The majority of Americans look askance at officials who use gun-rights issues to arm their own political agenda, and Republicans particularly are critical of what they see. "Many elected officials have called for swift government action in response to the Newtown shooting," points out a Reason-Rupe survey, which reveals that 52 percent of respondents agreed that "elected officials are exploiting the tragedy for political reasons." Naturally, there's a partisan divide.
"Democrats differ sharply from independents and Republicans on the issue. Seventy-one percent of Republicans and 60 percent of independents think the tragedy is being politicized, while just 32 percent of Democrats believe so," says Reason analyst Emily Ekins.
The survey also asked this question: "If the federal ban on assault weapons were still in effect, do you think it would have helped avoid the Newtown shooting?" More than two-thirds said "no," while another 51 percent said that people should be allowed to own assault weapons.
Among respondents in the wide-ranging poll, 54 percent said there was not a firearm in their household, 49 percent said they were Democrats or leaned that way, and 37 percent were Republicans or Republican leaning. The poll of 1,000 adults was conducted Jan. 17 to 21.
THE RUBIO REVIEWS
For better or worse, the press continues to ponder Sen. Marco Rubio as he parses out productive immigration policy on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. Is the Florida Republican friend or foe to the GOP? Is he visionary or clueless?
"Anyone else noticing the love New York Senator Charles Schumer is showing for Marco Rubio? He's been calling Rubio courageous for pushing an immigration overhaul that many in his party's base despise. Wednesday morning he likened Rubio's appearance on conservative talk shows to 'Daniel in the lion's den,'" points out S.V. Date, author of a biography on Jeb Bush and a National Public Radio contributor.
"I love and respect Marco. I think he's just amazingly naive on this issue. This is the same formula we've seen before. Promises of enforcement never materialize, and the amnesty happens immediately," Sen. David Vitter told talk radio host Laura Ingraham. "As soon as you give illegal immigrants legal status, they are here legally forever, and probably they're citizens not that long after. If Marco thinks that's not going happen, I think he's nuts."
"I don't like Marco Rubio's plan. There. I said it," notes RedState.com founder Erick Erickson, who says Mr. Rubio's immigration plan is "warmed over McCain-Kennedy," while warning, "This is just another policy debate the Democrats can use to get the GOP to fight itself."
And from a National Review editorial: "Given the growing size of the Hispanic vote, it would help Republicans significantly to lose it by smaller margins than they have recently. But the idea that an amnesty is going to put Latinos squarely in the GOP tent is a fantasy."
WHAT THEY DIDN'T COVER
The press eagerly covered Big Bird, the fictional Republican war on women and Mitt Romney gaffes galore — but conveniently left out all the naughty bits on the flagging U.S. economy, the "Fast and Furious" gun-running scandal and dubious foreign policy. Ah yes, it's the mainstream news media at work, a friend to the White House, and an effective friend at that.
Brand new from Regnery Publishing, it's "Spin Masters: How the Media Ignored the Real News and Helped Reelect Barack Obama," by David Freddoso, editorial page editor for The Washington Examiner, who deems it all a "great slobbering love affair," and cites dozens of examples.
"The biggest story of the election was how the media ignored the biggest story of the election," Mr. Freddoso notes.
The question came to White House spokesman Jay Carney from the Intermountain Christian News on Wednesday:
"The Christian churches in our nation are concerned about the moral decline in our nation and how faith and religious liberty issues and life are crucial, from the Declaration of Independence, and how that they would believe that our rights come from Jesus, not men. How would the administration respond to that?"
The answer from Mr. Carney: "Well, I'm not sure that I have an administration response. I would tell you that the president, as a man of faith, believes very deeply in the importance that it plays in his life and understands clearly the importance it plays in the lives of so many millions of Americans."
"We need to do away with the practice of using dedicated funds and specific fees for anything other than the purpose for which they were intended.
"If we don't need taxpayer money for that purpose, let's not collect it at all. We've never bought into the notion that if you collect more, you need to spend more. Today, I'm calling for a mechanism to be put in place so when we do bring in more than we need, we'll have the option of returning tax money directly to the people who paid it. Currently, that's not something our constitution allows. We need to fix that."
(Texas Gov. Rick Perry in his State of the State speech, asking the Texas Legislature to provide at least $1.8 billion in tax relief and pass an amendment to allow the state to give money directly back to taxpayers.)
POLL DU JOUR
• 60 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of President Obama.
• 19 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of conservatives, 92 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of liberals agree.
• 37 percent of Americans overall have an unfavorable impression of Mr. Obama.
• 80 percent of Republicans, 64 percent of conservatives, 7 percent of Democrats and 10 percent of liberals agree.
• 55 percent of Americans approved of George W. Bush at the start of his second term in 2005.
• 65 percent approved of Bill Clinton at the start of his second term (1997); 72 percent approved of Ronald Reagan at the start of his second term (1985).
Source: An ABC News/Washington Post poll of 1,022 U.S. adults conducted Jan. 23 to 27.
• Squabbles, babble and grumbling to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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