30 June 2008

Obama On The Move

No, I'm not referring the Illinois senator's campaign aircraft, but to his constantly evolving position on firearms and the Second Amendment.

"As a candidate for the Illinois Legislature in the 1990s, Obama had supported legislation to "ban the manufacture, sale, and possession of handguns," so it wasn't surprising that he endorsed the gun ban being challenged in Heller while campaigning for president. In November, for example, his campaign told the Chicago Tribune that "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional." In February, when a questioner during a televised forum said, "You support the D.C. handgun ban," Obama readily agreed: "Right."

"By March, however, his spokesman would no longer say whether Obama considered the gun ban constitutional, and when the senator was asked about it
in April, he refused to give a clear answer on the grounds that "I obviously haven't listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence." Still, when the court issued its 5-4 ruling last Thursday, Obama claimed that his views had been vindicated. "I have always believed," his statement began, "that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms." Then again, reported the Associated Press, "the campaign would not answer directly . . . when asked whether the candidate agreed with the court."

That says it all. Sticking his finger into the wind, the presumptive democrat nominee for president will tell people anything they want to hear. The question is: How Far Will He Go?

"Some Democrats have worked to shed the image as the party of gun-haters. Running for president in 2004, Senator John F. Kerry made a point of donning orange and hoisting a shotgun for a very public day of duck hunting in southern Ohio. When Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Governor Brian Schweitzer
of Montana ran for reelection two years later, their TV ads depicted them using
guns. More than 60 Democrats were endorsed by the NRA in the midterm election of 2006 - the election, perhaps not coincidentally, in which their party regained
control of Congress.

"Still, for many Democratic liberals, the antigun animus is reflexive.
Senators Ted Kennedy and Dianne Feinstein wasted no time deploring the court's
ruling in Heller last week; Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago denounced it as "very
frightening." Over the years, such attitudes have been a political boon to
Republicans, helping them paint Democrats as out-of-step elitists who hate
something millions of Americans love. John McCain's statement hailing the
decision pointedly referred to Obama's infamous statement that Middle Americans
"cling to guns or religion" when "they get bitter."

Time will tell. The full column by Jeff Jacoby can be found at the Boston Globe.


Anonymous said...

Obviously Obama is walking a tightrope, but his positions have not been entirely inconsistent.

Obama's view (just from reading your blog, I admit) appears to be consistent with Heller, without incorporation. The 2nd Amendment was offered to provide protection against a tyranical central government, so (as Heller holds) the feds can't enact complete federal gun bans. But, states and cities can do what they want, and if you don't like it, move somewhere else. Scalia expressly left incorporation for another day, another case.

I'm not naive enough to believe this has been Obama's consistent opinion from the beginning, but a big part of politics is being able to walk these tightropes, as disgusting as the process may be.

I've said it before, a dead honest, outspoken political candidate wouldn't have a snowball's chance you know where! McCain is just as two-faced.

This isn't a criticism of you pointing it out, just a comment for a change... ;)

A, Esq.

Brent Greer said...

A- Thanks for writing. I know what you mean. They all play the game, and we expect it. Who was it who wandered with his lantern looking for an honest man? Diogenes? McCain has probably been more consistent in his dislike of guns, as evidenced by his support of the gun show issue with Joe Lieberman. Obama keeps weasel wording it thinking no one is paying attention. I'm not happy with either candidate, but I think that more than comes through with my commentary..lol. I agree it will come back to the states. And Scalia intentionally left that open, as the Court does not want to be too heavy handed in this matter.