I have pointed out, given every opportunity, that Sean Hannity is surely The Dumbest Man Ever Allowed on TV. Given so many opportunities to make this point, I have assumed that I could not be challenged. However, I overlooked the “multiple effect.” When you combine Hannity and Charles Krauthammer, you achieve a level of Stupid so grand and awesome that it makes Sarah Palin’s increasingly rare appearances on GOP Uber Alles TV seem almost coherent. This exchange is so clueless, desperate, ridiculous and highly amusing that you actually have to admire it.
One outburst of cynical honesty and then I’ll try to be, if not encouraging, at least not totally depressing, through Christmas Day (and longer, if I can hold out). I am pretty sure that this is a more realistic view of how the NRA story is going to play out than the “we’ve got ‘em on the run” fantasies that we all are relishing while trying to ignore that little voice in the back of our minds…
[T]he NRA presser wasn’t LaPierre wearing out his welcome with decent people — it was the head of a powerful lobbying group serving notice that it was going to dig in its heels, and that the Republican Party needs to follow suit.
Do you know of any politician who used to be sympathetic to the NRA but is now treating the group as radioactive? No, and it won’t happen. Scott Brown may have tacked to the left on guns (after the shooting and before the press conference), but he clearly feels he has to do that to win another special election in Massachusetts next year. Chris Christie may have denounced LaPierre’s armed-guards-in-schools proposal, but he’s always supported a certain amount of gun control.
We’re not going to have real change in this county on guns until the NRA as it currently exists is regarded as a pariah organization — if not in Red America, then at least in Purple America.
So why is it even on the so-called table in the current negotiations, much less the apparent key to it all? Why is a Democratic president seemingly intent on a) making cuts that will be harmful to seniors who depend on SS as their primary income source and which will forever more make him the man responsible for cutting benefits (you’ll hear that from the GOP as soon as the 2014 elections) and b) worse yet, participating in the process of implicitly redefining SS as an “entitlement” and thus forevermore an acceptable target for “savings” which must be made so as not to upset the 1% and our corporate masters?
How can a man as smart as Barack Obama appears to be most of the time constantly give up the bargaining advantage when doesn’t have to? Why should he, or we, be concerned for a single second whether or not John Boehner can survive as Speaker if he doesn’t get some sort of “red meat” to toss to his mostly insane GOP caucus? Yes, maybe this sort of foolishness might mean a slightly better overall deal that what might be possible if we go over that imaginary cliff (and that is by no means certain), but what is the point of winning in politics if you’re afraid to claim it as a mandate no matter how small the margin (see George W. Bush, who lost the popular vote)?
This kind of dithering and compromise for the sake of compromise (a process which makes the increasingly irrelevant Washington establishment and its press courtiers happy, and god forbid they should be out of sorts; many of them are still recovering from those “hillbilly” Clintons being in what they think of as “their” White House, much less a Black family.) is why we are not going to get anything close to meaningful gun legislation, possibly no gun legislation at all. The public attention span is exactly suited for a Twitter world. By the time we get the first session of the new Congress and Sen. Feinstein’s proposal, the moment will have passed, the anger will have soothed and, hey, Super Bowl!
Click to enlarge. Original is here.
I have just unfriended only the second person ever. My feeling is, and remains, that if I am going to spout off in this public space, I should not try to shut down those who disagree with me.
But there are limits.
The argument that “if you take away our guns, only criminals will have guns” is meaningless in these murder tragedies or the shooting of a Congresswoman because the shooters are not “criminals,” they are mentally unstable “normal” people. Their actions are clear evidence that access to weapons of a certain kind, weapons which have nothing to do with hunting or sports shooting, is an issue we should and must deal with.
The argument that “if only they had guns, they would have stopped him” is ludicrous. Who is “they”? The teachers,? The principal/ The kids? Everybody? And when this lunatic blasts his way through the door with an automatic weapon, dressed in body armor, and starts shooting, what then? Who is immediately prepared to react? What will be the results of a suddenly erupting gun battle in a closed space between a madman and a panicked amateur while potential victims cower in fear? A few minutes calm thought leaves the premise in tatters.
There are people who make those arguments and I no longer even try to argue with them. Nor do I do anything to limit their access to or ability to respond to anything I post. But when someone starts ranting about how automobiles kill people too, I cannot handle it. The person I unfriended is someone I know personally and whom I like (as was the first person I unfriended, primarily because he would just never stop–long after I and everybody else had left a conversation, he was still posting on and on–and because he would enter almost every conversation with a political agenda).
Nobody should be arguing to ban guns across the board at this point. That is an untenable position, but somebody, a lot of somebodys, should be trying, in every way possible, to bring some common sense to this issue about access and weaponry which is beyond the pale and be willing to face up to the NRA and the political maelstrom that such an attempt will surely inspire.
In the midst of all our tears and sorrows this weekend, we should also feel a rising tide of embarrassment and disgust. Let those 20 children and the six adults who died trying to save them become a beacon leading this violent nation toward a more civilized future.
NOTE: This post has been edited and expanded slightly from the original to rectify typographical errors and clarify the arguments.
I have struggled all day trying to figure out how to respond the events in Newtown, Connecticut today. I finally settled on this Facebook posting and thought I should share it here:
It seems irresponsible not to say something about the horror at Sandy Hook Elementary today and even more impossible to know what to say. 20 children dead and, as one of the teachers said, the others having now lost their childhood forever. It is unimaginable. This is a sad, violent, sick nation and I fear it is only going to get worse.
(This has been cross-posted at Liquid Diet)