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Obama’s Convention Speech
“America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past.”
From Obama’s perspective one of those challenges is to figure out how to pay lip service to the Second Amendment while setting the stage for future legislation that will curb those rights. Here’s what he said:
“The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.”
This is a rhetorical tactic he’s adopted before. To borrow a phrase from John Edward’s failed bid for the Democratic nomination, it is a “two Americas” approach to looking at our constitutional rights. That somehow what qualifies for a Second Amendment right in the urban areas of the United States does not have to be the equivalent of the rights that people in rural America enjoy.
To drive home his point he picks on two groups: hunters in Ohio and Cleveland gang members. The hunters of Ohio, according to Obama, inhabit a different reality than their city-dwelling cousins and should be prepared to face the consequences of the “tough choices” that America needs to face to curb gun violence. So suck it up Bubba.
Meanwhile, you couldn’t blame the gang members in Cleveland if they were left scratching their heads by Obama’s words last night, too. AK-47s? They must not have got that memo. A quick Goggle search doesn’t reveal evidence of a “plague” of gun violence in Cleveland, let alone a plague in the form of AK-wielding Crips and Bloods. (This is hardly surprising as criminals rarely use military-style semi-autos when committing crimes and the criminal use honest-to-goodness full-auto battle rifles is almost unheard of. You’re more likely to choke to death on a gerbil than get hosed with an AK-47 in Cleveland.)
So why does Obama take this approach? This is the tortured logic he needs to employ to square his statements that the Second Amendment conveys an individual right with his solidly anti-gun legislative record. The Assault Weapons Ban? A great thing, according to Obama. He supported it. Chicago’s gun laws that keep ordinary citizens from owning handguns while greasing the skids for the powerful and connected to get permits? No problem. Obama was fine with that setup too. Washington D.C.’s total ban on gun ownership? That’s somehow constitutional as well, according to Obama.
It isn’t the hunters of Ohio that need the reality check. It is the Democratic candidate for the presidency of the United States.