Shameful politics: The predictable gun control vote
On Wednesday's Senate defeat of multiple gun-control proposals, President Obama angrily denounced those who voted them down, calling the result "a pretty shameful day for Washington."
No, the vote results were not shameful. They were expected by everyone, including the President, who helped to ensure the outcome by engaging in genuinely shameful behavior for months.
After the Newtown horror, there was a real opportunity to bring people together to pass meaningful laws that would reduce the chances of a similar event occurring. Obama was uninterested in doing that. He saw one opportunity only: Bury the Republican Party and the National Rifle Association beside the Newtown victims.
This is the campaign he began in November. Without the slightest hint of shame, he led an entirely emotional appeal to pass legislation - any legislation - that would increase federal restrictions on firearms, regardless of the restrictions' effectiveness. He brought forth surviving Sandy Hook Elementary School students and their grieving parents. As with his health care crusade, it mattered little what the legislation actually did. What mattered was political victory.
That is why the public and most legislators, as has happened so often during Obama's presidency, were kept in the dark about the details of the bills while people with emotionally wrenching stories were put on display by the administration and its allies. The Toomey-Manchin background-check amendment, rushed to a vote, would not have prevented Newtown or Aurora or Tucson.
This is no way to govern. This is no way to lead. But it is the Obama way.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, put it well when he responded to the President's melodramatic outburst by saying, "The President could have taken the high road, could have said, 'Ok now that we have been unsuccessful in these measures, let's move on to an area where we know there is consensus, and that has to do with the mental health element in so many of these mass gun tragedies, but instead, he chose to take the low road. And I agree with him, it was a truly shameful day."