Tag Archives: public opinion

The Elephant Who Cried “Scandal!”

21 May
That's supposed to be MY White House!

That’s supposed to be MY White House!

Poor President Obama. If you looked at the headlines or the Congressional calendar last week, it was his worst week ever, as his administration was bogged down in scandal after scandal. Or was it?

First, there was the ongoing attempt to politicize the attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi. (Dick Cheney Wannabe) Rep. Darrell Issa (R – Nastyville) held more pointless hearings to get exactly the same information. There was some understandable confusion right after the attacks. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice repeated some partially incorrect CIA talking points to the media. The White House and State Department have been very forthcoming with all the information Congress demands. There are some real security lessons to learn, but the GOP would rather try to smear the very popular Hillary Clinton and attack the President. ABC’s Jon Karl screamed scandal as he revealed “new” White House emails. The only problem? They were old, incomplete emails — provided to Karl by Republicans.

Next, the mess at the IRS. A branch office (in Cincinnati) used the term “Tea Party” to analyze tax exempt applications for “social welfare” agencies. “Political targeting!” cried the GOP. Well, maybe. But since the dreadful Citizens United decision, the number of organizations trying to get such status has gone from under 700 to over 2400 a year. Republicans have slashed the IRS budget and refused to craft legislation that would give the agency guidelines for implementing Citizens United. One office made a poor decision, but NO APPLICANT WAS REFUSED THE STATUS — except for one liberal organization. It must be a scandal, though! (Curiously, although the record clearly shows that the White House learned about the problem about a month ago, long after the practice was stopped and an internal investigation launched, at least one person DID know about it way back in July — Rep. Darrell Issa.)

Finally, the Justice Department demanded hundreds of phone records from the AP. This is actually disappointing, fitting into the pattern of domestic spying and privacy infringements that have been part of the Holder DoJ for years. From drones to wiretaps, it’s a blemish on Obama’s potential legacy. Oh, but so far his administration, however foolishly, IS FOLLOWING THE LAW. A law shoved down Congress by a Republican president (Remember good old W? ¬†If you want someone to blame for this law, then blame W, trampling rights as he lied his way into Iraq.). Oh, and the GOP actually likes spying on the press, so never mind, no real pressure here.

Bad news for the GOP: all their screaming and hearings aren’t getting much traction. Sure, the Sunday talk shows (aka the McCain hour–always a pleasure trip into insanity) and the newspaper headlines are parroting their points in the name of “objectivity.” The real impact though? Not so much.

A new Gallup shows the President’s favorables at 53-45, up 11 points from March. GOP ratings for the same period? Down 13, to the lowest since 1992. Maybe Republicans in Congress should focus on creating jobs and actually passing some bills for a change. Clearly, their obstructionist ways along with their “Get off my lawn” ranting is not working.

Government Of the Gun Lobby, By the Gun Lobby, For the Gun Lobby?

3 Apr
That's not how I remember it...

That’s not how I remember it…

Just over 100 days ago, Adam Lanza killed his mother, took two guns from her house to Sandy Hook Elementary School, and killed two dozen people there, most of them children under the age of eight. This horrific shooting capped a year with dozens of deaths in public shootings. Public sentiment quickly turned to the need to revisit gun control legislation.

Two basic proposals have massive support, even four months later. Universal background checks for gun purchases enjoys between 80 and 90 percent support cutting across party lines and declared political ideology. Bans or restrictions on certain assault weapons and high capacity clips (the things that made Lanza’s killing spree possible) enjoy 60 to 70 percent support, including a plurality of Republicans. The people want things to change.

Congress has done nothing. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D – CA) sponsored an assault weapons ban. Sen. Charles Schumer (D – NY) led a bipartisan attempt to craft background check legislation. Everything is stalled out in the Senate and the House has made it clear that no action is forthcoming. Why won’t Congress listen to the will of the people? Apparently they are more afraid of the NRA than they are interested in doing their jobs.

Since Sandy Hook, public opinion of the NRA has plummeted. Lunatic spokesman Wayne LaPierre’s bizarre rants and proposal to arm every school have been met with scorn and disapproval. Somehow, however, the fear that the NRA will fund opponents of gun control has Congress paralyzed. The myth of the power of the Second Amendment and the very loud “out of my cold, dead hands” minority are ruling the day.

There has been a little progress. Connecticut (not surprisingly) is poised to pass sweeping new gun regulations; New York already has. So has Colorado, long a bastion of Western libertarianism and gun freedom. In the special election to pick the Democrat to replace Jesse Jackson, Jr. in Illinois, Robin Kelly ran on a strong gun control platform. Despite NRA resistance, she won handily, speaking to the needs of the district. These should be lessons.

Instead, judges who have ruled for reasonable gun restrictions are filibustered and no reasonable laws are moving. The American people overwhelmingly want action. We need to speak up. Contact your Representative and Senator. Insist that they take action and remind them that the will of the people is bigger than the NRA’s purse. It’s time we ensured that our representative government really represents us.

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