris says:

    @Ben Cisco:
    “Shut your noise tube Taco Human!”

  14. 14
    TS says:

    @Face:

    So far 2 important bills have been passed by Dems + small number of GOPers – don’t think it won’t continue. There are a few sane goppers still around.

  15. 15
    22over7 says:

    I opened my local fishwrap this morning to find that a state rep has introduced a bill that prohibits federal agents and gun dealers from enforcing federal gun laws.

    I’m still trying to get my head around it. A law that prohibits federal agents from enforcing federal law.

    Luckily, my state house is majority dem, so it has no chance and probably won’t get out of committee, but even the idea that this could be a thing is ruining my whole breakfast.

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  18. 18
    Cacti says:

    O/T, but Media Matters has just posted a piece on how “Gun Appreciation Day” is being sponsored by a white nationalist party.

    But Obama’s a nazi, because shut up, that’s why!

  19. 19
    Cassidy says:

    I love Invader Zim. My kids turned me on to that one.

    Fuck all the noise. It’s time to confiscate some shit.

  20. 20
    schrodinger's cat says:

    May be nothing will happen, but we can’t give up without even trying. I was thinking about the abolitionists, their struggle must have seemed so daunting when they first started.
    Is anybody else watching the PBS miniseries?

  21. 21
    TRNC says:

    The conversation won’t change as long as the focus is on the 2nd amendment and not the articles of the constitution – specifically, article 1 section 8 (call forth the militia to suppress insurrections, etc) and article 2 section 2 (president is the CIC of the militias).

    Wingnuts want all of the rights and none of the responsibility.

  22. 22
    flukebucket says:

    @Raven:

    BTW, today is Boortz’s last day

    And it seems like he has been leaving for 20 years now. My God what a goodbye tour. I hope he never tries a comeback. I don’t think I can take it.

    BTW Raven, have you read the thread over at Get The Picture that links to Balloon-Juice? Man, there is some shit in the comments over there that is as funny as anything you will ever see.

    I think the Te’oing picture should go viral!

  23. 23

    I can haz open thread? Kthnxbai

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Amir Khalid says:

    @TS:
    A Republican Speaker going to Nancy Pelosi for votes to pass legislation House Republicans oppose seems out of bounds. Surely the crazies in Boehner’s caucus will want to punish him somehow.

  26. 26
    Tone in DC says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Didn’t they try already, with Cantor and the other would-be Brutuses trying to oust His Orangeness?

    Just sayin’.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    kindness says:

    What a pair. Compare Greg Sargent v Kevin Drum. I read them both but Kevin has been really negative on debt ceiling/tax cuts extension (and wholly wrong on his need to cut Social Security/Medicare) and then we have Greg who is whistling sunshine up our collective asses.

    I prefer Greg’s mind frame but he’s wrong on this issue and I like Kevin but he mimics the Serious Village Elders way too much (must be the water in S. Cal or something).

    Anyway….I do think the background checks and the limiting clip size are achievable now. All that needs to be done is to keep repeating 20 dead 5 & 6 year olds. But I will admit Republicans will have to be dragged into this by their own folk to get it done. Liberals can’t do it.

  29. 29
    RepubAnon says:

    @Baud: Precisely – gerrymandering removes the need to worry about what anyone but your core voters.

    Thus, we must start trying to talk sense to the core Republican voters. It’ll take some work, but its the only way.

  30. 30
    Fullname Username says:

    It has occurred to me that if the current gun fever of today prevailed when DC was getting sniped every third white van in that city would be shot full of holes.

    Since then, more guns haven’t lead to fewer mass killings in the United States, specifically in urban America. That doesn’t address the problem of Vice Presidents shooting people in the face, which is more apt to happen in the rural areas.

    Tonto and Kimosabe ain’t got no room in New York City.

  31. 31
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Tone in DC:
    Well, if l’Homme Orange keeps acting as Pelosi’s majority whip I can’t see the Teabagger tendency just letting it slide.

  32. 32
    libarbarian says:

    BUY MORE GUNS NOW BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

    Van someone please explain this to me:

    what the fuck purpose is there is having more guns as opposed to more ammo for the guns you already own?

    How on earth does it make sense to have a whole bunch of weapons chambered in a whole bunch of different calibers and then have to buy a wide variety of different ammo which can only be used in 1 or 2 of your guns?

    Hoe the fuck does this make sense to anyone?

  33. 33
    Zifnab25 says:

    People want political action. The Dems are delivering that action. When the Republicans obstruct middling, reasonable, popular legislation, the Democrats will get to tar them as obstructionists once again.

    Obama is going to lean on the Republicans like this over and over. He doesn’t have to break through every time. Just enough to force fractures and split the caucus. The GOP House is going to either look like belligerent do-nothing legislative prudes, or splintered powerless losers. Either way, Dems can work legislation through the system and build a strong campaign for 2014.

