Trump “Dances a Little Sidestep” On the Second Amendment

One issue that poses a problem for Donald Trump is his changing, and often contradictory, stances on the Second Amendment.

You may remember him coming out in support of Obama following the Sandy Hook shooting.

In case you’ve forgotten, Obama’s remarks included the following:

It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we’re all parents; that they’re all our children.

This is our first task — caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?

So far, so good(ish), and next comes the setup:

We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.

But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.

And then the hammer, a velvet one in this speech, but the meaning was clear to all who heard it:

In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

And in the coming weeks, he did just that . . . tossed aside the velvet hammer and went for the anvil: Obama pushed for gun control measures, none of which would have stopped Sandy Hook (or the San Bernardino or Orlando terrorist attacks).

We know very well where Obama stands on gun grabbing and the Second Amendment; however, it’s not as clear where Trump stands. On the one hand, he thinks that certain gun bans should be in place to prevent (somehow?!) terrorists from obtaining and using guns, and on the other hand, he states that had the victims in the Orlando venue been armed, they could have protected themselves.  He has walked that back now.  In a tweet.

ABC News reports:

Donald Trump has warmed to potentially changing gun laws to ensure that no one with even “an inclination toward terrorism” can legally purchase guns, while reiterating that the Orlando nightclub massacre might not have ended so tragically had clubgoers been armed.

“If in that club, you had some people, not a lot of people … but if you had somebody with a gun strapped on to their hip, somebody with a gun strapped on to their ankle and you had bullets going in the opposite direction, right at this animal who did this, you would have had a very, very different result,” Trump, who has called himself the protector of the Second Amendment, said Saturday at the Arizona State Fairgrounds.

Apparently, Trump’s view of gun control would include anyone on the terror watch list; a list that includes such infamous would be terrorists as Fox News contributors and little children.

ABC News continues:

Trump has warmed to some measures of gun control, telling ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl that he would be open to restricting individuals on a terror watch list from buying guns, a stance that puts him in direct opposition from many in his party and the National Rifle Association, which endorsed Trump in May.

“We have to make sure that people that are terrorists or have even an inclination toward terrorism cannot buy weapons, guns,” Trump told Karl in an interview to air Sunday on “This Week.”

If Obama said this, we’d—quite rightly—be outraged. Setting aside clear conflict with the Second Amendment . . . an “inclination toward terrorism”? What is that and how is it measured? And by whom? And on what authority is our Constitutional right to bear arms revoked because of some perceived “inclination”?

Given what we know about the government’s ideas of what a terrorist is (someone who supports the Tenth Amendment, the Constitution, and / or is pro-life or is a veteran of our armed forces, as but a few examples), this seems like a horrible idea. Even assuming that a President Trump would change all of this, do we really want to deprive American citizens of their Second Amendment rights based on a secretive list that is compiled somewhat randomly and with broad scope to ensure there’s no suggestion of discrimination?

And when did the government start knowing what people’s inclinations are? How would a President or his/her administration monitor every person’s “inclinations” and determine that they cannot own a gun based on those “inclinations”?

How does Trump reconcile the rights of the people and weigh in the Second Amendment against his belief that it is best to deprive citizens of their right to bear arms because they have the wrong “inclination” or appear on one of many government lists?

As one might expect from someone with Trump’s limited critical thinking skills:  It’s just easier to deprive anyone of their Second Amendment right to bear arms if, you know, they are on a list: “Asked by Karl if his position is that those on the no-fly or terror watch list should not be able to purchase a gun, Trump responded, ‘I’d like to see that, and I’d like to say it. And it’s simpler. It’s just simpler’.”

This is the same logic Trump applied to “closing the internet” before decrying as “foolish people” everyone who responded with “oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.”  Those pesky Constitutional Amendments throw a wrench into his childish worldview quite often.

It’s so much simpler to just deny gun ownership rights to a bunch of people who are tossed on a no-fly list for no apparent reason (including people like Weekly Standard columnist Stephen Hayes).

I say “no apparent reason,” but there are several ways one might be added to the no-fly list: one might be a terrorist or have terrorist ties, one might have traveled to a flagged country or region, one might have a name similar to that of a known terrorist, one might be added because someone somewhere made a “clerical error,” one might have no connection to terrorism but simply have outstanding warrants, one might have tweeted “controversial” statements on Twitter, and etc.

In other words, the no-fly list has morphed into a political tool much like an “enemies list” and into a law enforcement tool that far exceeds its original intent.

Preventing people who appear on these lists from buying guns may be “simpler,” but it is also problematic. Such slippery slopes that are enthusiastically traversed by the well-intentioned and the ill-intentioned alike require some forethought and consideration. The current government lists (no-fly, terrorist, selectee, someone insulted Obama or doesn’t like his policies) are arbitrary and random, with “clerical errors” abounding and common sense tossed to the winds. People are not notified when placed on such lists and may have no idea they are on one until they try to fly . . . or purchase a firearm.

