In his remarks last Thursday on the Charleston church massacre, President Barack Obama argued for the need for stronger gun control:
Any death of this sort is a tragedy, any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy. There is something particularly heartbreaking about death happening at a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace.
I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. Once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun. … We as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.
His comments predictably upset conservatives, some of whom argued that the real trouble was that there were not enough guns at the prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the historic black church where nine were slaughtered, allegedly by the neo-Confederate terrorist Dylann Roof.
Obama followed up with the tweets above, sent out yesterday evening. Of course, we’ve been through this pattern before — strong rhetoric from advocates for gun control in the wake of violent tragedies, but any efforts at legislation are doomed in Congress. A bill pushed after the Sandy Hook massacre to enhance background checks never made it off the Senate floor two years ago.
Obama also gave an attaboy yesterday to formal rival Mitt Romney:
Romney’s comments, as we noted yesterday, prompted questions to this year’s GOP presidential contenders. They responded with wishy-washy dodges. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, at least took a position; saying that it was up to the people of South Carolina, they didn’t call on the state to take it down but stated that they favored removing the flag. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, took no position, other than that it was a state issue. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham doesn’t really have the “it’s up to them!” dodge available; he said that the Confederate flag is “part of who we are.” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul declined to comment at all. (Hillary Clinton called for the flag’s removal some years ago.)
Here’s Rubio: “this is an issue that they should debate and work through and not have a bunch of outsiders coming in and telling them what to do about it.” Close your eyes and listen to that and you might forget what year it is. Rubio’s comments came during the Miami-Dade Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, honoring the president who crushed the Confederacy’s treasonous rebellion against the United States of America.
No word from Mike Huckabee yet, as far as I know. Seems like a perfect opportunity for “Good Huck.”
Dave Weigel of Bloomberg News points out that Romney was consistently trounced in GOP primaries in the South and was the first nominee ever to lose the South Carolina primary. There’s a reason many Republican candidates are being cautious and refusing to stand up to neo-Confederates: they are legitimately scared of offending the base voters in the South they depend on.