New gun measures show three ways Obama contributes to Trump-mania

President Obama speaks about using executive power, this time related to gun control, as Attorney General Loretta Lynch listens. Not pictured: Donald Trump. (AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

President Obama speaks about wielding executive power, this time related to gun control, as Attorney General Loretta Lynch listens. Not pictured is another fan of presidential power: Donald Trump. (AP Photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Almost seven months after Donald Trump entered the presidential race and quickly shot up in the polls, pundits and pollsters are still trying to explain why he is so popular. Why is his alarmist rhetoric on topics from illegal immigration to refugee resettlement resonating with so many people? Why would so many people who describe themselves as “constitutional conservatives” back a man who is neither conservative nor particularly concerned with the Constitution? And so on.

Let me suggest that the way President Obama has handled his newly announced executive actions on gun control goes a long way toward answering those questions. We spend so much time arguing about left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, that we often overlook the common threads tying Clinton to Bush, Bush to Obama, and Obama to whoever comes next. I see at least three ways Obama’s words and actions add to, rather than detract from, Trump’s bluster.

1. Talking up the power of the executive. If you think Trump would be the closest thing to a dictator that America has suffered, it’s worth considering how the ground is being laid for an all- (or at least more-) powerful executive. Presidents have long sought to increase their authority within the bounds of the Constitution, a natural element of the checks-and-balances rivalry the Founders established for our federal government. But none in recent decades has equaled Obama in so openly declaring his intent to do what by rights should be left to Congress. From time to time, the judiciary has slapped down the president’s actions, such as his brazen attempt to make recess appointments by declaring he, not Congress, was the authority on when Congress was in recess.

Yet, it is worth noting that Obama at least as often is more forceful in his rhetoric about executive powers than in his actions — and that this is equally harmful in one key way. Obama, his advisers and his spokespeople have promoted the idea that the White House can meaningfully increase gun control over the objections and/or inaction of Congress. In the event, I am inclined to agree with Ed Morrissey that this is mostly just “gun control theater,” and Obama is mostly (with a potentially key exception) just promising better enforcement of existing law. But we have seen before, specifically with immigration, that it’s hard to talk a big game and deliver only a modest one. When deferred prosecution for people who came to the United States illegally as children didn’t satisfy activists, Obama went against his earlier stated misgivings and ordered the same for their parents. Like his recess appointments, that second action has been overruled by a federal court. Obama’s stronger rhetoric creates an expectation that he will act more strongly. That expectation, once established, is not easily ignored. And just as Obama once decried George W. Bush’s executive power, only to build upon it once in office, the next president will have to be truly dedicated to rolling back executive overreach not to succumb to the temptation simply to apply it to his/her own political priorities. Enter Trump, who doesn’t even pretend he would govern more modestly. On the contrary, he bills himself as the personal savior of a crumbling nation. That idea about putting more trust and power in a single man — and its resonance — didn’t come from nowhere.

2. Justifying executive action in the name of “safety.” There’s a sordid history of dictators beginning their consolidation of power in the name of an “emergency,” never to relinquish it once the “emergency” has passed — or to acknowledge it has passed. One need not deem Obama a dictator to see the danger in his setting a precedent, with his gun-control measures, of justifying executive overreach in the name of safety. Indeed, these are the opening words from the White House “fact sheet” about the new measures:

“Gun violence has taken a heartbreaking toll on too many communities across the country. Over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence — and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun.”

Now, note how an appeal to preventing danger and violence is woven into Trump’s call to halt Muslim immigration:

“According to Pew Research, among others, there is great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population. Most recently, a poll from the Center for Security Policy released data showing ‘25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad’ and 51% of those polled, ‘agreed that Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to Shariah.’ Shariah authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won’t convert, beheadings and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women.

“Mr. Trump stated, ‘Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life. …'”

Again, the question is not whether Obama’s action is equal to Trump’s proposal; that’s a different argument. The point is that it’s a step in that direction in terms of using public safety — instead of just the usual false sense of “urgency” — to justify constitutionally questionable actions.