Yet in practically the same breath that Trump calls for a “simple” blanket ban on anyone who turns up, often through no fault of their own and always with no due process and little recourse, on a no-fly or terrorist watch list, he also insists that an armed public is a sure means of thwarting or minimizing terrorist (or in the case of Sandy Hook, mentally-unstable) carnage.

Trying to make sense of Trump’s seemingly contradictory statements about our Second Amendment rights, I couldn’t help but think of the following hilarious bit from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas:

Trump’s both for gun control and against it. You know, if some data entry clerk gets a name wrong or something, you simply forfeit your Second Amendment rights; it’s the price you pay for safety: your Second Amendment rights are subsumed by the Greater Good and in the name of National Security.

Trump and Cruz Call Rubio Out on his Gang of Eight Amnesty Push

As the Republican presidential primary heats up, illegal immigration is again taking center stage.  While this is nothing new (as we know President Reagan attempted to address it in the ’80s, John McCain made it a priority in ’08, and on), the discussion has taken an interesting turn this election cycle.

At issue, of course, are Obama’s executive amnesty, the recent influx of illegal immigrants (including huge numbers of children), the vast number of illegals currently living and working in the U.S., border security (such as it is), and a host of related issues including the burden of illegal immigration on tax payers in terms of jobs, health care, schooling, police and judicial involvement, and various entitlement costs.

Marco Rubio’s involvement with the Gang of Eight, particularly his subservience to bipartisan efforts with Chuck Schumer, has not gone unnoticed by either the conservative base nor by the other presidential hopefuls.

When Rubio ran for the Senate in 2010, he was claimed to be an adamant opponent of amnesty, and only once elected did he jump at the chance to work on a massive “comprehensive” amnesty plan.  At the time, Professor Jacobson noted that Rubio was “played” by both Schumer and the GOP pro-amnesty McCain-Graham tag team (and he was right).

Since then, Rubio has tried to distance himself from his own choices (while raking in money from pro-amnesty supporters behind closed doors), but it’s worth noting that his mentor Jeb Bush probably played a role in decisions that Rubio now seems to regret.  For example, like Jeb, Rubio was very quick to distance himself from the TEA Party that was instrumental in electing him to his current seat in the Senate; this is not unlike Jeb’s negative assessment of the conservative base when he dismissed us as unnecessary to his presidential ambitions.

To me, it seems that Rubio’s amnesty lies are, er flip-flop is, more rooted in his being a campaign conservative who says one thing to get elected and does the opposite once in office.  That’s not a rare thing in American politics, so it’s somewhat amusing to me when Donald Trump now claims that Rubio’s support for amnesty is “because he’s Hispanic.”

Watch:

This seems to be an off-the-cuff remark and not his campaign’s message; he also does not reject the idea of Rubio as his VP running mate should he win the GOP nomination.  However, even if a comment made in passing, this seems a simplistic and somewhat specious argument.

Beyond the points made above, not only are the majority of GOP establishment (i.e. supporters of amnesty) white, but one of the staunchest opponents of amnesty is himself Hispanic.

Watch:

Ted Cruz has stated that he literally laughed out loud at Rubio’s bizarre claim that his position on illegal immigration is the same as Cruz’s.

Politico reports:

[Cruz] told reporters after, “In the “Gang of Eight” fight Marco chose to stand with Chuck Schumer and to lead the fight tooth and nail for a massive amnesty plan. I chose to stand with [Alabama Sen.] Jeff Sessions and to lead the fight to defeat amnesty.”

Cruz’s broadside was the latest in an escalating feud between the two senators that blew up in the wake of Tuesday’s fourth GOP debate, during which both had strong performances. Rubio over the past couple of days has tried to equate Cruz’s record on immigration which his own more relatively conciliatory one, while Cruz has pushed back hard on those efforts.

“I have to admit that I laughed out loud at that,” Cruz said earlier Friday on Mike Gallagher’s radio show, in response to Rubio’s assertion on Thursday that they held similar views on immigration reform. He went on to add, “that statement was truly stunning. That’s like Obama saying my position is the same as his on Obamacare. That’s like Ayatollah Khamenei saying my position is the same as his on the Iranian nuclear deal.”

Cruz, you may recall, led the fight against the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight amnesty bill.  Watch:

And the bill was stopped in its tracks.

Like Trump, Cruz has released his own illegal immigration plan summary in which he focuses on three key elements:  securing the border, restoring the rule of law, and reforming legal immigration to protect Americans.  See link for discussion of each point.

