Left gives up on guns, moves on to mental health
I must say I was surprised that so many on the left, in the wake of the Arizona shootings, went all in on the "conservatives are responsible" meme. What ever happened to the days when the instantaneous response would be "guns are responsible"?
It is fair to say that many liberals have become unenthusiastic about pursuing the gun issue. Yes, there are still advocacy groups and certain lawmakers who push for gun control, but, as a party, the Democrats have essentially thrown in the towel. Maybe it was the shock of the Heller decision, which confirmed that the Second Amendment is an individual right. But, more likely, reality has dawned that this is simply a loser politically for them. Bill Clinton famously mused that it was the gun issue that cost Democrats the House in 1994 and Al Gore the presidency in 2000.
You therefore have Jamelle Bouie, at the prominent left-leaning American Prospect, recommending:
I, for one, would rather see Obama push for improved mental-health services -- and maybe a little gun control -- rather than indulge in another pedantic call for "civility" and "bipartisanship." Civility won't change anything, but better mental health care will save lives and families.
Well, I for one, appreciate jettisoning the whole "heated political rhetoric is responsible" theme. (I do sense that having engaged in a crass and distasteful exercise in blaming their political enemies, sheepish liberals are beginning to recognize they have overreached and generally are dropping any political explanation for the lunatic's crime.) What is more, Bouie cites with some enthusiasm, this from conservative gadfly David Frum:
Go all in on mental health. Liberals will want the president to address gun control. Unsmart. Stokes your opposition, leads to a political contest you cannot win, and even if you do win, what really do you accomplish? A ban on extended magazines? Next time the killer will bring two guns.
But more resources for mental health services? Democrats say yay. Enhancement of power to commit the dangerously mentally ill? Will appeal to the center and right. Bonus point: such a discussion inherently favors the president by stimulating a discussion about what government can and should do, rather than the preferred Republican topic of what government can't and shouldn't.
Well gosh, if the left is going to be that clear-eyed and practical, there might be something doable on the topic. And, thank goodness, we are finally on to something that has something to do with the Arizona murders, rather than babbling on about something that has nothing to do with the incident.
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