This Administration will not learn

If there was ever going to be a time to break the back of the NRA and enact badly needed gun control in this country, it is now or never. If nothing is done now, opportunity will never again present itself.

Politics is the art of the possible. The possible presents itself during narrow windows of time and is successfully wooed only by those with a plan ready. The last Administration always had a plan. In fact their plans fit every situation. The Bush Tax Cuts were argued at the beginning of the first Term  to be the remedy for the unhealthy chronic budget surpluses that were predicted for the foreseeable future. Then recession came and it was sold as a sort of rich man’s Keynesianism. Come 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq, something neocons had been dreaming of for near a decade, was pressed as the solution. This even though there wasn’t the slightest evidence that Iraq had anything to do with the plane attacks on the United States.

This Administration, however, never has a plan ready. When it took office in the midst of the worst financial crisis since the Great Crash, it was obvious that it was time to remedy the relaxation of financial oversight that had take place during the Clinton and Bush years. And indeed the House was controlled by Democrats and the Democrats had near, and when Al Franken was seated, an absolutely filibuster-proof Senate. So where are the regulations? We are waiting. And after all the heavy lifting to enact Obama’s health insurance initiative, which was modeled on the old Republican initiative designed to prevent real change, we were led to believe that real competitive health exchanges and near universal coverage were nigh. When will that happen? At least two years off.

How does this sluggish, deliberative, hesitant Administration now address the gun crisis? First, the official spokesman says Today is not that day (rather than, If not Now, when?), then the President himself on two separate occasions two days apart offers vague hopes that something ought to be done, that politics should be set aside.

And now today we again here from the President’s chief delay excuser, Jay Carney. He said:

“There have been challenges to moving forward on a variety of issues that relate to the problem of gun violence in America, and there’s no question that the complexity of the problem and the complexity of the solutions will mean that there will be obstacles moving forward.  But I’m not going to speculate about how that might play out in the future.  Again, I don’t have a specific set of proposals to discuss with you today, at least from the President’s perspective.”

And so the White House will allow the forces that oppose change to gather steam, spend money on propaganda and figure on a strategy themselves.

The President is happy to present himself as simply the Master of Ceremonies of the grand variety show of democracy. The fact is this Administration has never known how to use even a fraction of its powers and has always shied away from fights.

We knew that this second term would also fall far short of even the minimal prospects the President held out this time. That knowledge hardly makes it less bitter to swallow.

To top off this year-end, we will find the President giving away a Massachusetts Senate seat that liberals spent much time and money recovering, when he appoints John Kerry as Secretary of State and defeated Republican Senator Scott P. Brown wins the special election to replace him.

Perhaps we should comfort ourselves with the knowledge that if this Administration actually accomplished anything on this front, it would be the kind of botched, give-away that this President always seems to achieve after inevitably surrendering. The kind of “victory” that accomplishes little and prevents real change in the future. Then the President can go back to surrendering Social Security and Medicare to the Republicans as part of his wished for “Grand Bargain.”





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