This is the clip from last night’s gun violence town hall that is making all the headlines this morning.
What else do you call it but a “conspiracy” when the opposition rests entirely on claiming that they have access to the President’s secret motives? That’s the bottom line of what came out of this discussion last night: the only objection the gun rights crowd has to common sense gun safety measures is that our
black dangerous President is really out to confiscate your guns and impose tyranny.
How we were able to reach that kind of clarity is interesting to note. Especially in the beginning of this town hall, the President fielded a lot of questions from the opposition. He patiently and thoughtfully engaged them in honest dialogue. Here’s my favorite tweet of the night about that:
#GunsInAmerica POTUS bringing a brain to a gun fight.
— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) January 8, 2016
In the end, it was clear that all the opposition had was a conspiracy theory. That’s why I think President Obama should do this kind of thing more often. He has the patience, intelligence and calmness that many of us don’t have when it comes to engaging the opposition. He doesn’t take cheap shots and is quick on his feet in getting to the heart of the issue.
I’m not saying that he’d be likely to win over a lot of the opposition. But he does have the ability to clarify the debate. I suspect that’s why the NRA chose to not have a representative at the town hall last night and preferred to take their shots from a distance.
Just in case anyone doubted that this President was prepared to go “all in” on this issue both personally and politically, here’s what he wrote in a NYT op-ed:
Even as I continue to take every action possible as president, I will also take every action I can as a citizen. I will not campaign for, vote for or support any candidate, even in my own party, who does not support common-sense gun reform. And if the 90 percent of Americans who do support common-sense gun reforms join me, we will elect the leadership we deserve.
As Steven Waldman once noted, President Obama has demonstrated a “pitch perfect sense of when to take the big risk.” To the extent he is right about that, I’d say that doesn’t bode well for those who oppose common-sense gun reform.