By Johannes P.
Every once in a while, people who live and work inside the Washington D.C. Beltway forget that they’re not supposed to openly admit that their job consists of lying to the people they putatively serve. In a surprisingly honest (to a point) recent column in the Washington Post, Daniel “Danny” Franklin, a consultant who advises the White House on public opinion and communications, rhetorically asks why the Democrats’ legislative efforts to roll back civil rights after the Sandy Hook attack didn’t go as well as they’d hoped . . .
For progressives, there’s an easy answer — the money and lobbying clout of the National Rifle Association. This has an obvious appeal and even a modicum of truth. But as a Democratic strategist who looks at the relationship between public opinion and political reality, I fear that this answer has become a crutch: a comforting story progressives tell ourselves to avoid facing the fact that the country trusts the NRA more than us on this issue.
Is this a rare blast of common sense in an increasingly authoritarian left, you might ask?
No, not one bit. First of all, we don’t even know if Danny’s really a lefty. After all, he is just an intellectual mercenary who sells his “communication” skills to the highest bidder. I suppose we all have to put food on the table somehow.
Second, even though Danny stumbled over the truth in the opening of his column, he managed to stand up, brush himself off, and resume his normal course. Franklin admits that, “The political approach to gun control has only aggravated many Americans’ sense of helplessness. By connecting gun laws to high-profile tragedies, we remind people that current laws are failing to prevent those tragedies, undermining our own argument….” So instead, he suggests that Democrats try a different tack: a “public health approach”, which he believes would:
- “[a]void divisive efforts to pass laws that compel behavior and instead focus on persuading people of the inherent risks of guns by highlighting the more than 600 fatal gun accidents that occur each year”;
- provide “incentives for gun buyers to choose a weapon designed so it cannot be fired by anyone other than its owner. Positioned as a way to reduce accidents and thefts, this could appeal to responsible gun owners”; and
- focus on gun control “successes” i.e., that gun control led to the general reduction in crimes committed with firearms since 1993, as a means to generate support.
Well, there you have it folks. The strategy is no longer to say that they’re not going to take your guns away while they try to pass laws to take your guns away. Instead, Danny and his paymasters are going to try to convince you just how frighteningly dangerous guns are, to ‘incentivize you’ (at the point of a bayonet?) to buy unproven technology, and at the same time take credit for (non-existent) gun control successes. Clever new tactics, same old lies.
We all knew that this was the only course they had left, but it’s kind of refreshing to see them openly admit it, no?