Never before had President Barack Obama put the moral force and political muscle of his presidency behind an issue quite this big — and lost quite this badly.
The president, shaken to the core by the massacre of 26 innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School, broke his own informal “Obama Rule” — of never leaning into an issue without a clear path to victory — first by pushing for a massive gun control package no one expected to pass, and then sticking through it even as he retrenched to a relatively modest bipartisan bill mandating national background checks on gun purchases.
It was a bitter defeat for a president accustomed to winning, a second-term downer that may — or may not — foreshadow the slow decline suffered by so many of his predecessors. Obama seems to have the public behind him, but it illustrated his less-than-Johnsonian powers of personal persuasion, the possible shortcomings of his decision to wait a month after the killings to present a plan and above all the limits of his go-to “outside” strategy of taking his case directly to the American people.
More than anything, it was an emotional blow to Obama, who was as irritated at the four members of his own party as he was at the 90 percent of Republicans who defeated the bill.
If Obama really thought he was gonna win this one then he is guilty of hubris. The votes just weren’t there. And even if they managed to pass something in the Senate, there was no way it would pass the House.
The problem for Obama and the librul media is they live in an echo chamber. Gun control is one of those issues where people’s opinions are pretty well settled. Gun control is popular in some blue urban areas, but it remains toxic everywhere else. Obama and the librul media come from blue urban areas.
It’s like when an alcoholic says “Everybody I know drinks”. He’s telling the truth, because everybody he knows hangs out in bars with him. They’re all alcoholics too.
The sad fact is Obama never did have very good political skills. Even worse, he thinks his political skills are exceptionally good. He has been able to win elections by attacking his opponents rather than selling himself. He narrowly won reelection by spending a BILLION DOLLARS demonizing Mitt Romney.
But all his legislative victories were based on party-line votes. He emerged from the election without a mandate, and he is now a lame duck. Historically, second terms are not when presidents enact significant legislation. Obama shot his wad with the Stimulus and Obamacare. He has no threats or rewards to offer anymore.
Did he really believe he could give a few speeches and use the media to shame or bully the GOP into caving on an issue that would be political suicide for them? I honestly hope he wasn’t that stupid.