The Gun Whore Minority Is Winning

As the U.S. Senate takes up the gun bill today, the following headline tells us everything we need to know about what is wrong with Washington, D.C.:

Joe Manchin Says Background Check Measure Doesn’t Have The Votes, Accuses NRA Of Lying

Senator Manchin, who has been working with right-wing Republican Pat Toomey to present the mildest of reforms to the nation’s background check systsem for gun purchases, said,

We will not get the votes today.

Now, for people living in a democracy, like we are supposed to be living in here in America, Senator Manchin’s statement, and the headline of the story, should mean that there isn’t a majority of senators who would support the background check bill. Except that there is a majority will will support it today.

But here in the real world, where “majority” actually means “super-majority”—60 votes out of 100 in the Senate—saying a bill “doesn’t have the votes” is saying that the minority is in charge.

And that is only part of what is wrong with our ability to govern ourselves. The other part is described by the HuffPo article:

Manchin later criticized the NRA, of which he has been a lifetime member with an “A” rating. “Now when when they are so disingenuous and telling members that our legislation, and I quote, ‘would criminalize the firearms by honest citizens,'” he said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This bill does not even touch …”

“That’s a lie,” MSNBC host Joe Scarborough interrupted.

“It is a lie, Joe,” Manchin responded. “If they lose credibility, they’ve lost everything in Washington.”

One would think that what Senator Manchin said is true. One would think that when the the country’s best-known lobbyist for gun manufacturers loses credibility by repeatedly lying about this or any legislation, then legislators would simply ignore the lobbyist. But, of course, what makes Washington work is not credibility but cash. And the NRA, no matter how little credibility it has, does have a lot of cash.

And speaking of having little credibility and lots of cash, now comes Missouri’s reactionary senator, Roy Blunt, and yet another headline that sheds light on what’s wrong with not only Washington, but certain parts of the entire country:

Roy Blunt Raises Specter Of Federal Gun Registry, Despite Explicit Ban

Last week, my senator, who loves lobbyists so much he divorced his first wife and married one, voted against even debating the Manchin-Toomey gun legislation. Blunt, this should be clear, is not only against the bill, he voted against even allowing discussion of the bill in what is laughingly called the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

But worse than that—if there is something worse than that for a supposedly serious legislator—is that Roy Blunt is a liar. Either that, either he is a liar, or he shares a deep and abiding and dangerous paranoia with people who think the government is coming to get them and that if they can keep secret all their gun purchases they just might have a chance to hold off the United States military.

My guess is that, since Blunt is fond of lobbyists—did I mention that he divorced his first wife and married a lobbyist?—that he is simply lying on behalf of the NRA. He is lying about what the bill would do, in terms of creating a federal gun registry.

As HuffPo points out:

The federal government is already barred from creating a database of every single gun owner in America. And under background check legislation being worked out by the Senate, that ban would be made even more explicit, with harsh penalties for anyone who violated it.

But that’s not enough for Sen. Roy Blunt.

Here’s how Blunt responded when asked about the issue by none other than Fox “News” host Gregg Jarrett:

JARRETT: One of your objections — or your main objection — is really that you’re fearful that this will lead to a federal gun registry. Well, Sen. Toomey, your Republican colleague who negotiated this bipartisan deal with Manchin, insists it will not in any way lead to a gun registry.

BLUNT: And that’s his point of view, and it’s one that may have validity. Just last week, it was determined that the state of Missouri — my state — had given 167,000 concealed carry permit information on 160,000 people to, of all federal agencies, the Social Security Administration. Once you get these lists out there — once you have a gun dealer keeping lists for lots of other people — the only way that works, frankly, is if you keep the paper. And if you keep the paper, eventually somebody’s going to ask for it.

Notice how quickly Blunt acknowledged that the other side might be right. But also notice that even if what Blunt said was true—and obviously it is not—even if someone asked for “the paper,” so what? What is it that Blunt fears? Does he fear that law-abiding gun owners will soon be the subject of an impossible-to-conceive gun grab by the feds?

Does he fear that Barack Obama  will find out where all the white folks who own guns live and then tell a barely-breathing New Black Panther Party where they are so we can have a race war?

Or perhaps Blunt fears that Barack Obama will not step down after his second term and instead use the military to go after every single gun owner in the country and rip the weapons from millions of cold, dead hands.

Or, more likely, Blunt fears that the NRA, which has given him so much cash in his career that he is fourth on the Top Ten Gun Whores in Congress list, that the gun manufacturer lobbying group will stop paying him for lying on their behalf.

You figure it out. In the mean time, the country is nearly ungovernable, thanks to a minority of Grand Old Paranoids.

13 Comments

  1. How ironic, that U.S. Senators like Blunt, snug in his government sinecure, should press this ongoing effort to destroy confidence in the government. What a job!

    This makes me ponder a possible bumper sticker which would compare, as we have discussed before, the government regulation of vehicle driving to gun ownership: “THEY WILL TAKE MY CAR AWAY ONLY WHEN THEY PRY MY COLD, DEAD HANDS OFF THE STEERING WHEEL!”

    Paranoid demagoguery, ever productive.

    Like

    • Jim,

      Should you ever begin an entrepreneurial career, I would buy one of your bumper stickers, including if you convert your last statement into one:

      Paranoid Demagoguery, Ever Productive

      Duane

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  2. kabe

     /  April 17, 2013

    Let me get this right. The Republicans, who continually call the Federal Government wasteful and incompetent now believe that the Government can hatch a plan to take 300 million guns from across the entire country? And aren’t we in year 10 of disarming Iraqi civilians? How is that working out?

