Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled overturned the District of Columbia’s handgun ban. Conservatives across the blogosphere have applauded the ruling and excoriated Barack Obama for making up his mind as he goes.
Over at my former employer, the AmSpec Blog, John Tabin celebrated the District of Columbia v. Heller ruling as “a victory for gun rights.” Reporter Philip Klein exposed presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama’s double-talk on the issue, juxtaposing a YouTube video voicing Obama’s support for the D.C. handgun ban with his Heller-supportive press release today, which read, in part (credit: Mark Ambinder’s blog at The Atlantic):
“Today’s decision reinforces that if we act responsibly, we can both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and keep our communities and our children safe.”
Which, for those of you keeping score at home, is and has been the conservative argument for individual gun ownership. This is an argument that Obama found unconvincing as recently as February.
Meanwhile, Jim Geraghty of National Review‘s Campaign Spot blog asked: “how can you claim “I have always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms” when you steered $15 million to the self-described “most aggressive group in the gun control movement” that published a book entitled, Every Handgun is Aimed at You: The Case for Banning Handguns ?”
Those types of questions, on this issue and others — Israel, anyone — will haunt Obama between now and November. If there’s one thing that makes me discount Obama’s money advantage and the mass movement he’s put together, it is, as George H.W. Bush might say, the ‘believability’ thing, and the question of whether he is who he says he is, and whether he says what he believes and vice versa.
What will hurt Obama more in the long run? Being on the wrong side of the 2nd Amendment, or trying to pretend he wasn’t? I tend to believe the latter. Indeed, Obama’s sudden shift in position brings to mind John Kerry’s “I supported the [Iraq] War before I opposed it” argument from the 2004 Election, which was used as Exhibit A in painting Kerry as a flip-flopper.
Know this: the GOP attack machinery has not yet begun to fight, and Obama is being fitted for flip-flops as we speak. With YouTube and the conservative blogosphere there to hold Obama to account in ways the mainstream media might not — especially with the recent passing of Tim Russert — there will be consequences for Obama’s “inartful” misspeaks between now and November.