The campaign dog that hasn’t barked – yet
Now that we are in the middle of another presidential election season, the issues that the campaign will eventually be fought over are beginning to take shape. We are sure to hear a lot about health care, mandates, entitlements, debt, deficits and stimulus(s). There are even some made up issues, like contraception, created out of thin air by Democrats in order to replace issues that they are losing the American public on (like abortion and religious liberty), in an attempt to scare women into thinking that Republicans want to ban the pill.
But think for a moment about what we are not hearing much about anymore. It’s an issue that, for a few decades, liberals seemed physically unable to shut up about. The issue is gun control, and for this (and recent election seasons) it has been the dog that hasn’t barked.
Modern day Democrats have had an ongoing infatuation with gun control. It seemed that, whatever the problem, guns were the cause; and more gun control was the solution. But a funny thing happened on the way to liberal Nirvana, the American public didn’t go along.
Consider some findings from a recent Gallup poll:
- Support for an outright ban on handguns is at an all time low of just 26%
- More Americans oppose (53%) rather than support (43%) a ban on semi-automatics (or so-called “assault riffles”), a flip from the peak of Democrat led gun hysteria in the 1990’s
- Fewer Americans than ever – just 43% – say gun laws should be “more strict”, while 44% say “less strict” and 11% say “kept the same”
- And 60% say that we should better enforce current laws, with only 35% supporting passage of more laws
Keep in mind that this trend continues to grow in a pro-Second Amendment direction, despite massive coverage of school shootings, or of a sitting US Congresswoman being shot in public. It would seem that Americans don’t have much of an appetite for the hysteria that liberals and the media have tried to build in the wake of such tragedies. The “pass a law to make it stop” argument doesn’t cut it anymore, so Democrats aren’t pushing for them. At least not openly.
That’s not to say that a huge percentage of Democrats don’t want more restrictive gun laws, or even a ban on handguns. They do; they are just not stupid enough to say so right now. They can read polls just like everyone else, and they know that guns are a dangerous campaign issue.
Since they know that they can’t take on the gun control issue directly, they have shifted gears. For example, they created a program to intentionally let guns be purchased illegally (by so-called “straw-buyers”) and “walk” to Mexico and into the hands of drug lords and other criminals, where they were promptly used for what one would expect, drug related violence and murder of untold numbers of Mexican citizens and several US law enforcement officers.
It was called “Fast and Furious”, and the idea was to be able to prove that the guns were purchased in America – under supposedly lax gun laws – as a pretext to bring on new restrictions of what type of guns can be sold in our own country.
In other words, they wanted to create “evidence” to turn public opinion back in favor of new gun control laws, so their support for gun control would cease to be a problem in getting elected. It’s similar to what they are currently trying to do with the women’s “health” issue: morph it into a completely new (and spurious) fight over a non-existent effort to ban contraception, (because their radical position on abortion is a polling loser as well).
It’s kind of like the magician who tries to distract you with his right hand so you don’t see what he’s doing with his left.
Republicans need to understand what a potentially effective campaign issue Fast and Furious really is. By highlighting the Democrats’ motives (and Obama’s past support for gun bans) along with the public’s conservative attitude on guns, Republicans have a great opportunity to make sure that the coming campaign plays out on favorable ground. But they have to be direct.
Does Obama support more restrictive gun laws? Why did his Justice Department authorize Fast and Furious? Why is he still supporting Eric Holder? Do congressional candidates support Holder? Are they willing to condemn the program and call for his ouster? Put them on the hot seat.
If liberals can get away with manufacturing an issue like contraception, then Republicans need to take the opportunity offered by Fast and Furious to press a real issue.
Remember, issues win campaigns. And the fact that Democrats aren’t talking about guns means that they don’t want to. Make them.