President Obama is suggesting that House Republicans on the issue of gun control appear neither willing to work with him nor listen to the American public on the issue.
“The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they’re really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies,” the president said in an interview with The New Republic.
Obama also said he can get 50 percent of public support for many of his upcoming initiatives, but “I can’t get enough votes out of the House of Representatives to actually get something passed. … I think there is still shock on the part of some in the party that I won re-election.”
“If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you’ll see more of them doing it,” he said. “I think John Boehner genuinely wanted to get a deal done, but it was hard to do in part because his caucus is more conservative probably than most Republican leaders are, and partly because he is vulnerable to attack for compromising Republican principles and working with Obama.”
The president argued that “the more left-leaning media outlets recognize that compromise is not a dirty word” and that party leaders, including Senate Majority Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, are “willing to buck the more absolutist-wing elements in our party to try to get stuff done.”
First of all, the American people do not support gun control. The media does, but they are a tiny fraction of the American people. Some of them aren’t even American.
Secondly, there are some issues I don’t expect my elected leaders to compromise on. If we are discussing how much to spend on schools then compromise is okay. When we are discussing our basic constitutional freedoms then there is no room for compromise.
If Candidate A says he supports gun control and Candidate B says she supports the 2nd Amendment, I’m voting for Candidate B. If she wins the election I expect her to go to Washington and support the 2nd Amendment. I am part of her constituency. We won the election. But there are a bunch of other elections too. If our side loses most of them then the other side has enough votes to prevail on the issue. But if our side wins most of the seats in Congress then we have a right to expect them to keep their promises.
If the Democrats want gun control they are free to make it a campaign issue. If they win enough elections they can try to implement gun control into law. This may require winning enough elections to amend the Constitution, but if they can do it then that’s how democracy works.
But until they win there is no reason to compromise. We have a default position which is the current law.