Quote of the Day:
House Democrats’ 24-hour gun-control protest marks a turning point in Congress as a major escalation in minority battle tactics, lawmakers in both parties said Thursday — and a move that brings fundamental risks for the institution.
Politico says in the very next sentence that Democrats are "energized by nationwide publicity and praise they received for occupying the House floor over demands for a gun vote, are saying they’ll likely use the same strategy again."
This could be a sea change in the way our government works (or doesn't work).
Speaker Paul Ryan realizes the gravity of what the Occupy Democrats are doing. In what, given the magnitude of what is going on is an understatement, he said:
“I do worry about the precedent here,” he told reporters Thursday. “I have an obligation as speaker of the House to protect this institution. We are the oldest democracy in the world. … And so when we see our democracy descend in this way, it is not a good sign.”
In an editorial headlined "Pelosi Lives Matter," the Wall Street Journal notes that the sit-in Democrats are violating rules that have long been adhered to by both parties. And all for a showy piece of legislation that would erode due process but do nothing to curb gun violence:
Legislation that can be reduced to a hash tag is rarely wise, and the Democrats’ “no fly, no buy” measure would ban firearm purchases by anyone on the government’s terror watch list. The insurrection started with about 40 Members but grew to more than 170, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. The House can’t conduct business unless Members obey settled rules.
. . .
The Orlando massacre did not expose some gap in U.S. gun laws. Omar Mateen was an Islamic State-inspired terrorist, not a common gun criminal. He pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, or, to use the term Democrats prefer, “(omitted).” Yet “no fly, no buy” would not even have prevented the shooting. Mateen was put on a terror watch list and then removed after investigations by the FBI.
If Democrats are truly worried about terrorists getting weapons, they could vote for a compromise brokered by Texas Republican John Cornyn. Civil libertarians object to stripping U.S. citizens of their Fifth Amendment due-process rights by putting them on a secret no-fly list with no appeal that restricts their travel. Democrats want to deny them the Second Amendment right to bear arms too.
The Cornyn bill would flag the FBI when a potentially dangerous person tries to buy a gun. But Senate Democrats defeated the measure in a filibuster Monday, 53-47. Straight “no fly, no buy” also failed, 47-53—so even if Mrs. Pelosi’s bill passed the House it couldn’t become law.
The reality is that gun control has little to do with preventing gun violence. It is merely another form of politicized cultural liberalism like abortion and immigration meant to mobilize Democratic voters. Democrats want to polarize these issues to restore Mrs. Pelosi to the Speaker’s chair. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee sent out email fundraisers during the sit-in. They also want to deflect attention from the failures of Mr. Obama’s antiterror strategy.
Much more than gun legislation is at stake, however. In bringing the tactics of the street into the House, the Democrats are threatening the foundations of our system of government and show that they have no respect for the deliberations required in a democracy. This is not how democracies function. This is not how deliberative bodies deliberate.
That the protest was led by Rep. John Lewis, a hero of the civil rights movement, was disheartening–but not as disheartening as the juvenile response at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue:
President Obama tweeted “Thank you John Lewis for leading on gun violence where we need it most,” though most U.S. gun murders are committed by street thugs not Islamists. Their weapons of choice are usually handguns. It’s especially sad to see Mr. Lewis become the human shield for an agenda that does nothing to solve the real problems.
This all feels very historical.