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.