3. The sense that justice is politicized. The most dangerous element of Obama’s gun-control measures, as well as his deferred prosecutions for some illegal immigrants, is the apparent guiding principle that law enforcement is legitimately a means of lawmaking. In each case there is a fig leaf, but only a fig leaf, of cover from the argument that the administration is simply making decisions about allocating resources. Instead, this is the executive-branch equivalent of judges’ legislating from the bench, and it’s equally wrong-headed. The administration’s new “clarification” regarding who is “in the business” of dealing firearms requires no new resources; it’s a policy choice that is more properly made by Congress. (It’s also sufficiently vague that its effect, as Morrissey notes, will probably be to drive people better classified as hobbyists to yield the market to larger dealers — one of many examples of regulation favoring larger, more powerful entities.)

If you don’t think Obama’s politicization of immigration-law enforcement is boosting Trump in the eyes of many, you’re deluding yourself. Expect Trump to play on the sense of grievance about this latest action, too: Already, “Second Amendment Rights” is one of only five topics addressed on the “Positions” section of Trump’s campaign website. The real question is, judging by the way Trump has gone further than Obama in the other two ways, whether he’ll also incorporate the legitimacy of politicized law enforcement into his rhetoric. That might be a bridge too far for law-and-order Republicans; but then again, we’ve said that about Trump before, only to watch his support grow.

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130 comments
lvg
lvg

Right wing nonsense  . When the Black guy from Kenya  uses executive action to preserve families it is a big deal. when Reagan and HW Bush did it- no complaints from the GOP.


"Congressional Republicans are outraged that President Obama may take executive action on immigration reform after the mid-term elections—perhaps by deferring deportations and providing work authorization to millions of unauthorized immigrants with strong family ties to the United States. However, past Republican presidents have not been shy to use the White House’s power to retool immigration policy.  In fact, Obama could learn a lot from presidents Ronald Reagan’s and George H. W. Bush’s executive actions to preserve the unity of immigrant families, and move past Congressional refusal to enact immigration reform."""

Thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/foreign-policy/219463-when-reagan-and-ghw-bush-took-bold-executive-action-on




RafeHollister
RafeHollister

It seems that most all these comments from the proggies advocate more restrictions on law abiding gun owners, which does absolutely nothing to reduce gun violence.  The solution is to penalize those who misuse a weapon.  Currently if you are poor marksman and miss your target, and it is your first attempt to kill someone, you probably would get a few weeks in jail or probation.  


Your marksmanship should not determine your sentence.


Simple solution 1)  Anyone threatening someone with a gun gets 1-5 years minimum.  Anyone who shoots at another human being without justification, 5 years minimum or if a prior offender, 20 years, on top of other charges, like assault and attempted murder.  Any previously convicted felon found in possession of a firearm 10 years minimum.


Severe penalties would make these violent people think before they brandish a firearm.   The proggies, I'm sure, would reject that solution outright, because gun violence is helpful to achieve their ultimate aim of undermining the second amendment, shaming legitimate gun owners, and eliminating totally the gun culture in America. 

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Obama is nothing more than an articulate version of Trump.

They're both posers. Always have been. Always will be. 

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@FIGMO2 Right- Obama makes ridiculous hyperbolic false comments about Republicans just like Trump does with Mexicans.  Obamacare will save families, on average, $2500 per year in premiums=I will build a wall and make Mexico pay for it.

wonderdogg1984
wonderdogg1984

Yeah thanks Obama. You just sold another million guns overnight and now we are even better armed. You need to take a permanent vacation and preach to your Muslim compadres.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@wonderdogg1984 You need to take a permanent vacation and preach to your Muslim compadres.


There is your sign.


Psst. Gun ownership by household is declining. But old white people are stocking up.

MarkVV
MarkVV

It must be very frustrating for the Republicans that they cannot blame Obama for human-induced climate change, because they do not believe that it is happening. Or, perhaps they do blame him for it, even if they do not believe that it is happening.

wonderdogg1984
wonderdogg1984

@MarkVV Its not Mark. You need to get out of your moms basement more often and you too could figure this out.

