The mid-term election campaign is in full swing, at least by the Democrats, with control of the House of Representatives in the balance.
Remember the day-after reporting on what doomed Mitt Romneyâ€™s bid for the presidency? The Obama campaign successfully defined the Republican challenger as an out-of-touch rich guy itching to wage a war on women.
The liberal assault on Mitt started early, went unanswered for months and proved devastating to Republican prospects last November. Obamaâ€™s margin over Romney with single women voters was a staggering 36 percent.
Just yesterday, a co-worker in this demographic illustrated the power of emotional wedge issues. Despite her acknowledgement of Obamaâ€™s manifest economic failures, she nevertheless could not support the challenger because of Romneyâ€™s â€śextreme position on womenâ€™s rights.â€ť
Think of establishing an emotional wedge issue well in advance of an electoral contest as the Alinskyite equivalent of the cloaking device deployed in early Star Trek television episodes. Once switched on, the dreadful economy and other negatives simply disappear from view.
Which brings us to the current campaign for 2014â€™s defining wedge issue. The Democrats aim to demonize guns and Republicans who resist the ineffective proposals scheduled to emerge from Joe Bidenâ€™s task force later this month.
Voters, particularly women, recently targeted with endless stories about slavish Republican concern for â€śthe rich,â€ť will soon be inundated with tales of Republicans, especially conservatives, doing the bidding of â€śthe gun lobbyâ€ť and thereby endangering â€śour childrenâ€ť by opposing â€ścommonsense reforms.â€ť If Democrats peel off a few Republican votes and pass additional gun control legislation, the Republican Party will again be split and Obama will emerge victorious. If Republicans hang tough, get ready for two years of scary stories about the sinister, child-hating National Rifle Association and its zombie minions in Congress. Win-win.
Must we sit supinely as we careen toward the approaching Gun Cliff (I believe that just as every political scandal now ends in â€“gate, every engineered policy crisis should end in â€“cliff; so Fiscal Cliff begets Gun Cliff)? Canâ€™t we start posing some questions, leading ultimately to the establishment of emotional wedge issues of our own?
Letâ€™s start with corruption. The US Department of Justice under Obama intentionally violated existing federal gun control laws to equip Mexican drug traffickers with dreaded â€śassault weapons,â€ť causing the death of hundreds, including Mexican children and an American law enforcement officer. Eric Holder has been held in contempt for stonewalling the congressional investigation into Fast and Furious, but no political price has been paid.
Wouldnâ€™t a grant of greater federal authority ahead of a thorough accounting of this spectacular failure amount to a reward for corruption?
Letâ€™s next explore incompetence. As Mark Levin pointed out on his radio program recently, missing from President Obamaâ€™s speech detailing the mass shootings occurring on his watch was any mention of the 2009 Fort Hood massacre. Outrageously classified by the Administration as workplace violence, Major Nidal Hasan killed 13 and wounded 29 others in a jihadist attack.
Fort Hood is a federal installation. Under military policy, the base is a gun-free zone. Personal weapons are banned and only civilian base police are armed. Major Hasan knew all this, of course, and was therefore able to plan his attack for maximum effect, confident that, because of federal policy, he would face no immediate armed response.
If federal authorities cannot prevent mass shootings on a military base where all private guns are already banned, why should we believe in the efficacy of Joe Biden's latest killer idea?
The real emotional issue boils down to this: How many deaths are we willing to risk for the sake of political correctness? Military officials were aware of Major Hasanâ€™s email correspondence with radical Islamic clerics and other warning signs, but chose to do nothing. Noticing might look like discriminatory treatment.
Likewise, mass shooters from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Tucson to Auburn to Sandy Hook were all known to be mentally unstable individuals in need of help. But since the demolition of the U.S. mental health system in the 1970s and 80s, we donâ€™t help the mentally ill anymoreâ€”unless they ask for it, which the dangerous ones are incapable of doing.
In his new book The Joy of Hate, Greg Gutfeld humorously and effectively describes the left's romance with misapplied tolerance. Extending Gutfeld's thesis to the current controversy, the left requires us to tolerate the madmen in our midstâ€”with intervention permitted only after a lethal outburstâ€”while simultaneously demanding intolerance of hundreds of millions of law-abiding citizens peacefully exercising their Second Amendment rights (or purchasing a 20-ounce soda, but that's just Michael Bloomberg. For now).
So, just as the TSA dutifully performs molestation-style enhanced screenings on grandmothers and small childrenâ€”in the name of fairness, of courseâ€”we must now erect further impositions on the nation's 52 million gun-owning households, beginning the long march toward eliminating the 260 million guns in private hands. Because, somehow, focusing on the young loner male with serious, obvious, and frightening mental instability would be unfair.
How about this as an emotional message of our own? The United States should care enough to provide medical treatment for the seriously mentally ill, ending the living hell of homelessness, drug abuse and--rarely but tragically--cataclysmic violence.
What about you? Any ideas for how we might interrupt this latest slow-motion train wreck?