  34. 34
    Zifnab25 says:

    @libarbarian: I’m sorry, I tried to read what you said, but all I could see on my monitor was “LOOK AT ME! I’M A LIBERAL FASCIST! I’M COMING FOR YOUR GUNS! TEE-HEE!”

  35. 35
    huckster says:

    @Amir Khalid: I guess… but then again

    I think as long as the Teahadists can maintain their purity a-la voting against disaster relief, or raising the debt ceiling, or against gun control they’ll avoid being primaried for the most part, and ultimately that’s all they really give a shit about. Nobody wants Boehner’s job right now. That could change possibly, but until it does I think this is an arrangement they could live with.

  36. 36
    Tone In DC says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Point taken.

  37. 37
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    Call up your conservitard Rep. Ask them how many more kids have to be slaughtered before they will reconsider their position on universal background checks.

    Tell them that they’ll have to answer the same question at any town hall or public forum that they are in during the next two years.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne (iPhone) says:

    @libarbarian:

    The purpose is that the NRA is the lobbying organization for gun manufacturers, so their only interest is in getting consumers to buy more guns. It’s totally impractical but, hey, that’s never stopped women from buying more shoes than they could wear in a month.

  39. 39
    LanceThruster says:

    Oh, Gir.

    You can make even our impending doom sound fun!

  40. 40
    Tonal Crow says:

    One-time background checks aren’t effective enough.

    Just as you need to renew your driver’s license periodically, you should have to renew your gun license. More often, because, you know, we all want to keep guns away from bad guys, and good guys sometimes go bad.

    Also too:

    1. Mandatory liability insurance that covers damages due to both negligent and intentional torts committed using a gun;

    2. Bans on carrying while intoxicated, with penalties at least as strong as those for driving while intoxicated.

  41. 41
    Marc says:

    @Sharl: Oh my god, Mair has the best comeback ever:

    I mean, depending on definition of “mentally ill,” I could be barred from owning a gun. Which is absurd.

  42. 42
    Ohmmade says:

    Thanks for the Zim reference.

    I not only worked on the show for five years but I was also I’m a few episodes :)

  43. 43
    Dave N. says:

    @libarbarian: Keep in mind you are talking about people who spent the better part of a year screaming “Keep government hands off Medicare!”, while perched on scooters Medicare bought for them. Not to mention the people who then complained to their Representatives about the lack of funding for public transportation to take them to a rally against government spending.

  44. 44
    Joey Maloney says:

    @22over7: I opened my local fishwrap this morning to find that a state rep has introduced a bill that prohibits federal agents and gun dealers from enforcing federal gun laws.

    Fucking federalism, how does it work?

  45. 45
    rea says:

    what the fuck purpose is there is having more guns as opposed to more ammo for the guns you already own?

    The more guns you own, the bigger your penis. Or something.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    ruemara says:

    @Ohmmade: I love you. Bear my children.

  48. 48
    Ted & Hellen says:

    So yeah, if the GOP was worried about backlash from the public with the way they’ve gerrymandered everything, I haven’t seen any evidence.

    Maybe if Obama and the Dems let them know, over and over, that this happened and what it means, the public would raise hell. I guarantee you the vast majority have no clue.

    Dem message machine sucks the big donkey dick. Full stop.

  49. 49
    priscianusjr says:

    @TRNC: The conversation won’t change as long as the focus is on the 2nd amendment and not the articles of the constitution – specifically, article 1 section 8 (call forth the militia to suppress insurrections, etc) and article 2 section 2 (president is the CIC of the militias).— Wingnuts want all of the rights and none of the responsibility.

    Spot on! Thanks for this.

  50. 50
    Shalimar says:

    I was listening to the beginning of Florida talk radio host Burnie Thompson’s show yesterday. I don’t remember the exact words, but he basically said this was the worst persecution of a group in history. There will never be any action as long as people like Thompson control half of congress.

  51. 51
    Cassidy says:

    @Ohmmade: I’m a My kids are huge fans.

  52. 52
    priscianusjr says:

    @Amir Khalid: A Republican Speaker going to Nancy Pelosi for votes to pass legislation House Republicans oppose seems out of bounds. Surely the crazies in Boehner’s caucus will want to punish him somehow.

    Crazy, isn’t it? But no. They may want to, but they can’t.

    Just remember this: there aren’t quite enough of them.

    The reason it seems crazy is that for the last several years the House has been functioning under a de facto parliamentary system, where the majority party had to vote together (so-called “Hastert Rule”). In that scenario, the fanatics had a lock on the vote. But this is not traditionally how the American legislative system works. It had more flexibility. Now, by sheer weight of events, and some very intelligent political moves by Democrats, you are seeing the Republicans forced to give up that parliamentary discipline. There are now diehards and realists.