MoFaux
MoFaux

Let's make a deal.  Make gun ownership and proper training mandatory for all adults.  If, after 5 years, violent criminal behavior using firearms is not curtailed significantly, as the NRA would have us believe would be the case, then we reverse course and try a complete ban on all guns for civilians for 5 years.  Winner takes all.  Deal?


I for one am tired of the NRA promoting gun violence by enriching themselves and buying votes.  But, hey, if "their way" actually produces better results (fewer suicides, fewer murders, etc.), I can live with it.

MargaretHolt
MargaretHolt

The Republicans have tried to blame Obama for everything they don't like - and now they want to blame him for Trump.  I can understand not wanting to be associated with Trump, but blaming Obama isn't going to work.  Trump is running as a Republican, claiming to be a Republican, and standing for what he believes Republicans represent.  He's yours.

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

"Trump-mania". The "mania" is in the minds of the media and people in his political cross-hairs.


Ficklefan
Ficklefan

There is no question that Obama's policies, methods, and "leadership" style (if one could actually call it leadership) have had much to do with creating the Trump monster that now threatens the nation. That will continue until he finally leaves office. Obama's unilateral executive actions will ensure that Trumpism grows as we approach the nominations this summer, and then who knows what will happen after that. 


And like the recent release of thousands of "non-violent" (an out right lie) drug felons and drug offenders from prison, the impending executive order to release of some of the worst terrorist actors now housed at Guantanamo will also be a great boost to Trumpism. 


One thing is for sure, Obama's last minute efforts to some how polish and enhance his less than stellar "legacy" with wrong headed acts such as this gun control executive order (which would have prevented not one of the gun violence tragedies often cited to support the order),is primarily intended to stick a thumb in the political eye of millions of law abiding gun owners (Republicans and Conservatives), who never ever engage in gun violence.  And more importantly from a political standpoint, establish in the public eye their guilt by association with these awful killings. But,in fact, it will only throw more gasoline on the now raging out of control fire of Trumpism.  


The great irony here is that if it were possible to do such a survey,  the results would show that the overwhelming number of Americans engaged in gun violence are . . . yes . . . Democrats, liberals, or sympathetic to the Democratic politicians, party, or liberalism. Why do you think the Democrats are so keen on securing the right to vote for former felons? Former felons = Democrats, and lots of them - plain and simple. 


The Democrat/Liberal efforts to reduce gun violence will never be directed toward deterrence or punishment of individuals for gun violence, but toward law abiding conservatives who support the Second Amendment and the useless and ineffective regulations, laws, and  measures that impact them.  


The other great irony (or perhaps disingenuity is the better word) is that the Democrats and Liberals never mention or even acknowledge is that the greatest amount of gun violence that occurs in America occurs in those places with the most plentiful and strict gun laws and regulations already in place. They ignore that truth entirely and just lobby for more laws and regulations. 


On the other hand, most NRA members and other Second Amendment supporters abide by the gun laws, want strong punishment and deterrence and the mandatory minimum sentencing - 5 to 10 years - for those who commit criminal gun violence or criminal acts while in the possession of fire arms (and if it takes more prisons, that's just fine).


After this, and the next unilateral executive Guantanamo prisoner release, no one is going to count Trump out of the Republican nomination, and perhaps even the presidency - none of which will be good for America. 


And like the disengaged, distracted, and inattentive George W. Bush during the last two years of his presidency spawned Obama, Barack Obama with is imperial presidency could very well spawn President Trump.  





MarkVV
MarkVV

It would be easy to dismiss Kyle’s arguments as another silly example of “it is all Obama’s fault,” even Trumps’ ascendancy. Indeed the notion that there is some logical connection between Obama’s “talking up the power of the executive” and a support for Trump who talks as if he would do everything using his executive power, or some people’s sense of “justice being politicized,” such as in Obama’s actions regarding immigrants, and support for Trump with his proposals to deal with immigrants are way over in the realm of political fantasy.

There is one Kyle’s argument, however, which is too serious to overlook. It is his accusation that Obama’s recent action regarding gun control is an attempt of “consolidation of power in the name of an emergency” and to justify executive overreach.

