Friday, June 27, 2008

Could Heller defeat Obama

Among the other various side effects of the Heller ruling the Supreme Court has handed a very large and brightly wrapped gift to the GOP in the form of a very large wedge issue:

From The Politico - In a landmark decision that returns the gun control debate to the forefront of the presidential race, the Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the District of Columbia's restrictive ban on handguns and declared for the first time an individual right to possess a gun.

The D.C. gun ban had prohibited residents from keeping handguns inside their homes and required legal guns like hunting rifles to be registered and kept unloaded in a locked area.

The Republican National Committee and
John McCain's campaign seized on the ruling and used it to frame Democrat Barack Obama as a radical liberal on the issue of gun rights, in the first step toward a media and advertising push in more rural battleground states that “highlights that Barack Obama is the most anti gun candidate in American presidential history,” according to RNC spokesman Danny Diaz.

“This issue is a big fat wedge in target states,” said Matt McDonald, a senior adviser to McCain, citing Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia. “Obviously it is an issue where he is at odds with working-class voters.”

In the long term, McDonald said the McCain campaign planned to highlight Obama’s past stances on gun issues to “fit into the narrative that we are looking at for Barack Obama: one, that is he coreless and, two, he's unwilling to stand up for issues that risk his political future."

The Obama campaign distanced itself Thursday from a statement made last year to the Chicago Tribune that "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional." Spokesman B
ill Burton said that the statement "was not worded as well as it could have been" and that Obama believes that generally the Constitution "doesn't prevent local and state governments from enacting their own gun laws."

. . . In regard to Thursday's Supreme Court ruling, the Obama campaign released a statement saying, "As president, Barack Obama will continue to respect the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners, and for voters who have concerns about this issue, they will find real comfort in Sen. Obama’s record.

The trouble is that Sen. Obama's record offers absolutely no comfort to people who care about the constitutional rights of gun owners.

Power Line reports - The RNC has collected a wealth of information on Obama's positions and statements on the right to bear arms here. Obama supported the D.C. handgun ban that the Supreme Court found unconstitutional in Heller. John Lott says that Obama once told him, "I don't believe that people should be able to own guns." In 1996, when he was running for the Illinois State Senate, Obama submitted a questionnaire in which he answered questions about gun control. Obama said that he favored a ban on handguns; click to enlarge:

So, Obama believes that the Second Amendment recognizes a right to possess firearms, but would outlaw the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns and "assault rifles" (which are simply semi-automatic rifles which happen to look like military weapons).

Power Line also directs us to NRO where Jim Geraghty writes this:

In the issue of gun owners' rights, we're reminded of one more time an Obama claim didn't line up with the facts. In the Philadelphia debate, Obama denied that he had said on a questionnaire that he favored a handgun ban, saying "No, my writing wasn't on that particular questionnaire, Charlie. As I said, I have never favored an all-out ban on handguns." dug into that claim extensively, and concluded it was misleading.

But beyond that, the gun rights issue is one area where we have an extensive Obama record to examine. He lived in a city that effectively banned handguns, and in his entire career there as a community organizer, a state legislator, and a U.S. senator, there is no record of Obama ever suggesting he had a problem with that policy. Though inaction, he made clear he saw nothing unconstitutional about a de facto ban on handguns.

And this:

Obama’s audacity on this issue goes even further.

Obama was named a director of the Joyce Foundation in late 1994, and remained in that position until late 2002.

During Obama’s tenure with the Joyce Foundation, donations to anti-gun groups increased dramatically. For example, in 1997 and 1998 the Violence Policy Center received $221,000 and $360,000 from the Foundation; those grants and donations increased to $1 million in 2000 and $800,000 in 2002. In all, during Obama’s tenure, the group received $15 million from the Joyce Foundation.

The Violence Policy Center, despite its name, never seems all that concerned with beatings, stabbings, immolations or explosions. No, they’re completely focused on gun violence, and they can effectively be called an anti-gun or pro-gun control organization.

Lest anyone think I’m mischaracterizing their objective analysis, note that their web site touts themselves as “the most aggressive group in the gun control movement.” Also note studies like their one from 2000 entitled, “Unsafe in Any Hands: Why America Needs to Ban Handguns,” which declared the idea that the Constitution would forbid a national handgun ban a “pure myth.” Also note the organization’s subtly-titled book, Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.)

It’s not just the VPC. The Joyce Foundation also provided several large grants to the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, which can also be safely described as an anti-gun or pro-gun control organization. Besides their role in “litigation designed to change the way guns are designed, marketed, distributed, and sold,” the center perpetually argued that guns in the home were more dangerous than protective.

In 1996, the foundation Obama directed approved $662,525 in grants to the Johns Hopkins Center, and by 2001, they gave another $600,000.

In the wake of today’s ruling, you’re going to hear Barack Obama claim passionately that he believes in the Second Amendment and that he is a friend to gun owners. It will be interesting to see how he can rectify that with his efforts to fund books like Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns.