    Kabe

    Like

  3. After listening to the President’s statement on this legislative loss, I think he needed to go one step further, and indicate to those three Democrats who voted no on this bill and who are facing reelection in 2014 that they would be primaried by gun safety supporters. I would think they would be more afraid of that than they would be of the NRA, which supports Republicans anyway. If it means losing those seats to Republicans, so be it. The Democrats need to take the long view, and perhaps take a page from the Tea Party, and start demanding that Democrats in both the House and the Senate represent their Party’s basic principles, one of which is getting rid of all these damn guns.

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  4. LisaF

     /  April 17, 2013

    The vote today is why I do not think we have a government that functions to serve the people but one of, by and for corporate special interest groups. Right wing think tanks and their propaganda have reduced Americans to petty, sniveling cowards.

    What a slap in the face of those grieving parents. President Obama has never spoken truer words than he did today when he said, ” these families should have inspired in all of us. I still don’t know how they have been able to muster up the — the strength to — to do what they’ve been doing over the last several weeks..” Compare that to those elected cowards who voted against a background check plan. Adults so scared to receive a bad grade from a radical anti-American NRA or ALEC that they betrayed the citizens of this country. Shameful

    Americans need to awaken from their self imposed paralysis and demand change, a theme our President constantly speaks about. Get organized, make change. He can not do it alone.

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  5. Democracy is failing, thanks to the NRA, ALEC, the Koch Brothers, Humphreys family, and others like them, and the greed and corporate influence that is called the Republican Party. When will the electorate realize that big money and its influence is destroying their way of life in the name of greed? Why do the Koch Brothers and other wealthy individuals, including the Humphreys family in Joplin, contribute to and sponsor causes that oppose health care for all Americans, public education, Medicare, Social Security, the minimum wage, and anything that will help the so-called “middle class?” The only answer is to preserve and increase their wealth and influence. The allegiance of government and corporations…what is that form of government called?

    On another matter, I wonder if the current votes on firearms control will make any difference at all in 2014. The voting public has a very short memory and is influenced by the pretty ads on the television, whether they are truthful or not. As long as “good ole Christian boys” like Roy Blunt and Billy Long can outwardly lie to the public and be able to sell their votes to the highest bidders, and have large amounts of money from the worst of the worst individuals, as the Humphreys and Kochs to support them, then the super wealthy and their whores will continue to dominate the American government through the Republican Party and the United States Senate.

    Like

    • @ JD,

      By discussing the role of money in political persuasion you raise interesting and possibly unresolvable questions about the the effects of media on our form of government. There is of course considerable evidence that the massive amounts spent by the rich on the last presidential election were mostly ineffective, and that Romney’s notorious 47% video clip was the single most decisive media event. So people can, when the issue is simple, as in character, often discern truth from demagoguery. On the other hand, there’s the NRA and its astounding (to me) ability to influence elections. Their method of course is to jump on the single issue and demagogue it mercilessly while appealing to simplistic memes, i.e., “freedom” and “patriotism”. The electorate is not brainy and I guess the moral of the story is to keep the messages simple. I sure don’t know the solution except it would be nice if public education were of higher quality.

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  6. Sharon Burkhalter

     /  April 22, 2013

    We have a shooting range and own many guns. That said Sam (a past NRA member and former repub) is sick that from the outside he is associated with the radical gun owners. You cannot shoot in competition matches without joining NRA. They own the sport. Every supply catalog asks if you will donate to NRA when you place an order. And those supplies are being hoarded and impossible to buy for his sport.He thinks background checks on all gun transfers, limited clips, assault weapons ban and harsh penalties for gun related incidents are needed. We would join a group of like minded people (if we could find any) and fight for our sport and our society’s safety. I feel my rights are being violated when I have to wonder what idiot is concealing a weapon in my space. When there self declared right to carry endangers my right to feel free and unafraid then we have a major problem. Oh well that’s a little of our morning coffee conversations.

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  7. Duane,

    As we know, the Senate approved the “enhanced” background check amendment by a vote of 54 to 46. But apparently there has to be a 60 vote super-majority in the Senate for anything to pass, thus thwarting democracy, not to mention motherhood and apple pie.

    So, just for fun, I calculated the votes based on the population of each state, dividing it by two (each Senator represents half of his/her state) and then adding the totals for each Senator who voted Yea and each who voted Nay. Out of a total U.S. population of 313,281,717, the Yeas spoke for 192,939,558 people, while the Nays represented only 120,342,159. Thus, the majority of the Yeas, instead of being 54%, was a population-adjusted 61.6%, and the 46% of the Nays actually represented only 38.4% of the population.

    On this basis, the measure met and exceeded the super-majority required by the Senate and therefore would have passed comfortably. This is not quite the 90% or so that the polls show wanted the enhanced background checks. But it should be good enough.

    Bad Senate, bad, bad. Again.

    Herb

    Like

    • Interesting approach, Herb, to tie the background-check issue to Senatorial population. But of course the Senate isn’t supposed to be all that responsive to population, they’re supposed to be the wise men who are protected from that kind of influence by longer terms in office. They are supposed to counter populism with wisdom. Sigh.

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