President Obama? More like King Obama, at least in Republican Sen. Rand Paul’s world. The Tea Party favorite is insisting the commander-in-chief is acting like he’s royalty when it comes to his gun control plan and willingness to use executive orders to see it through.
“I’m afraid that President Obama may have this ‘king complex’ sort of developing,” the Kentucky lawmaker argued Wednesday on Fox News. “We’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen.”
Paul said he would introduce a new bill next week that will do away with some of Obama’s executive orders. “In this bill we will nullify anything the president does that smacks of legislation. And there are several of the executive orders that appear as if he’s writing new law. That cannot happen,” he said.
The executive orders Obama has given support for include improving the federal background check system, calling on federal officials to trace guns that are seized during criminal investigations and urging more research into what causes gun violence.
Of course, Paul isn’t alone in his feelings. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida told Bill O’Reilly on Fox News on Wednesday that Obama “doesn’t have to guts to admit it [but he’s] not a believer in the Second Amendment.” There’s also already been pushback on the prospect of federal gun laws, including in Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) told Hardball’s Chris Matthews on Thursday that Rand’s remarks were ludicrous. “The president is not trying to be a king,” she said. “He’s trying to save lives.” McCarthy argued such Republican lawmakers are not going for moderates but rather “straight to their hardcore right people. That’s why they lost the presidency, that’s why they lost a few seats in the House,” said McCarthy.
Cynthia Tucker, a visiting professor of journalism at the University of Georgia, believes the right-wing criticism is racially motivated. “I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that it’s no coincidence that some of this crazy, over the top paranoia started with the election of a black president,” said Tucker. She noted that when Obama campaigned in 2008, he did not mention “gun” and “law” together. But he was elected, and gun and ammunition sales spiked.
The gun lobby, Tucker said, “persuaded them that ‘this guy is coming for your guns’…They don’t like progressive Democratic administrations. A black president makes them crazy.”