Tag Archive: gun control

The great Republican hoodwink

Donald Trump on the golf course, again

Donald Trump‘s approval numbers — as low as 32 percent — are the worst ever for a president at this point in his term. Likewise,  Trump’s handling of the hurricanes this season dropped 20 points to just 44 percent after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and, instead of focusing on helping the people there (who are Americans), Trump took to the golf course and then criticized them. What’s amazing, though, is that Trump’s approval among Republicans is quite high. Why the disconnect?

Instead of getting distracted, drive the narrative

 

Puerto Rico devastation from Hurricane Maria

Back in February 2011, we published Messaging Maxim #1: Go On Offense. Perhaps some folks need a refresher course. In that post, we wrote, “If you’re fighting a political battle on the other side’s rhetorical turf, you’ve already lost.” At the time, such advice was referring to phony cultural issues like “Ground Zero Mosque” and “is President Obama a Muslim?” that Republicans had ginned up and repeated everywhere they could (see Messaging Maxim #2: Rinse and Repeat). With their herd mentality, the mainstream media then picked up these issues and focused their broadcasts, cablecasts and column space on them.

Fast forward to today. Donald Trump and the Republicans are doing the same thing again, and it’s working. Currently, the phony cultural issues are: “Kneeling NFL Players” and “Harvey Weinstein.” To those, you can add, “NBC and CNN Licenses.” By next week, expect different cultural issues.

Now is not too soon to talk about gun violence

The Knotted Gun

The shootings by Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas on Sunday night were the deadliest in modern U.S. history. 59 people are now dead, with over 500 injured. And yet, on Monday, Trump White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, asked if Donald Trump was now discussing whether new gun laws are needed, replied that “it would be premature for us to discuss policy” so soon after the killings. Sanders’ reply is similar to what many conservatives and the National Rifle Association say when confronted with mass shootings of civilians involving semiautomatic or, in this case, automatic, weapons. They are wrong for a couple of major reasons:

Democratic revolution in U.S. House

U.S. House Democrats stage anti-gun violence sit-in on House floor

U.S. House Democrats stage anti-gun violence sit-in on House floor

Yesterday, the type of “political revolution” that Bernie Sanders called for but did not deliver during the 2016 Democratic Party primaries was launched instead by the Democrats in the House of Representatives. In a stunning, unprecedented move, Democratic Representatives protested the Republican majority and the National Rifle Association by staging a “sit-in” on the House floor after the Republicans refused to vote on gun violence legislation in the wake of the June 12 Orlando, Florida nightclub shootings in which 49 people were killed by a man using a semi-automatic assault-type rifle and a semi-automatic pistol. 

Barack Obama, the anti-lame duck president

President Obama at the COP 21 climate conference in France

President Obama at the COP 21 climate conference in France

President Barack Obama this week signaled that he would have a robust final year in office as he announced executive actions on the registration of gun purchases, especially narrowing the “gun show loophole.” Obama also held a town hall meeting aired by CNN on Thursday to talk about his anti-gun violence actions. Moreover, just a week ago, President Obama appeared on an epic, hilarious episode of Jerry Seinfeld‘s web series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.” Obama was not only very funny and relaxed, he also managed to plug his Affordable Care Act, which has covered an estimated 17.6 million more people in the past two years, causing the percentage of Americans without health insurance to drop to the lowest level ever measured. In short, President Obama is exploding the stereotype of the lame duck president.

Winning the gun violence argument

America's intersection of children and guns

America’s intersection of children and guns

After yet another mass shooting in America, this time in San Bernardino, California, the debate over what to do about gun violence has been rekindled. However, when both sides simply fall back into their standard arguments, there’s no reason to believe that a different result will occur. To achieve a different outcome, we need some new thinking and new language. Here’s how the majority of Americans can win the argument to reduce gun violence:

The nihilism election

Vote Nihilism

Vote Nihilism

Ve believe in nossing, Lebowski. Nossing. And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson.
–The Big Lebowski, 1998

What to make of last night’s mid-term election? Democrats never articulated a positive unifying theme. Most of the Democrats’ endless fundraising appeals tried to scare supporters about the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove pouring millions of dollars into Republican campaigns. Republicans ran a national campaign on a unifying theme, but that theme — “President Obama is bad” — was also wholly negative. Most voters didn’t vote for anything.

Republicans are the party of “EXCEPT”

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Republicans “support the troops” EXCEPT Bowe Bergdahl.

Republicans are “pro-life” EXCEPT once a baby is born, then he’s on his own.

Republicans believe in “law and order” EXCEPT when it comes to keeping guns away from violent criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill.

Republicans believe in the “sanctity of marriage” EXCEPT between gay couples.

Republicans believe in “family values” EXCEPT when GOP officials are caught cheating on their spouses or frequenting prostitutes.

Republicans believe in “smaller government” and “lower spending” EXCEPT when a Republican is in the White House.

Republicans are “pro-business” EXCEPT when it comes to helping business by repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges.

Republicans “believe in the Constitution” EXCEPT when federal law requires grazing fees on federal land.

Republicans are “tough on crime” EXCEPT when it comes to white-collar crime by bankers.

Republicans “fight terrorism” EXCEPT when it’s right-wing domestic terrorism.

Republicans believe in “free speech” EXCEPT when it comes to revealing genetically-modified foods, donors to right-wing dark money groups, or information women need when they’re pregnant.

Photo by Pargon, used under Creative Commons license. http://is.gd/G4VJ4w

The media frenzy over the UCSB shooting frenzy

Gun play

Gun play

The University of California Santa Barbara killings by Elliot Rodger should have unleashed a unified national outcry to break the mental illness/gun accessibility chain, as exhibited by Richard Martinez, father of one of Elliot’s victims, Chris Martinez. Instead, some feminist writers have gone off on a tangent that has led to a separate media frenzy. From slamming so-called “pickup artists” to blaming the shootings on Seth Rogen/Judd Apatow movies, these articles appear to glom existing feminist theories onto a tragedy, or worse, as Judd Apatow tweeted about Ann Hornaday‘s Washington Post article, “She uses tragedy to promote herself with idiotic thoughts.” In this case, such theories are woefully off base, and threaten to drive a wedge between men and women on an issue on which we all should agree.

Messaging Maxim #7: You get the legislation or you get the issue

Thor's hammer, San Diego Comic-Con 2011

Thor’s hammer, San Diego Comic-Con 2011

Once again, Republicans in Congress have shot down a good proposal from the Democrats, this time a federal minimum wage hike. Instead of being dejected or just complaining about the “party of ‘no,'” Democrats should recognize that they have an important weapon, and it’s the hammer of having an issue on which to run.