Want to watch what may be the most remarkable minute of video ever devoted to gun violence? Try the snippet posted by The New York Times from yesterday’s ‘gun summit’ at the White House, with President Trump (TRUMP? TRUMP?) asking ‘Joe’ and ‘Pat’ whether their bill would include a prohibition against guns being sold to anyone under the age of twenty-one.
Now for those of you who, like me, sometimes suffer from short-term memory loss, Joe and Pat are also known as Manchin and Toomey, whose gun-control bill introduced after Sandy Hook ended up dead on the Senate floor. And for good measure as Trump’s new-found buddies nodded up and down saying they would add this provision to their bill, Trump adding, “I’d rather have a comprehensive bill that’s harder to pass than a bill that’s easier to pass but does nothing at all.”
Today I’m going to look at Alex Jones who will no doubt be telling me that the entire White House meeting was faked, that it wasn’t the real Dianne Feinstein sitting next to the President and agreeing with everything he said, who even gently smiled when Trump told Steve Scalise, the NRA toady who was shot in the rear end last year, to take his national reciprocity bill and stick it someplace near his wound.
Can you imagine the Breitbart headline, the big one in red, reading: TRUMP THE GUN GRABBER? No, you can’t. But that’s what came out of yesterday’s sit-down between what was mostly a group of Senators committed to gun control and a President who never stopped reminding the NRA that he was the best friend they ever had. The truth is that with a friend like that, as the old saying goes, the NRA doesn’t need any more enemies. Personally speaking, I never believed that Herr Donald was ever such a great friend of the NRA.
For years Gallup has run a poll asking people to identify the single, most important issue facing the country today. The last time they ran this poll was in January and the gun issue received the lowest possible score – one percent. Which is more or less the score that guns always receive because other than moments when the media fixates on a particularly nasty shooting, guns simply don’t seem all that important compared to other human affairs.
What gives the NRA its aura of power is that people who are pro-gun activists can usually be counted on to hold conservative positions on most issues – taxes, education, welfare, you know the rest. The NRA is a true membership operation, and take it from someone who has been a member of America’s ‘first civil rights organization’ since 1955, they do a remarkable job when it comes to care and feeding of the folks who fork over $40 bucks a year.
But the fact that NRA stalwarts can be counted on not only to come out in force for a gun issue, but also make themselves heard on other conservative political points is the group’s greatest strength but also its greatest weakness. Because let’s say that Trump suffered some kind of brain fart and decides that guns have to go. Who will his most devoted followers turn to next? Hillary? Yea, right.
I’m no fan of Schmuck-o Donald, but he and I are both New York guys. And one thing for sure is that guns simply don’t count in New York’s political DNA. On the other hand, if you’re trying to convince the alt-right/white that you’re conservative through and through, what better way than to pretend that anyone who loves the 2nd Amendment is your best friend?
I’m not saying the gun violence prevention (GVP) movement has a new friend. I’m saying that a Republican President may have wriggle room on the gun issue which a Democratic President would never have. And that happens to be a political fact of life that the boys in Fairfax better understand.