Monday, April 14, 2008

Digging Himself a Hole

The Politico lists twelve reasons why Sen. Obama's assertion that bitter Pennsylvanians are clinging to guns, religion, and bigotry to compensate for their dismal economic circumstances is going to be a considerable problem for him going into the last round of primaries. Some of the twelve are pretty insightful.

Hillary, of course, is trying to separate herself from what she alleges to be Obama's elitist views on gun control and faith, portraying herself as something of a pious Annie Oakley, according to the New York Times blog.

As with so many things Mrs. Clinton claims about herself, however, this portrayal is misleading. In 1999, for instance, she supported a number of gun control measures that would have raised the age limit for possessing a handgun to 21 from 18 while still allowing exemptions for hunting, employment and ranching; extended background checks to those who buy guns at gun shows, provided that the records are eventually expunged; banned juveniles who are convicted of violent felonies from ever owning a gun; make parents subject to prosecution if they recklessly or negligently allow a gun to fall into the hands of children who use it to commit a crime, and expanded the government's gun tracing program, underway in 35 cities, to 75 cities.

As it happens, each of these strikes me as a sensible proposal, but none were popular with many second amendment supporters, including the National Rifle Association. In fact, there's probably no significant difference between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama on guns or religion. The question is whether either is willing to say exactly what she/he believes about gun control and second amendment rights clearly and unambiguously in the states whose primaries will be held over the next forty five days. My guess is that neither will.


Giving the Rest a Bad Name

Justin sends along this story of how things are sometimes portrayed by the media. Fortunately, there are many fine people in journalism who hold themselves to high professional standards and do great work. Unfortunately, this story may sound a little too familiar to some who have dealt with the minority who don't:

A man is walking by the zoo when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage. Suddenly, the lion grabs her by the cuff of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to devour her right in front the little girl's screaming parents.

The man runs to the cage, hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch. Whimpering from the pain the lion jumps back, letting go of the girl, and the man brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him profusely.

A reporter has seen the whole episode and, addressing the man, says: "Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I've ever witnessed a man do in my whole life."

"It was nothing," said the man. "Really, the lion was behind bars, and I knew God would protect me just as He did Daniel in the lions' den long ago. I just saw this little kid in danger, and did what I felt was right."

"I noticed a Bible in your pocket." said the journalist.

"Yes, I was on my way to a Bible study" the man replies.

"Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist with the New York Times, you know, and tomorrow's paper will have this on the front page."

The following morning the man buys the Times to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads on the front page.....

"Right Wing Christian Fundamentalist Assaults African Immigrant and Steals His Lunch."

Notwithstanding what I wrote in the first paragraph about how most people in any profession have high standards, for some reason this story reminds me of the line that 99% of politicians give the rest a bad name.