It’s fairly apparent that Obama’s recent push for post-Newtown gun control is not reasonably related to the facts of the case, but exploits it instead as an opportunity to use the public’s emotional reaction to it (and some children, in a photo-op) to pass some legislation (or at least issue some executive orders) that serve other ends.
There’s been a lot of speculation on what those ends might be. I think there’s a multitude—but one of them is sticking it to the bitter clingers, and letting the latte crowd know he’s with them, whether the legislation they want gets passed or not.
Remember those bitter clingers, bitterly clinging to their guns and religion? Well, that’s not all they were clinging to, according to Obama. In case you’ve forgotten, here the quote:
You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Obama was speaking at a fundraiser in San Francisco not long after his swing through Pennsylvania during his 2008 campaign, so it’s not surprising he was talking about that state. But he was speaking less of a state than of a demography: white, blue-collar, rural, Christian. And note how he characterizes their guns and their religion: driven by negative emotions like bitterness, rather than conviction or principle, and co-existing with xenophobia and racism.
Not a pretty picture, but one that’s mild compared to the general San Franciscan attitude towards these people in PA, the Midwest, or especially their brothers and sisters in the South (or in Alaska; see Palin). Although in 2008 Obama saw fit to couch his description in a sort of condescending, seemingly-empathic patronization, that’s really no longer necessary, is it?
And so even though the bitter clingers have become ever more bitter and ever more clingy, he’s going to try to pry some of their weapons from their cold, live, hands.
I was reminded of all of this by this post by Andy at Ace’s. He writes that, in the current push for gun control:
We [gun owners] are now “The Other” who are bent on killing your kids at school by our mere existence. We buy off congressmen to do our evil bidding. We’re like the Nazis and the KKK all rolled into one.
Now, I’m more akin in my own demographics to the San Franciscans than to the bitter clingers. But somehow I never got the memo about the latter. However, I run in circles that trash them enough to make me quite familiar with the prevailing attitude, which is that they are, to put it crassly, cretins out of “Deliverance,” and terrible racists to boot.
It doesn’t escape me that a great deal of the talk on blogs on the left lately is about the heinous “gun culture,” rather than anything more rationally related to murder or mass murder. As for the Second Amendment, it’s often considered an outworn relic of another time, not necessary—and even counterproductive—in this Brave New World of ours, where government is always your friend (unless it’s a conservative government).