Of course I know that the Republican Party, impacted by the incessant drumbeat of the Tea Party, is opposed to gun control, but my point here is that gun control is one of dozens of issues that President Obama has fumbled and is attempting to sweep under the rug, each fumble representing a missed opportunity for the Republican Party to take up the slack and earn oceans of votes. The list includes:
1. President Obama told the American people that it shouldn’t worry about the NSA ignoring the Fourth Amendment and having total, unregulated power to invade anyone’s private communications at will, then changed his mind and decided maybe it’s not a totally good thing. Net political benefit accrued by the GOP from this remarkable fumble: None.
2.The President urged an attack on Syria in response to its use of chemical weapons, then in the face of overwhelming and bipartisan opposition, backed off. Net political benefit accrued by the GOP: None.
3. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, in explaining the catastrophic rollout of Obamacare, claimed that presidents are not supposed to be hands-on like the CEO of a company, because a president just says he wants something to happen and everyone else should figure out how to do it- a stunningly foolish thing to say in terms of both honesty and political calculation. Net benefit accrued by the GOP: None.
4. The President’s Common Core Standards, forced on school districts across the country in violation of the Tenth Amendment, has, in California, with help from our state legislature when it shot itself in the foot by passing AB 484 which dropped our former world-class standards and test before Common Core could be implemented, has led the state to a disastrous period of at least two years and probably more in which we will have no standards, no standardized testing and no standards-based textbooks, the exact opposite of what the state is supposed to get for the $2 billion we’re paying (through Prop. 30- our taxes). Net political benefit accrued by the GOP: None.
It is in this context of multiple missed opportunities that I suggest that the GOP reconsider its dogmatic and exceedingly unpopular opposition to any sort of gun control. Here’s gun control as #5 on my list:
5. The President fled the scene after Congress rebuffed his efforts at post-Sandy Hook gun control and remains AWOL on the issue, having had virtually nothing to say on the endless series of civilian massacres since Sandy Hook, up to and including last week’s LAX shooting in which an unbalanced man was able to obtain a .223-caliber assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition for purposes of killing TSA agents whom his deranged mind perceived as the vanguard of a New World Order. Net political benefit to the GOP: None.
Thus I pick gun control as one example from a long list of issues bungled by the President after which there has been no apparent effort by the GOP to benefit politically.
Let’s take a look at the argument, most vociferously hammered at us by the Tea Party, that has restrained the GOP regarding gun control. The argument, as I’ve heard it expressed lately, is that the Second Amendment must be interpreted as a directive to the effect that the states were intended to be something like autonomous countries, with their own militias, and the guns owned in each household are therefore sacrosanct as potential weaponry for a hypothetical federal grab at tyranny. Really? Well, the closest thing we have to such a federal grab at tyranny these days is, as noted above, the NSA’s nearly total access to everyone’s private communications- that is, everyone in the world’s. Let’s say someone really did want a New World Order- the first thing you’d need would be that kind of spying ability. Who could oppose you? You would know everything about everyone. The question then becomes, with privately owned weaponry coming out of our ears, what good did any of our “well armed militia” do in halting or modifying the NSA’s powers?
The NSA’s near total spying abilities developed right under our noses without a shot fired. Now that the surveillance state is a fait accompli, what would it take to reverse things, to reign in the NSA so that it does its legitimate job of protecting U.S. citizens by spying only when there is probable cause of harmful intent, as provided in the Fourth Amendment? Does anyone seriously believe that personal firearms will have anything to do with that process? If you do, then you’ve been playing too many video games. All it would really take is a political party- and in this case, since it’s clearly not going to be the Democrats, that leaves only the Republicans- to stand up and say, ”You can’t do this to us! If you persist, we will run a candidate for president who will win, and after winning this president will fire the heads of the NSA and put people in who did their 10th grade homework and read “1984” and know how to proceed carefully and thoughtfully to protect us, within the bounds of the Fourth Amendment.
I’m not holding my breath for the many sincere and earnest people in the Tea Party to wake up out of their fantasies, but surely there will be GOP leadership, prompted perhaps by donors who are wondering what useless juggernaut they’ve created in the Tea Party, which will step up to capitalize on the opportunities which the Obama Administration is attempting to hand them on a silver platter.
Doug Lasken is a retired LA Unified teacher, recently returned to coach debate, a freelancer and education consultant. Read his blog at http://laskenlog.blogspot.com/ and write him at email@example.com