Frustrated liberals are asking why a Democratic-controlled Congress and White House can't manage to close the Guantánamo prison or keep new gun-rights laws from passing.
After all, President Barack Obama pledged to shut down the military detention center on Cuba for suspected terrorists. And Democratic control of the government would suggest that any gun legislation leads to tighter controls on weapons, not expanded use.
Last week the Senate voted 90-6 to join the House in blocking the transfer of any prisoners from Guantánamo. By way of explanation, the lawmakers said they need more information on where detainees will be sent.
Also Wednesday, the House voted overwhelmingly to join the Senate in letting people carry loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges. More than 100 House Democrats and 174 Republicans voted for the gun measure, which was attached to an Obama-backed bill imposing new restrictions on credit card companies.
We've already discussed this at some length, the idea being that although the gun amendment was attached to another piece of legislation, it certainly didn't avoid scrutiny. So what explains its passage?
Now, there's an interesting idea: a national organization to counteract the NRA.
The gun votes were less surprising to many Democrats than were the Guantánamo developments. The NRA remains among the most powerful lobbies, and many lawmakers take care to stay off its political enemies list.
"People do not want to be on the wrong side of this particular cultural divide," said Rep. David Price, D-N.C., who supports tougher gun controls. "It's too bad there's not a more responsible national organization" to counteract the NRA, he said.
Many Democratic lawmakers predicted that Obama will resolve the Guantánamo problem and eventually turn to gun issues, where he has advocated ownership rights with "common sense" regulations.
"I do believe that down the road the president will start working on some of the gun violence issues," said McCarthy, the New York Democrat. "But let's face it," she said. "We've got an awful lot of issues on our plate right now."
What' your opinion? Do you think Congresswoman McCarthy is right that Obama will eventually get around to the gun issues? What about the strength of the NRA, would Obama be able to stand up to it? Or do you think Obama has already decided to "stay off its political enemies list?"
Please leave a comment.