The Manchin-Toomey amendment failed in the U.S. Senate on April 17th, 2013, with a vote of 54 yeas and 46 nays. The Commander in Chief subsequently gathered the bill’s supporters and summoned the media to the Rose Garden for a vicious tongue-lashing. With a crying Vice President in tow, President Obama blasted the bill’s opponents as anti-democratic obstructionists and excoriated the 60-vote rule as ‘an abuse of procedure’ which must be abolished for the sake of all that we hold sacred. But you probably didn’t hear that a pro-gun bill failed in the U.S. Senate yesterday, drawing 56 yeas and 43 nays. Where is the President’s wrath now? Whither Joe Biden’s bitter tears? . . .
Senator Tom Coburn’s bill would have eliminated restrictions on firearms possession and use on the 12 million acres of land administered by the U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers. It got more support than any of the gun control bills that died so spectacularly on April 17th. Eleven Democrats crossed the aisle to vote for it. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey both voted for it. But it didn’t get 60 votes it needed, so it failed. Them’s the rules.
The United States Senate is a mysterious place, where decorum and tradition (not just partisanship) are engineered to prevent hasty action and restrain the tyranny of the majority. Sometimes the 60-vote rule is a Godsend and sometimes it’s a pain in the ass, depending on what you think of the bills under consideration.
But after President Obama’s unseemly Rose Garden foot-stomping, any semblance of intellectual honesty would require that he speak up in favor of this bill also. After all, it was only blocked by “Senate obstructionists” who “abused Senate procedures” to thwart the will of the people.
But he only gets pissed when it’s his will that’s thwarted, and his agenda derailed. Did anyone expect otherwise?