Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Obama's ineffective pitch for the gun control vote.

Barrack Obama went to Hartford Connecticut to make a final pitch for a vote on federal legislation on gun control that 91% of the American people support , expanded national background checks for people who want to buy a gun.

The roadblock for this or any gun legislation are 15 conservative Republican senators who are pledging to filibuster any gun control legislation to keep any kind of gun control legislation from even coming for a vote.

Obama's speech wasn't anything anyone hasn't heard before. And there was no reason to go to Connecticut to give it. If he and his advisors thought that what people who know nothing about honest and effective visual presentation call "optics" was going to matter he was wrong. Any appeal on gun control and allowing a vote to take place would have been far more effective coming from the Oval Office or the East Room. After all that is the White House which is supposed to have some sense of authority, morality, national unity and sense of purpose.

As it was, Obama's speech had such an impact and was so effective, that senate Republican minority leader Mitch McConnell announced he was going to become the 15th Republican senator to threaten a filibuster.

Instead of pleading with Republicans not to filibuster legislation 91% of Americans say they want, instead of asking, instead of begging, instead of invoking a weak plea for everyone to "play by the same rules" like this was some kind of game, Obama could have gone on the attack.

He could have pointed out the courage of the teachers at Sandy Hook who lost their lives trying to protect children from the shooters onslaught and called anyone who would filibuster gun control legislation because they didn't have the political courage to stand up and vote while these teachers stood up to bullets to protect children are simply cowards. He could have pointed out that while those teachers showed unparalleled courage trying to protect those children against bullets, these 15 Republican senators do not even possess the courage to stand up and cast a vote.

He could have pointed out that the purpose of the filibuster was to keep these 15 Republican senators from having to cast a vote one way or the other so they wouldn't have to be held accountable either to the NRA or to voters because they don't have the courage to be held accountable.

He could have gone over the heads of those senators and appealed to the people of those states -- the people of Kansas, Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and others and ask these people if there is a single household in any of those states who don't admire and respect the courage of those teachers who were killed trying to protect those students. Then ask if they can have the same respect for the senators who represent them who don't have the courage to stand up to a vote.

Ask them to compare the teachers who had the courage to face bullets with their elected senators who seem not to have the courage to face political accountability and ask if this is the kind of representation they can be as proud of as they are the teachers at Sandy Hook.

Obama could have asked the people of those states to call their senators and tell them to display 1/1000th of the courage those teachers displayed and allow a vote, no matter which way they vote.

Obama could have shamed the senators threatening a filibuster and accused them all of being political cowards afraid to face a vote and compare them to the teachers of Sandy Hook and what they stood up to face. 

Obama could have said a lot of things. He could have gone on the attack. He could have used shame and invoked political and personal cowardice against those who are trying to obstruct a vote.  And he could have said that whether or not we allow a vote will define what kind of country we are and if we are still a country of the people by the people and for the people.  He could have been tough. He could have stood for the morality and heart of the democratic system which is the vote. He could have shown some righteous anger against those whose  purpose is to obstruct that vote and questioned their morality.

Obama could have. But he didn't. Maybe someone else will.

NOTE:On Thursday, 16 Republican senators voted against a filibuster allowing the debate and a vote to go forward. The credit goes to Manchin of West Virgina a Democrat, and Pat Toomey, Republican of PA, both with "A" ratings from the NRA who defied them and presented a bi-partisan bill on expanded background checks.

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