On Wednesday, President Obama suffered the biggest defeat of his Presidency. In a bi-partisan vote, the Senate forcefully rejected an expansion of background checks for gun purchases. Obama had utilized every lever in his power, including his outside group Organizing for Action, to push the proposal. It fell far short of passage. It was an epic fail.
Politico, late Wednesday, tried to explain Obama’s failure. Rather than acknowledge the fact that most Americans don’t support infringing on 2nd Amendment rights, the news site peddled in legislative horse-trading gossip to explain the loss.
“Bribery isn’t what it once was,” an official with one of the major gun-control groups told Politico. “The government has no money. Once upon a time you would throw somebody a post office or a research facility in times like this. Frankly, there’s not a lot of leverage.”
Perhaps there is an upside to choking federal debt. Without the prospect of legislative bribery, lawmakers are left with considering legislation on its own merits. The inability to throw around federal appropriations means that lawmakers’ votes are decided by the issue itself, rather than what can be traded for it. It may be that our fiscal challenges are the greatest protector of our constitutional rights.