President Obama made a mistake - an understandable one -in his televised talk about his executive action, by putting too much emphasis on the mass shootings. The critiques are correct that few if any of those would be prevented by stricter gun controls. But in spite of the tragedies of such events, the real “emergency” are not those, but the tens of thousands of other gun deaths, as quite appropriately pointed out in the cited White House “fact sheet” about the new measures:

“Gun violence has taken a heartbreaking toll on too many communities across the country. Over the past decade in America, more than 100,000 people have been killed as a result of gun violence — and millions more have been the victim of assaults, robberies, and other crimes involving a gun.”

That is truly the real tragedy of the US gun culture, and Kyle’s efforts to politicize the Presidents’ effort to deal with it and to compare it with Trumps’ call to halt Muslim immigration are shameful and inhuman.

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@MarkVV Id agree with that.


The mass shootings get the headlines but they aren't the real problem. The availability of cheap handguns is.


A handgun is a simple tool that can easily be used to kill another human being. But we require almost no discipline or responsibility ( insurance etc ) to obtain that power.


Its nuts

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

@Hedley_Lammar @MarkVV  Then why not attack the problem, which is what is provoking people to want to shoot other people? Of course, it would be very politically incorrect to the leftists to focus on the people who are committing the violence, and why they are doing so.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@DawgDadII @Hedley_Lammar @MarkVV 

“Then why not attack the problem, which is what is provoking people to want to shoot other people?”

The perfect recipe for avoiding the issue. Let’s use it everywhere. Why make houses and shops and offices burglary-resistant? Why not attack the problem, which is what make people want to steal. Why make credit cards counterfeit-proof – why not attack the problem which is what makes people want to do the scams. The opportunities are endless.

fin5359
fin5359

In honor of King Oblamo's executive action on gun control, I've renewed my membership to the NRA and purchased a 1000 rounds of 7.62.  Molon Labe!!!

WW5
WW5

BHO - gun industry salesman of the year, chief recruiter for the NRA

STHornet1990
STHornet1990

@WW5  Scared much are we? Personally if I have to pack to feel safe I would just off myself. None of you are looking for protection. It's all about the power. Trump himself just "exudes" it. And it is YUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGG.

ccrider27
ccrider27

Wonder if he'll shed a tear for the children he's killed with his drone murder program.


R = D = NO DIFFERENCE

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

With Obama it is always something about America that causes this group or that one to act out.  The problems outside America are somehow related to American actions, and the problems in America are caused by a legacy of white privilege.  The folks who actually carry out the violence or hurtful actions are justified to some extent, because of what they have been put through by America or their fellow Americans, per Barry I. 


He blames Americans for almost every problem in the world.  Our love of guns just brings him to tears; boofrickinghoo.  Gun violence is down across the board.  If you look at the figures before the Heller decision, that loosened gun restrictions, gun violence has dropped since Heller.  In California, gun violence continues to decline since they had to reform their laws to comply with Heller and more folks have guns.  But Obama only believes the facts he approves of. 


A leader who believed that his "sensible actions" were bipartisan issues would have tried to pull together bipartisan minded folks in the Congress to implement these ideas, instead of using an unconstitutional method.   The Executive can not create law, his job is to enforce the law, which is really some joke, considering who our current Executive is.


According to Barry I, Muslims hate us because of Gitmo, even though we were being killed by Muslims long before Gitmo opened and we will be getting killed long after Gitmo closes.  The rest of the world is not taking climate change seriously, because America hasn't done enough to show our commitment to go green and destroy our economy, he says.


People are tired of the always whining, do nothing, blame America first left-wing, and want someone who will promote America, restore our place in the world,  and make it prosperous and growth focused again, hence Donald J Trump.  Obama created Trump by his actions or lack there of.

InTheMiddle2
InTheMiddle2

Because the one doing the shooting is a victim, right??

MarkVV
MarkVV

@RafeHollister Can you generate a little more of this this kind of drivel, or is that all the nonsense you can think of at the moment?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@RafeHollister  gun violence continues to decline since they had to reform their laws to comply with Heller and more folks have guns.


If you honestly believe more guns makes you safer I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.


If gun ownership = Safety America would be the safest place on Earth.


It isn't. Its bordering on third world violent.


