President Obama: Republican Gerrymandering Dooms Gun Control

Texas redistricting (courtesy thinkprogress.org)

In his (increasingly famous) interview with The New Republic, President Obama blamed Republican gerrymandering for preventing passage of popular legislation. In fact, during an exchange on gun control [transcript after the jump], the President hinted that he couldn’t get it done. “There are going to be a whole bunch of initiatives where I can get more than fifty percent support of the country, but I can’t get enough votes out of the House of Representatives to actually get something passed.” Here’s hoping . . .

Franklin Foer: Let’s talk about that in terms of guns. How do you speak to gun owners in a way that doesn’t make them feel as if you’re impinging upon their liberty?

President Obama: Well, in our comments today, I was very explicit about believing that the Second Amendment was important, that we respect the rights of responsible gun owners. In formulating our plans, Joe Biden met with a wide range of constituencies, including sportsmen and hunters.So much of the challenge that we have in our politics right now is that people feel as if the game here in Washington is completely detached from their day-to-day realities. And that’s not an unjustifiable view. So everything we do combines both a legislative strategy with a broad-based communications and outreach strategy to get people engaged and involved, so that it’s not Washington over here and the rest of America over there.

That does not mean that you don’t have some real big differences. The House Republican majority is made up mostly of members who are in sharply gerrymandered districts that are very safely Republican and may not feel compelled to pay attention to broad-based public opinion, because what they’re really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies.

There are going to be a whole bunch of initiatives where I can get more than fifty percent support of the country, but I can’t get enough votes out of the House of Representatives to actually get something passed.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

68 Responses to President Obama: Republican Gerrymandering Dooms Gun Control

  1. avatarWilliam says:

    Seeing as how we despise these very tactics when Democrats do it, this does give me an uneasy feeling. I will keep the uneasy feeling, and at the same time hope this puts some roadblocks in the tyrants’ pathway.

    • avatarCliff says:

      William, keep in mind that this is Obama’s OPINION that these districts are gerrymandered. And we all know what his opinion is worth, expecially when he’s talking about conservatives.

      • avatarMark N. says:

        Texas districts were infamously gerrymandered to guarantee a republican majority in a formerly democrat biased state by none other that Tom DeLay. Gerrymandering is a two-way street. Democrats do it too. But we are seeing a shift where urban areas are more and more Democrat and rural areas remain Republican. Is this the nature of urban areas, or of the changes in demographics in those cities? I haven’t a clue. Cakifornia is a prime example. The rural central valley is solidly reopublican, while the coast from SanDiego to San Francisco is massively Democrat. And the Democrats outnumber the Republicans 2-1.

        • avatarMike says:

          The data shows the districts are gerrymandered. Consider the 2012 election. 1 million more votes for Democratic congressional candidates than Republicans yet Republicans get 30+ more seats. Some GOP leaders have admitted that were it not for the 2010 census and the ability to change the districts then Republicans would have lost the house. They lost seats in the Senate (which are not gerrymandered).

  2. avatarbrian.z says:

    I guess I forgot the part where the opinion of the supposed majority mattered when it came to Civil Rights.

    • avatarMotoJB says:

      Yep, exactly.

      • avatarjwm says:

        Something that anti gun soccer moms, who’vwe had the vote for less than 100 years, and minorties who’ve had the vote for less time need to remember. Our civil rights and freedoms aren’t dependent on 51% of the voters.

        If that were true then any given election could set back the gains we’ve made in the last 100 years. My gun rights are everybit a civil right and just as protected as soccermoms right to vote.

        • avatarMike says:

          Really – how is having a proper background check infringing on your right to have a gun.
          Having a gun is not the same as voting, or not being a slave.

        • avatarMike D. says:

          “Having a gun is not the same as voting, or not being a slave.”

          Uh, according to the Constitution it is. None of the provisions in the various amendments are subordinate to any other.

    • avatarRad Man says:

      Aren’t reps supposed to be “really concerned about is the opinions of their specific Republican constituencies” rather than broad-based public opinion?

  3. avatar6 gunner says:

    Hold on, I’ve got the world’s smallest violin here somewhere…

  4. avatarborekfk says:

    Republican gerrymandering: Bad.
    Democrat gerrymandering: Good, and it’s for the children, and the sportsmen and hunters for which the 2nd Amendment was written for.

    • avatarRobert M says:

      Both sides play that Game. In MD at one time we have 4R and 4D then the State house ruled but the D Gerrymander it to 2R and 6D. Last year they Gerrymander even more and was able to turn it into 1R and 7D. If the Potus want to talk about Gerrymander reform how about we start with the East cost 1st.