SECURE THE BORDER

A Cruz Administration’s first priority for immigration reform will be to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. We will:

  • Build a wall that works.
  • Triple the number of Border Patrol agents.
  • Increase vital aerial surveillance and other technology along the border.
  • Finish the biometric tracking system at our nation’s ports of entry.

RESTORE THE RULE OF LAW

We need a President who will follow the law, hold those who break it accountable, and take seriously the duty to protect Americans. To restore the Rule of Law, a Cruz Administration will:

  • End President Obama’s illegal amnesty.
  • Increase deportations and end catch-and-release.
  • End sanctuary policies, sign Kate’s Law, and deport criminal immigrants.
  • Prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving financial benefits and strengthen E-Verify.

REFORM LEGAL IMMIGRATION TO PROTECT AMERICANS

In order to strengthen our immigration system, protect national security, and better serve American workers, we must:

  • Suspend the issuance of all H-1B visas for 180 days to complete a comprehensive investigation and audit of pervasive allegations of abuse of the program.
  • Halt any increases in legal immigration so long as American unemployment remains unacceptably high.
  • Enforce the public-charge doctrine.
  • End birthright citizenship.

Cruz makes his point via Twitter:

The question facing Republican primary voters is: Has Rubio learned his lesson?  Perhaps an even more pertinent additional question is: Have we, as we watched Rubio go from TEA Party hero to GOP establishment zero, learned our lesson?

Trump? Really?

I didn’t get it in 2011, and I don’t get it now.  Why are normally rational, normally conservative people supporting Donald Trump?  Really.  I want to know.

He’s hit a nerve, I get that.  He played the same game last time around, only then it was Obama’s birth certificate, so he didn’t get as much play as he is getting with immigration.

He’s brash and outspoken.  So is Chris Christie.  So is that lady at Walmart who wants her dollar refund NOW!

He’s . . . well, I’ve run out of reasons that I can see that people are supporting him.  Oh, China.  Right, same playbook from when he wanted to run in ’88 or whenever . . . only then, it was Japan he was targeting as stealing from America.

It seems to me that people are simply plastering their own anger, dissatisfaction, frustration, hopes, dreams, and ideals onto Trump and imagining him to be other than he is.  To me, this is very familiar.  A bit too familiar in a rather alarming way.

Remember the last time we had an egomaniacal, thin-skinned control freak seeking the highest office in the land?  Remember how we warned that there were serious problems that were being either ignored or brushed aside?

Those comments about spreading the wealth . . . well, that’s not a red flag.

Those disturbing associations . . . well, that’s just guilt by association. Pfft!

Those worrying statements about bankrupting coal . . . well, he’s evolved.

Those bizarre statements about healing the planet and stopping the seas from rising . . . just rhetoric.

Nothing to see here.  Just vote, make history!  The blank slate cometh, paint him as you will!

And now, we see it all playing out again.

Trump did once support not just Democrats, but particularly vile, evil ones like Harry Reid over Sharon Angle, Nancy Pelosi–whom he claimed did a fabulous job on ObamaCare, Hillary Clinton–whom he claims is just “marvelous” and does a “great job.”

Well, sure, he has to support them to do business.  Um, or something.  Oh!  He thinks illegals commit violent crime!

Trump supports universal health care.  Yeah, but he also wants to repeal ObamaCare. Okay, but he wants the government in charge of every American’s health care; for all we know, he doesn’t think ObamaCare gives enough control to government (my guess). So? He thinks that we should all speak English in America!

He supports all abortion, including late-term abortion and thinks that Planned Parenthood should still be funded even after the appalling infanticide, baby mutilation, and baby parts-for-profit schemes.  Yeah, well.  He wants a border fence, so he can perform abortions in the White House for all I care!

He abuses government power in cruel and greedy ways that enriches (only) him and kicks little old ladies out of their family home.  So? Did you hear that he thinks we should send all the illegals back?? Did you?!  (Yeah, but I also heard the part where they can all come back again after touching “home plate.”)

Paul Krugman supports Trump’s economic policies.  Krugman, need I remind you, is a big government Keynesian.  So! Um . . . border fence!

He’s supported gun control, higher taxes (he loves the progressive tax system, thinks it’s not progressive enough), all entitlements (with more that he wants to see added, by the way), and he supports restrictions on the First Amendment to “respect” Islam.  Yeah, but . . . illegal immigration!

He’s mean-spirited, petty, and nasty in the face of any and all opposition (even when there is no actual opposition, just plain old questions that Carly answered with ease).  He’s a fighter!

One thing we know for sure:  Trump does not now and will never see himself as a public servant; Trump would be Trump.  The boss.  The king.  The final word on any and every thing.  He’d know best, and we’d better just believe it because . . . he said so!

