But there is one issue that retains the power to leave Democrats quivering: gun rights. Gun issues still persistently tie the party in knots and have been used by Republicans to stall two major bills this year, with more likely to come.So here we are again, the Crazy Uncles in the Closet, giving the shattered Republican Party its only effective issue in Congress. I asked the Republican National Committee, through their media relations division, for an interview with Michael Steele...they didn't even bother to answer me. Maybe they answered Shepherd or Gresham in the hopes of sitting on a less hot seat that the one I have in mind for Mr. Steele, but I doubt Jim or Tom would cut the man any more slack than I would.
Democratic leaders admit they are confounded by the mounting problems with gun votes and are trying to find a way out of a situation that is partly a product of their own success. The wider their majority, the more members Democrats have from swing districts where gun rights are likely to be a prominent issue.
One of those members, Representative Travis Childers of Mississippi, last year was able to win House approval of his plan to let residents of the District of Columbia buy and keep guns in their homes for self-protection, a further retreat from the district’s virtually universal ban on legal handgun ownership that had already been relaxed by the Supreme Court.
“The Second Amendment right is a long-standing pillar in our system of government, and I believe law-abiding citizens should have the right to defend their homes in the District of Columbia, just like they have the ability to do so in the First Congressional District of Mississippi,” said Mr. Childers, who persuaded 81 other Democrats to side with him.
Democratic leaders say that baseline of 80 or so Democrats has undoubtedly grown, given gains in moderate districts last November, providing a solid House majority for gun rights when combined when strong support among Republicans. The cultural shift is pronounced — this week’s mass shootings in Alabama and Germany stirred hardly a Congressional call for new gun restrictions, a contrast from past episodes.
How many times do we let Lucy snatch the football away from Charlie Brown?