      Thanks
      Robert

  5. Thanks to Democratic gerrymandering in Arizona we have more Dems than Reps in Congress, this from a state that is hard right and far more pro gun than wishy-washy states like TX.

    Works both ways.

    • avatarjuliesa says:

      We had the same situation in Texas until the Repubs finally won enough seats in the legislature to get rid of the Dem gerrymandering. No Democrat could win a statewide office, but our legislature was majority Democrat because of gerrymandering. Then the Dem legislators whined and fled the state when the Repub effort made the state legislature and the US rep delegation more representative of the state’s electorate.

      Y’all need to win control of the legislature and then immediately redistrict. You don’t have to wait for a census year.

      • AZ technically has an “independent redistricting commission”. In direct violation of the law the the head of the commission decided that it was their job to make districts competitive, (i.e. give the D’s more seats) instead of by regional commonality.

      • avatarnemsis says:

        Obama knows all about gerrymandering just look at how a few counties (Chicago / Crook) rule the whole state of Illinois .

    • avatarAzman says:

      Yup. Pisses me off as well.

  6. avatarChris says:

    I’m sorry, House GOP is beholden to their constituents is a problem? Who cares how the districts are made up? The House is completely proportional to the population. I’d say the % of Congressmen who won’t vote for any new gun control matches the national opinion.

    • avatarkarlb says:

      Not true. The Democrats had a couple million more votes for their House candidates than the Republicans did, but the Republicans control the House.

  7. avatarLemming says:

    If he’s sad now, wait until January 2015.

  8. avatarMr aNINNYmouse says:

    “including sportsmen and hunters” – see how he narrowed it down to just guys who like to eat wild duck and put holes in paper?….

  9. avatarimrambi says:

    He is blaming the House even though he doesn’t have the votes in the Democratically controlled Senate! Blame it on the House even before it gets out of the Senate. Yet another blame the Republicans.

    • avatarChuck Adams says:

      I agree. Let him talk once it passes the Senate. He knows he doesn’t have the votes. Hey Dirty Harry, bring this bill up for a vote this week, tomorrow. Let’s see how many Dems want to go on record.

      • avatarJim Scrummy says:

        Dirty Harry wants an R filibuster, so that zero can bash them and the Rs in the House in the STU speech.

  10. avatarWyndage says:

    Look at a map that breaks down the 2012 election by district. Obama wins the urban areas, but they’re surrounded by seas of red. Enough red to translate into a Republican majority in the House. Does gerrymandering help the GOP? Probably, but that can break both ways.

    Our founders were wise enough to form a government where a minority wasn’t at the mercy of a majority. The House members Obama is calling out are simply representing their constituents. This is as it should be. It shows the kind of statist Obama is when he objects to legislators from suburban and rural districts not supporting an urban agenda.

    Memo to White House: Most of America is still suburban or rural, and you do not represent their interests, particularly in regards to the Second Amendment.

  11. avatarDucky says:

    From his lips to God’s ears.

  12. avatarbrian says:

    Except that 60-70% of the country is against more gun control.

    F****** Math! HOW DOES IT WORK?

  13. avatarDaniel says:

    If you were to read a half dozen different polls, you will probably find that the country is closer to evenly divided than in favor of BO’s & JB’s ideas for gun control. One can tailor their poll to provide the answers they prefer, just by the way questions are worded. Our are politicians this poorly educated, or do they really think “we the people” are? A reinstatement of the Assault Weapon Ban & Magazine capacity will not have any measurable affect on firearms related death in the USA.

  14. avatarJoey says:

    Wait, Obama is surprised that he can get over 50% of polls in his favor,but not 50% of elected officials? Does this idiot have any idea how this government is meant to work? I’m embarassed.

  15. avatarSelousX says:

    To Obama: Waah F***ing waah!

  16. avatarJames1000 says:

    Seems he is taking a backhanded shot at his own party…in particular those in the Senate. Legislation is seemingly dead there as well. Still, we can’t let up. This man simply will not stop until he gets what he wants. Keep contacting your Congressman and Senators. Stay the course….

  17. avatarIn Memphis says:

    I maybe at work today but have no room in my Whaaambulance for people with superiority complexes.

  18. avatarRalph says:

    Poor little butthurt POS-POTUS. I feel so bad for him that I wanted to break down and laugh. But every clound has a silver lining — this is something else he can blame on George Bush.

  19. avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

    “In formulating our plans, Joe Biden met with a wide range of constituencies, including sportsmen and hunters.”

    You see what he did there? 1st he says they are open to all ideas. 2nd they meet with the NRA saying basically we don’t care what your ideas are, we’ve made up our minds. 3rd, he claims to have met with well, you can read above, and insinuate that they have taken into account our interests in an attempt to validate their position. And they wonder why politicians are held in such “high” regard.