There is absolutely no question that Barack Obama is an enemy of gun owners and the Second Amendment. When you think about it there is almost no chance that he could be anything else. Almost his entire life has been spent in the cloistered halls of the extreme left. From his upbringing in Hawaii, possibly the most left-wing state in the Union, to his university education to his career as a "community organizer" (Marxist race-pimping demagogue) and his attendance at the church of racist Black Liberation Theology believing lunatic Jeremiah Wright to his marriage to the angry bitter America-hating Michelle Obama has simply never been exposed to anything other than the venomous doctrines of the loony left. Like the Palestinian child brought up literally from birth to be a suicide bomber what real chance has he ever had to develop a not-insane political philosophy?

Republicans ought to be able to use this issue along with drilling for oil off shore and in ANWAR to win the White House and drastically limit their losses to Democrats in the House and Senate. However the Party's unfortunate choice of a standard bearer this time out seriously hampers their ability to do so.

We are all familiar with McCain's past support for bans on offshore oil drilling and his still adamant opposition to drilling in ANWAR and his endorsement of the global warming hoax but what many do not realize is that McCain also has a well deserved reputation among gun owners' rights activists as an enemy of gun owners and the Second Amendment.

Chuck Baldwin writes this on the Gun Owners of America website:

Nowhere is McCain's chicanery and duplicity more jeopardous than in the area of the right to keep and bear arms. On issues relating to the Second Amendment, John McCain is a disaster! For example, the highly respected Gun Owners of America (GOA) rates McCain with a grade of F-. McCain's failing grade is well deserved.

John McCain sponsored an amendment to S. 1805 on March 2, 2004 that would outlaw the private sale of firearms at gun shows. According to GOA, the provision would effectively eliminate gun shows, because every member of an organization sponsoring a gun show could be imprisoned if the organization fails to notify each and every "person who attends the special firearms event of the requirements [under the Brady Law]."

John McCain also sponsored an Incumbent Protection provision to the so-called "Campaign Finance Reform" bill, which severely curtails the ability of outside groups (such as GOA) to communicate the actions of incumbent politicians to members and supporters prior to an election.

The GOA report of the 106th Congress reveals that out of 15 votes relating to the right to keep and bear arms, Senator John McCain voted favorably only 4 times. Put that into a percentage and McCain's pro-Second Amendment voting record is a pathetic 27%.

In addition, GOA warns that John McCain supported legislation that would force federal agents to increase efforts in arresting and convicting honest gun owners who may inadvertently violate one of the many federal anti-gun laws, which punish mere technicalities, such as gun possession.

For example, if John McCain's proposed legislation were to become law, a gun owner who travels with a gun through a school zone or who uses one of the family handguns to go target shooting with a 15-year old could be sent to prison. And a person who uses a gun for self-defense could be sent to prison for a mandatory minimum of five years.

John Lott observes ". . . on issues such as regulating gun shows, banning less expensive guns and so-called assault weapons, and requiring gunlocks, McCain has supported central portions of the gun-control agenda. Indeed, in a couple cases, McCain authored the proposed legislation himself."

Even anti-gun loon Josh Sugarman acknowledges in a backhand way that McCain has been a useful tool of the gun control movement - In June 2001, McCain was attacked in the NRA's America's 1st Freedom magazine over his campaign finance reform package. The magazine's cover story asked, "Like to think your opinion counts? Under the guise of reforming election funding, Sen. John McCain and others are attempting to muzzle your voice concerning critical national issues--including the Second Amendment." The article adds, "McCain was led down a path by a Senate Democratic leadership that is doing all it can to keep the super-senator beholden....[T]hey want a Senate Majority of radical Democrats, who would prove an unprecedented threat to the Second Amendment. John McCain is their Judas goat--leading the sheep to slaughter." The following month's issue warned, in an article titled "What's Happened to John McCain?," that "The gun control debate in Washington has hit center stage because Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has now become one of the premier flag carriers for the enemies of the Second Amendment."

Fairness demands that I point out the McCain has never supported an outright ban on handguns as Obama has. However it is going to be difficult for McCain to really pound in the wedge which will split places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana off from the Democrat party by merely being the least radical in his support for various gun control measures.

It is highly ironic that the GOP in choosing its candidate strategically (the only Republican who could win in an environment where Republicans are hated) may have picked the only one of their primary contenders who cannot effectively exploit either of the two great issues upon which the campaign could well turn.

This should serve as an example of the folly of trying to use a snapshot of the current political feelings in the nation to plan for or predict the results of an election which will take a year or more in the future (or even a few months, for that matter).

The political climate in this nation is so mercurial that three weeks might as well be a decade and a year might as well be a millennium. The lesson the GOP needs to take from this is that the best nominee, regardless of what the mood of the nation seems to be on any given day, is a solid conservative with a solid track record and good communication skills. Trying to play prophet and pick your nominee on how you think the voters will feel on election day based on what polls tell you they are feeling today is a losing strategy.