Is President Obama losing control of the gun reform debate? Majority Leader Harry Reid is preparing to bring a bill to the Senate floor over the next few weeks, but Republican Lindsey Graham vows that any bill Reid presents is “going nowhere.” At issue is universal background checks. Why, despite polls showing high levels of support for checks, are key members of Congress against them?
Former Obama adviser David Axelrod on Meet the Press said it would be a mistake for the Senate to ignore the polls: “On the Republican side I would be looking hard for something I can vote for to satisfy that desire to deal with this problem.”
But the will of the majority of Americans isn’t getting through to Senate Republicans. Senator Jeff Flake says universal background checks is “a bridge too far” for most Republicans. Senator Mike Lee says they are the equivalent to letting the government know what we eat for breakfast.
Obama’s failure to strike while the iron was hot offers a lesson in presidential leadership that goes beyond gun control. On almost every topic, from budget negotiations to national security, Washington seems only to act these days in response to crisis, if it acts at all. Obama erred in trying to use Newtown to build support for his positions on taxes, energy and immigration. And he compounded the error by sending Joe Biden off to conduct a study - an unnecessary delay when solutions were obvious. Once the president took his foot off the accelerator, no other action - not even Michael Bloomberg’s ad campaign - could maintain the momentum.
Is this new blame game the new beltway narrative?
We’re talking about this today at 12pm – along with discussions on immigration, pipeline politics and Hillary 2016.
Michael Tomasky, Special Correspondent, Newsweek/The Daily Beast (@mtomasky)
Jake Sherman, Congressional Reporter, Politico (@jakesherman)
Rana Foroohar, Assistant Managing Editor, TIME (@ranaforoohar)
Jimmy Williams, msnbc Contributor (@jimmyspolitics)
Jose Diaz-Balart, Anchor, Noticiero Telemundo/Host, “Enfoque” (@jdbalart) [Miami]
Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director (@bruneski) [San Francisco]