Last week President Obama issued some gun control executive orders to help stop mass-shooting deaths like those at Sandy Hook. Then, during the press conference he called to publicly announce the measures, he was moved to tears while talking about the number of senseless mass killings that have occurred during his presidency. The orders themselves are weak tea that probably won’t end a lot of shootings. But they sure got a rise out of the rightbloggers, spurring them to their customary nervous discharge of rhetorical ammunition.
Could it be that’s what Obama was going for all along?
The orders were planned well in advance, and some of the brethren got in early. “The fact that Obama could issue such orders shows that even if voters fill Congress to the brim with gun rights activists, the president can bypass them entirely and shove tyranny down our throats,” said The Tenth Amendment Center back in December, going straight for their ever-popular Down-Our-Throats shtick. (Why rightbloggers haven’t used that as the title for their own version of On Our Backs, I’ll never know.)
The Tenthers proposed passing a “Second Amendment Preservation Act (SAPA)” via the states to thwart Obama. “This legislation nullifies federal gun control laws in practice by prohibiting state law enforcement officials from enforcing it,” they explained. Well, the Civil War was a long time ago; maybe they forgot how it came out.
When Obama assured the press his new actions wouldn’t violate the Second Amendment, The Right Scoop told its readers “maybe you should drop by the gun store on the way home just in case.” But classier rightbloggers eschewed veiled threats in favor of more sophisticated passive-aggression.
At Commentary, for instance, under the headline “The Left May Come to Loathe Obama,” Noah Rothman concern-trolled that “Obama’s determination to govern exclusively from the Oval Office and without the consent of the legislative branch is a weak foundation upon which to erect a legacy,” and that “morose left-wing Democrats” would come to regret “the president’s inability to secure lasting policy achievements as well as the flimsiness of his legacy of executive actions.” If only Obama had chosen to work with the Republican Congress on gun control — think what might have been accomplished! (As if to make Rothman’s point, Republican Presidential candidates showed their disappointment: “I will un-sign that so fast” said Donald Trump, “The president is a petulant child,” said Chris Christie, etc.)
At The Daily Caller, “Guns and Gear Contributor” Paul Avallone did a little call-and-response thing with “Pres Obama” and “Pres Republican.” Sample: “Pres Obama: ‘In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the “fierce urgency of now.” Because people are dying.’ Pres Republican: ‘In Dr. King’s words, we need to feel the “fierce urgency of now,” Because babies are dying even before they have a chance to exit the womb.” (In case you didn’t get it, the thing was called “Aborting Guns.”)
“OBAMA ADMITS: ‘I’VE NEVER OWNED A GUN” headlined WorldNetDaily. “I will say what I want about Islam and I will ignore and defy Obama’s new gun laws,” roared radio shouter Joe Walsh. “…Come and get us, Loretta Lynch…”
The Blaze celebrated a Chinese immigrant lady who said she wished they’d had guns at Tiananmen Square and posed with an AK-47 in front of a flag on Facebook, which “received more than 10,000 ‘likes’ and comments and has been shared more than 8,000 times.” Elsewhere at the Blaze, Jennifer Kerns demanded, “Let’s Not Forget When Obama’s Guns Killed Americans.” Kerns was talking about the ATF’s Fast and Furious operation in Mexico, but she also managed to work in #Benghazi and ISIS, thereby winning a triple-word score in wingnut Scrabble.
The more enterprising among them tried to exploit specific actions they could make sound gun-grabby — like the one that tightened federal licensing requirements for dealers. The brethren were especially enraged that, as federal officials told the Washington Post, in some cases “a person who sells a single gun could be required to get a license.” In other cases, the officials added, “sellers who are classified as hobbyists or collectors could still qualify for exemptions.” But by then, rightbloggers were off to the races.
“A gross abuse of power, a clear violation of the 2nd amendment,” cried Liberty News. “So if you have a gun and want to sell it to your brother, you’ll now have to take it to a federally licensed firearm dealer to do a background check,” seethed Ben Shapiro. Which is absurd, because nobody’s brother would ever do anything with a gun that the feds would need to know about, right? Come on, it’s the root word of “bro!”
Some characterizations were more egregious. Take the limited HIPAA exemption for mental health authorities (the kind who have dangerous lunatics committed) which will allow them to file to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Fox News’ Dr. Keith Ablow claimed “social workers, nurses, mental health workers and psychiatrists worried about malpractice liability could certainly decide to report patients in a wholesale way and have their guns confiscated or their right to obtain gun licenses blocked,” and CNS News asked, “[if] someone is prescribed anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication by a psychiatrist, will that person now have ‘a documented health issue?’” (Short answer: GTFO.)
Then there was the tear-policing. You probably heard that Obama wept a bit over children who’ve been gunned down when he announced the actions. You may also have heard about the Fox News presenter who suggested Obama had an onion or something behind his podium so he could fake it. There was the other Fox News presenter who tweeted, “where is that emotion when it comes to terrorism?” Believe it or not, they weren’t the only ones who thought this was a winning approach to the issue.
“He wanted to send signals that he CARES SO MUCH and is ready to FIGHT THE GUN LOBBY,” yelled John Hayward at Brietbart.com. “He wants you to feel, not think. He doesn’t carefully build bipartisan support for what he wants; he takes it, breaking the law as necessary, and then dares his opponents to push back.” Wow, I really should watch these press conferences to the end — apparently I missed the best part!
“Crocodile tears,” sniffed Charles Hurt at the Washington Times, “…Empty tears. Meaningless tears. Fake tears.” Can’t you see he’s faking, people, or do I have to get out the thesaurus again? Also, Hurt said, the orders were “nothing that isn’t already the law. More paperwork. More busy work.” But, simultaneously, it was also “possible that these ‘executive actions’ by the president have a deeper, more sinister intent,” said Hurt — for example, “the president does intend to use medical records from Obamacare to create a national ‘crazy list’ of people, especially the elderly, who cannot have guns to defend themselves.”
This idea that Obama’s actions were simultaneously innocuous and a menace to liberty was a popular one, taken up by conservatives such as John Lott, whose essay was headlined “Obama’s Gun-Control Order Is Dictatorial, and It Won’t Work.” Those damned impotent/all-powerful liberals!
At National Review, Charles C.W. Cooke affected a charitable interpretation: “Insofar as his tears are a taken as an expression of genuine grief — rather than used to bully the dissenters into acquiescence — there’s nothing wrong with them at all.”
But, you know, maybe it wasn’t affected and I’m the one being uncharitable. After all, just because a person expresses himself in laboriously formal sp— hang on, Cooke wasn’t done: “That said, I’ve been fascinated by the vitriol that I have seen thrown at those who disagree. If my little corner of social media is any indication, Obama’s champions believe wholeheartedly that only ‘sociopaths’ would believe that it was a mistake for the president to show such unfiltered emotion at a televised press conference. Obama, his denigrators have been told in no uncertain terms, is a ‘real person’ with ‘real emotion,’ and his tears are a reflection of his enthusiasm for reform. Unlike the emotionless ‘gun lobby’…” OK, forget it, the guy was just being an dick.
Inevitably there were the usual reports of a surge in gun sales (“Obama Gun Salesman Of The Year?” baw-hawed International Business Times) and other Second Amendment sack-dances, followed by a steep decline in outrage. Less ballyhooed was a CNN poll that showed most respondents actually approved of the actions, but had little hope they would accomplish anything. Do you suppose these citizens lacked hope because they knew, thanks to the rapid-response ravings rightbloggers always bring to these things, that even if this stuff were worth doing conservatives would do and say anything to stop it?