Its the guns stupid.

lvg
lvg

Cons like Kyle thank God every day they live in a state that  requires mentally ill to be allowed to purchase guns if they have not been committed for five years. Heaven forbid the devil in the White House do anything to prevent Georgia from being one of the top  sources of cheap guns sold to gangs and thugs up North.How many toddlers have been shot in Georgia every month? A real President should be concerned about more important things like carpet bombing and invading Mideast countries.

PantherWin
PantherWin

Yea, its Obama's fault that uneducated, lazy white trash are attracted to Trump. My god you're an idiot. 

susanpegsmen
susanpegsmen

Obama is weak and pitiful. Guns are everywhere, get used to it and stop with the whining. When you want to address Black Gun Violence then let's talk. Until then, I know you are just lying.


Bionda
Bionda

The second amendment is outdated and needs to be revised. The NRA needs to be put out of business. Too many idiots in this country bearing arms.

WW5
WW5

@Bionda  FYI - the NRA doesn't sell guns.  the NRA didn't write the 2nd amend.  you may not have a gun, but you are an idiot.

MindDriver
MindDriver

Obama's plan raises more questions than it does answers. First, anyone in a for profit gun business is required to complete background checks. How does he expect the background checks to be better? Obama said he would require mental health to be a part of the background checks. How can he do that without violating the Health Information Privacy Protection Act? How will what he proposes impact an individual from selling to another individual, or someone inheriting a gun collection? At least he acknowledged that his hometown, Chicago, which has very strict gun laws, is one of the worst cities in the US for murders. Lastly, how will his plan keep guns out of the hands of criminals? Im looking forward to those answers - if they exist.

fez
fez

@MindDriver What is the Health Information Privacy Protection Act?  Is that a combination of Ontario's PHIPA and the US's HIPAA legislation?  Stop making things up and learn what HIPAA actually entails.

KeepinItSimple
KeepinItSimple

Two issues for me.  Abuse of executive power is the first, and the idiocy to think these new additions will actually improve anything. Does he really think that people selling illegally obtained guns will actually stop to apply for a permit to do so from the feds?  LMMFAO. 

I am sorry folks, but any of you believing this is anything more than a way to invade the privacy of legitimate gun owners are idiots.

STHornet1990
STHornet1990

@KeepinItSimple  Trump, if he could be elected, would attempt to be the biggest abuser of executive orders, EVER. Just listen to him talk. I'm gonna make this and that and Mexico pay for it and the Middle East give us all the oil, blah, blah, blah.

ATLAquarius
ATLAquarius


Kyle


I agree that the executive branch has assumed more attention if not power in the balancing act of governance but the legislature could act at any point and plainly is not holding up their point on the triangle. Whether or not the executive action is popular to the other side, the legislature could always counter it and far too many cases the most recent Congresses have chosen to go to the media cameras rather than debate and legislate.

In addition as you state this is not just an Obama issue of executive overreach but it does not figure to abate anytime soon with future presidents especially with in my opinion a Republican Congress and Democratic presidency. The American populace seems to respond to it as well.

Finally on the issue of politicizing law enforcement this will be ongoing issue as long as the country continues on its demographic trends and will continue to be exploited for political convenience.


gadeadhead
gadeadhead

Mr Wingfield's illogical opinion is a clear example of why Democrats will hold the White House as well as Congress this year.

TheDawgsofWar
TheDawgsofWar

@gadeadhead  I'm ready for Mizz Hillary!!!!!! I just loves that 68 year old Caucasian female that is worth millions.   No more climate change, no more wars, no more rich bankers, no more rich wall street bandits, no more fossil fuels, no more SUV's, no more unwanted pregnancies, no more having to pay for insurance etc etc etc etc                                                                                          

Yes, Mizz Hillary will save me!!!!!!!!

Carlos_Castillo
Carlos_Castillo

@gadeadhead YOur comment is nothing but hot air unless you show us something specific.  Where is the illogic?

TheDawgsofWar
TheDawgsofWar

@Carlos_Castillo BHO has been a boon to the GOP - Governorships, State Houses, U.S. House of Reps and the U.S. Senate.  Letting um keep on believing the dribble their democratic masters allow them to hear, it's working great for the Repubs.