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Obama, demagogue

For President Obama’s statement after yesterday’s gun bill failure, see transcript here.

Allahpundit (who has video) is not my favorite, but when he’s right, he’s right:

[Obama] kept his mouth shut nice and tight about guns when it was his own ass on the line last year in purple states; he ignored gun control almost completely when he had 60 Democratic votes in the Senate early in his first term; and as we know from the gay-marriage farce, he isn’t above lying outright to voters about his true positions in the name of getting elected…

Given his record, there’s every reason to believe that what’s really bothering him is the fact that red-state Dems [ed: and Senator Toomey(R)!] denied him an easy chance today to demagogue Republicans as the party of child murder…

I think Obama’s statement is itself an example of demagoguery.

  • Obama pulls figures from thin air, like his claim that “90% of the American people” supported the bill.
  • Obama calls the Senate cloture rules under which the bill failed, “A continuing distortion of Senate rules.” Huh? How can the actual Senate rules, which Democrats gladly use to stop legislation when it suits them, be a distortion of the rules? Or does Obama mean that the rules should only ever help himself?
  • Obama once more tries to play the Gabby Giffords card and the Sandy Hook card. But neither of those shootings would have been prevented by the bill.
  • Obama claims “There were no coherent arguments” against the bill, then misrepresents arguments against it[1], revealing the true problem (that he never understood the arguments and never wanted to).
  • Obama also plays the Dirty Gun Lobby / Dirty Money In Politics card. But, as Bruce’s post mentions, it was the pro-bill side (if anyone) which may have tried to buy votes with money.

The problem with all gun control legislation is that it burdens the freedom *of the law-abiding*. It’s justifiable only if it will directly hurt law-breakers, a small (if destructive) minority. And, in practice, it usually doesn’t.

Even if it does, there is still the Constitution to consider. As with speech restrictions, property restrictions, measures that would expand home invasion (or search & seizure), etc.: gun control legislation should be difficult to get passed. It should be passed only on cold, slow-moving rationality; never on demagogic falsehoods or appeals to emotion.

[1] For example, Obama says “One common argument I heard was that this legislation wouldn’t prevent all future massacres”; Obama’s insertion of the word “all” making it clearly a Straw Man.



  1. My understanding is, yes, 90% of the public supports background checks, which… Hello?… are already the law.

    Now, if you poll on what the Schumer Bill actually would have done…
    – Criminalize loaning a hunting rifle to your best friend on a hunting trip.
    – Require background checks just to let someone handle and examine your weapon
    – Allowed Federal agencies other than the DoJ to compile lists for gun registration

    You would come up way short of 90%.

    Which is why the details of what Demoncrats want are never polled, lest low-information doorknobs find out about them.

    Comment by V the K — April 18, 2013 @ 12:53 pm - April 18, 2013

  2. This is par for Obama. He always demagogues the issue and he usually falsely represents his opponents views. And he always cites information drawn from thin air.

    Even his original victory speech in 2008 was packed with ludicrous images. Greek columns. And the appearance of that ultimate grand Seal on his podium, you know, the one he made up! “Office of the President-Elect” hung on his podium looking like the real seal for the president, of which, we only have one at a time.

    There has been no issue ever that Obama didn’t tell lies about. You can keep your insurance, remember? We could write a book on his behavior, demagoguery and his outright lies, 500 pages minimum.

    Comment by Texann — April 18, 2013 @ 1:11 pm - April 18, 2013

  3. Is anyone besides me RELISHING the spectacle of the narcissist-in-chief throwing a temper tantrum because finally someone said NO to him?

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — April 18, 2013 @ 2:25 pm - April 18, 2013

  4. Obama´s response to the defeat of the measure is predictable. The person whose reaction surprises me the most is that of Gabby Gifford. She of all people being angry. Disappointed? Yes but angry, no. She started her political career as a Republican, then switched. As a victim she must know that the shooter that almost took her life is a bona fide mental case. In spite of the condition it has left her, she should still be able to connect the dots with Aurora and Sandy Hook, that all the shooters are/were nut jobs. If she can´t, her husband, Mark should be able to. But then he was an astronaut and I wonder if spending too much time in outer space over aerates the brain. John Glenn, another astronaut, was liberal Democrat

    Comment by Roberto — April 18, 2013 @ 2:48 pm - April 18, 2013

  5. He was much more angry about losing his gun control bill than he was about Americans dying in Benghazi or Boston.

    This was personal.

    So much for, “This isn’t about me.”

    Comment by V the K — April 18, 2013 @ 3:03 pm - April 18, 2013

  6. V the K – “He was much more angry about losing his gun control bill than he was about Americans dying in Benghazi or Boston.”

    Thank you, I noticed that too. Only I wondered if it was my anti-Obama bias coloring my judgement. So, thank you for stating that you noticed it too.

    Comment by Charles — April 18, 2013 @ 4:06 pm - April 18, 2013

  7. I heard that 90% of the American people are interested in jobs, but so far that hasn’t been part of President Obama’s laser like focus.

    Comment by Louise B — April 18, 2013 @ 4:12 pm - April 18, 2013

  8. V the K wrote: He was much more angry about losing his gun control bill than he was about Americans dying in Benghazi or Boston.

    While it was personal, it usually is with him. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think this is one of the few issues he has demagogued endlessly which he has lost. He’s used to getting his way. After all, his campaign for re-election was nothing but demagoguery and attacks on his opponent, and in the end, it wasn’t even as close as people had been predicting.

    Comment by Kurt — April 18, 2013 @ 4:13 pm - April 18, 2013

  9. Perhaps a new verb has been added to the lexicon:
    To Obamagogue……and the definition can be the items you list in your article.

    Comment by jb — April 18, 2013 @ 4:46 pm - April 18, 2013

  10. jb, nice one!

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — April 18, 2013 @ 5:26 pm - April 18, 2013

  11. What ILC said. Nicely done, jb!

    Comment by Bastiat Fan — April 18, 2013 @ 6:26 pm - April 18, 2013

  12. Obama at the interfaith service: “You will run again.” Odd — some people thought he was talking to Boston marathoners, while others were sure he was talking to himself re. 2016.

    Comment by Ignatius — April 18, 2013 @ 7:10 pm - April 18, 2013

  13. “The problem with all gun control legislation is that it burdens the freedom of the law-abiding.”

    If that’s not a near-textbook definition of “infringe”…get with the program, Hussein!

    Comment by nate — April 18, 2013 @ 9:39 pm - April 18, 2013

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