Gosh, things are starting to get a little uncomfortable in the Senate these days. The senior harridan from California went to all the trouble to draw up a new, more restrictive “assault weapons” ban, but can’t manage to round up enough members of her own party to get even close to passage. So Harry Reid, recognizing the uncompromising tyranny of mathematics, yanked the AWB from the larger gun control bill so that it won’t kill the chances of the remaining, less off-putting items on the gun-controllers’ to-do list; namely universal background checks and anti-gun trafficking measures. But while DiFi isn’t happy her baby is mostly dead, she’s been promised a vote on adding her common sense gun ban back to the big bill as an amendment once it reaches the Senate floor. Which is exactly what some of her colleagues in the majority fear most . . .
An up or down vote on the AWB amendment will inconveniently put a clear spotlight on each member’s gun rights bona fides. In other words, they won’t be able to tell the folks back home, ‘Gee, I’m a gun owner and support the Second Amendment, but closing the gun show loophole is just too important, so I had to vote for the overall package.’
With a clear binary option, as thehill.com reports, red state and vulnerable Dems will be in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t position:
Democrats facing tough reelection races will either attract the ire of the National Rifle Association or prominent gun control activists such as New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I). A vote against the ban could spark primary challenges that could weaken Democrats in the general election.
It’s one thing to throw in your lot with the civilian disarmament caucus and stump for a gun grab when you represent a safely blue state like California, New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts. It’s another kettle of fish if you’re a “moderate” Dem representing a toss-up or right-leaning state. In those cases, a bright line vote in favor outlawing your constituents’ ARs could be detrimental to your reelection prospects. Particularly if your term is up in 2014.
Even Democrats who reliably vote with their leadership, such as Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Tim Kaine (Va.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), on Wednesday said they were not certain they would support the assault weapons ban. Warner faces reelection in 2014. Kaine, who formerly headed the Democratic National Committee, was on Obama’s short list to be his running mate in 2008.
Bummer. But Feinstein intends to hold her pal Harry to his promise. She laid out her thinking for CNN via realclearpolitics.com:
This is very important to me and I’m not going to lay down and play dead. I think the American people have said in every single public poll that they support this kind of legislation. It’s aimed to protect children, to protect schools and malls. It’s aimed to dry up the supply of these over time. And it came out on a 10-8 vote of the Judiciary Committee. Not to give me a vote on this would be a major betrayal of trust.
So when Feinstein offers up the AWB amendment to the gun control bill on the floor, she’ll be putting some of her more vulnerable fellow Dems in a mighty tight spot. A vote for the ban would only further enflame their already highly PO’d RKBA constituents. The ones who aren’t likely to forget before election day what the blue bunch has tried to do their gun rights. Then again, the Gun Control Industrial Complex won’t be very understanding of a ‘no’ vote either, no matter how precarious their home state electoral position may be.
“People are not going to say, ‘That’s a tough vote for them, let’s not do anything,’ ” said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “There is a feeling that to win this thing we need all the Democrats. That means people who are in tough races in 2014 don’t get passes. I would expect issue ads and advocacy for all senators.”
Rock meets hard place. Brought to you by the senior senator from the great state of California.