    The next time a jackwad like this wants to meet with the NRA or GOA, the answer is sure, we’ll meet under a canopy in the desert 2 miles North of the Mexican border. You can tell us there that no one needs an AR15 or 30 round mags.

  20. avatarMike S says:

    Boo f***ing hoo.

  21. avatarBLAMMO says:

    Well then, you shouldn’t have pissed off the whole country with ObamaCare and maybe the Dems wouldn’t have gotten their asses waxed in the 2010 midterms. Elections have consequences, you fascist puke.

  22. avatarLance says:

    Obama mouth shoots poop out of it. The reason why the US House will not pass a AWB is because most americans dont want one its a violation of the 2A. Gun owner grassroots shows that we can and hopefully will win this Most gun owners like there AR-15s!

  23. avatardirk diggler says:

    So when the Dems control the congress and the presidency and then pass obamacare, which we got to read AFTER they passed it, this is “representative” govt at its finest. When members of congress actually respond to the people who elected them but it goes against His Majesty’s wishes, then this is gerrymandering?

    This clown wants us to live like it is the Running Man movie, where we watch tv all day long to forget how f**ked up everything is.

  24. avatarMike D. says:

    That is an unusually stupid comment from Obama. People send their elected representatives to Washington to represent their interests, not some “broad-based public opinion.” So, regardless of whether those representatives are Republican or Democrat, in gerrymandered districts or vulnerable ones… those Congressmen are there to represent their constituents, not folks halfway across the country. If my Congressman starts worrying more about the opinion of someone in Brooklyn than he does about mine, he’s in trouble.

  25. avatarBill says:

    All this immature fraud can do is spend the people’s money and whine like a little girl. What spoiled brats he and his wife are!

  26. avatarJohn Bergmann says:

    Isn’t the AWB dead because the senate can’t muster votes from DEMOCRATS? Never mind the house?
    Stupid.

    • avatarTroy Peterson says:

      Why yes John, you are absolutely right. There are dems that fear thier political future being lost to gun control as well, but an oblablama supporting media like the new republic would never reveal that.

  27. avatargam says:

    Once a bullshitter, always a bullshitter!!!

  28. avatarBecca Putman says:

    From the article: “In formulating our plans, Joe Biden met with a wide range of constituencies, including sportsmen and hunters.”

    But he didn’t talk to people like *me* who wish to be able to defend hearth and home and life and liberty. The news only talked about the gun control activists that he spoke with one day, and the NRA the next. That doesn’t cover all the ground, especially if he sticks his fingers in his ears shouting “LA LA LA LA LA”.

    • avatarSoccerchainsaw says:

      Exactly. I’m a mere life member of the NRA and even I know that there is more than one pro-2nd amendment group out there whose knowledge and experience might be beneficial on this topic. How many anti-2A groups did they meet with? Would they have been satisfied if Biden had only met with one of those groups?

  29. avatarGreg Camp says:

    Sportsmen and hunters, eh? So guns have no purpose in self defense or the defense of others? Will he call for the disarmament of the military, police, and Secret Service?

  30. avatarNazgul says:

    Oh jeez. Darn, that’s just too bad. That federal system of checks and balances sometimes gets in the way of progress.

  31. avatarStevenL says:

    Who needs guns when you have nuke firing tanks?

    Seriously though, considering other things Obama has said, it scares me that someone like that is in a position of power.

  32. avatarGS650G says:

    I guess having California in his back pocket along with most of New England isn’t enough for him.

  33. avatarDavid says:

    The Representatives are I dunno, REPRESENTING their constituents. This clearly indicates Obama’s view of the Union – one big state, rather than a number of States which are United as described in the Constitution.

  34. avatarNazgul says:

    The gun prohibition movement may not go at the federal level; however many states are under siege. New York has went over the cliff, while Connecticut, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Colorado are at the edge.

  35. avatarjoe says:

    Rhode Island was gerrymandered by the overwhelming majority of Democrats in the Statehouse and it resulted in the re-election of a gun grabbing degenerate piece of crap named David Cicilline over the former head of the state police,who was a decent candidate(although he seemed to support magazine limits).Anything that stymies Obama is a good thing.

  36. avatarJim Scrummy says:

    A few bits of RUMINT from some friends on the Hill, the Rs in House are holding “steady” against anything right now. My take is that the Rs are POed about the debt and budget stuff with zero, so nothing is going to see the light of day for a floor vote, no matter how much zero whines about it. Of course things can change. So stay vigilant.

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