    I emphasize the word “forced”. So it looks … awkward. The whole republican Party is seriously off kilter right now.

  53. 53
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    I thought the NRA was waling back the universal background check position. They claim that they’ve always been for it.

  54. 54
    priscianusjr says:

    @libarbarian: How on earth does it make sense to have a whole bunch of weapons chambered in a whole bunch of different calibers and then have to buy a wide variety of different ammo which can only be used in 1 or 2 of your guns?

    There are things that science cannot explain.

  55. 55
    sharl says:

    @Marc: It’s been a few days since I followed the complete version of that Sargent-Mair twitter-chat, but if I recall correctly, Mair mentioned that she was afflicted with depression. That’s what I think she is referring to.

  56. 56
    Linda Featheringill says:

    Zandar, I think your argument is very logical and firmly based in reality.

    However, I hope you’re wrong. And you do, too.

  57. 57
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    @libarbarian: It makes sense to the gun manufacturers and therefore the NRA.

  58. 58
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    Sometimes its fun to take a break, and laugh at the gun nuts.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....t33bbA0GeM

  59. 59
    Zandar says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I do. I’ll take any bet for Obama to do the right thing (and I’ve lost a few of these), and for the GOP to do the Most Evil Possible Of All The Things. Never lost one of those yet.

  60. 60
    Chyron HR says:

    @Ted & Hellen:

    Just out of (morbid) curiosity, is there anything that the elected officials of the Republican party could hypothetically do that you wouldn’t blame 100% on Democrats?

  61. 61
    Pinkamena Panic says:

    @Chyron HR: Speshultimmeh’s a righty who uses concern trolling and obnoxiousness as the few weapons he has. Best not to bother asking.

    Hey Timmeh! How long until Cole bans your ass again?

  62. 62
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Pinkamena Panic:

    oh…prolly a long time, since he never has.

  63. 63
    JoyceH says:

    Clinton’s push for background checks still failed. This was back when Republicans were slightly less clinically insane than they are now (or at best, equally so.) What actually makes you think the outcome’s going to be any different?

    Well, I think because back then the NRA’s public image as an unstoppable behemoth was unquestioned, whereas in 2013 there has been a lot of media attention to the fact that almost all the candidates the NRA supported financially in the recent election lost, and almost all the candidates they opposed in the recent election won. They’re being exposed as Oz’s Man Behind The Curtain, and at least some of the GOP House members must have seen that info.

    Plus, there’s a lot more attention this time around to the ‘gun show loophole’ and how many guns pass through that loophole and buyers evade background checks. And the public is mad about it.

  64. 64
    Ted & Hellen says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Chyron, do you feel that a majority of the American people know about the Repuke’s recent and massive gerrymandering exploits?

    Why do you think that is?

    Do you think the Dems have adequately informed the public?

    If not, why?

    If so, why don’t they know?

    Why let your emotions get in the way of discussion?

  65. 65

    Look, it’s one thing for the Powers That Be over on Wall Street to tap the GOP on the shoulder and say “Knock it off on the debt ceiling, guys.” It’s another thing entirely for the NRA to tap the GOP on the shoulder and say “Argle Bargle Bloogity Confiscation!” and stuff.

    Exactly. I hope and pray you’re wrong, but it’s not the way to bet.

    We’ve still got to pull out the stops on this one anyway. Because if 20 dead first-graders aren’t enough to mobilize the good guys on this one, I’m scared to think of what it would take.

    I will pull myself out of my lethargy and call my Congresscritters because of the parents of those 20 children, and because of how it would have ripped my world to shreds if my son had been one of those kids.

    And even that aside, losing well is important. It lays down a marker of what’s important to you, lets people who are on your side KNOW you are on their side. And lays the foundation for trying and succeeding down the road.

    We have to be willing to try and fail, and try again and fail again, and try yet again, if we are to hope to succeed on the things that are important to us.

  66. 66
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    Ohmmade says:

    @Cassidy: hahaha. I was a huge fan of jhonens before I got the job. I will just say that doing that show was the most fun job I have ever had. I also was lucky enough to do some music as well. But I was in charge of the art department.

  68. 68
    gelfling545 says:

    Clinton’s background check law failed. – So did his health care reform but President Obama’s didn’t. The fact Gun control will not be easy and it may not be immediate but if we make no attempt because there is resistance it will be never.

    We may not get everything we’d like to see but I don’t believe that even the NRA can keep some portion of the gun control proposals from being enacted and some would be better than none.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Nope. SATSQ.

  70. 70
    Eli Rabett says:

    Teh NY/NJ/NE Republicans owe their sourthern brethren a bit of payback and guns may be it.

  71. 71
    LanceThruster says:

    @Ohmmade:

    No way! We’re not worthy. That show was awesome on so many levels. I always looked forward to catching a new episode when it was on and…Hey! I saw a squirrel.

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