Why, please please tell me why, Trump is resonating with conservatives.  I really really really don’t get it.

The Stupid Party Figures Out How to Maximize Trump’s Support

Just when you thought the GOP establishment couldn’t be any more condescending, elitist, and . . . well, repugnant, along comes George Will to prove you wrong.  Tin-eared, out-of-touch, and clearly suffering a memory lapse regarding the past two presidential and the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections, Will has penned a column that argues, in essence, that the GOP should “purge” the GOP not only of Trump but of his supporters, as well.

Will, writing at WaPo, explains:

When, however, Trump decided that his next acquisition would be not another casino but the Republican presidential nomination, he tactically and quickly underwent many conversions of convenience (concerning abortion, health care, funding Democrats, etc.). His makeover demonstrates that he is a counterfeit Republican and no conservative.

He is an affront to anyone devoted to the project William F. Buckley began six decades ago with the founding in 1955 of the National Review — making conservatism intellectually respectable and politically palatable. Buckley’s legacy is being betrayed by invertebrate conservatives now saying that although Trump “goes too far,” he has “tapped into something,” and therefore . . . .

Therefore what? This stance — if a semi-grovel can be dignified as a stance — is a recipe for deserved disaster. Remember, Henry Wallace and Strom Thurmond “tapped into” things.

We can argue about whether or not Trump is conservative (I have argued that he is not) and about Trump having tapped into something that is meaningful to a lot of people (this is clearly the case), but what is galling—and short-sighted—is Will putting out there, front and center, his cavalier attitude toward the people who support Trump.  This is the same attitude that may well keep Jeb! from winning the GOP nomination. Fingers crossed.

Unlike Ted Cruz who purposefully, and wisely, embraces Trump supporters, Will wonders who these star-struck hicks who would support such a clown could possibly be.  He just doesn’t get it.

Conservatives who flinch from forthrightly marginalizing Trump mistakenly fear alienating a substantial Republican cohort. But the assumption that today’s Trumpites are Republicans is unsubstantiated and implausible. Many are no doubt lightly attached to the political process, preferring entertainment to affiliation. They relish their candidate’s vituperation and share his aversion to facts. From what GOP faction might Trumpites come? The establishment? Social conservatives? Unlikely.

They certainly are not tea partyers, those earnest, issue-oriented, book-club organizing activists who are passionate about policy. Trump’s aversion to reality was displayed during the Cleveland debate when Chris Wallace asked him for “evidence” to support his claim that Mexico’s government is sending rapists and drug dealers to the United States. Trump, as usual, offered apoplexy as an argument.

What Will doesn’t seem to understand is that it doesn’t matter if Trump’s supporters are “Republican”; the ones on the right, conservatives, clearly intend to vote Republican . . . if there is a palatable nominee.  That nominee doesn’t have to be Trump, but it will have to be someone who is not, like Will and Jeb!, dismissive of and disdainful toward the conservative base.

Will concludes his piece calling for, and I’m not making this up, “excommunicating” Trump and his supporters from the GOP:

So, conservatives today should deal with Trump with the firmness Buckley dealt with the John Birch Society in 1962. The society was an extension of a loony businessman who said Dwight Eisenhower was “a dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy.” In a 5,000-word National Review “excoriation” (Buckley’s word), he excommunicated the society from the conservative movement.

Peter Whener, writing at Commentary, agrees, quite enthusiastically, with Will:

Fortunately there are conservative commentators who are doing just that [“excommunicating” Trump and his supporters], including Bill Bennett, David Brooks, Mona Charen, Charles C.W. Cooke, Michael Gerson, Jonah Goldberg, Victor Davis Hanson, Charles Krauthammer, Matt Lewis, Rich Lowry, Michael Medved, Paul Mirengoff, Dana Perino, John Podhoretz, Karl Rove, Jennifer Rubin, Kevin Williamson, regular contributors to this web site (among them Max Boot, Noah Rothman and Jonathan Tobin), editorial page writers for the Wall Street Journal and others.

These individuals, while differing on various matters, understand the difference between angry populism and conservatism. They don’t believe crudity is a conservative virtue. And they don’t want conservatism stained by an unprincipled interloper and cynical opportunist, which is what Mr. Trump is. (It’s been well documented that until a few years ago, Trump was a registered Democrat, a large financial contributor to leading liberal politicians, and held liberal positions on a wide range of issues.)

In that sense, this is a clarifying moment for conservatism. Those on the right who have become Trump defenders have, I think, made a serious error in judgment that is the result of a rather profound misunderstanding of conservatism (for more, see here). You can cherish and champion conservative principles, or you can support and praise Donald Trump. But you can’t do both.

Not being a fan of Trump, I can see the argument for not supporting him.  What I cannot see is the need to purge the GOP of anyone and everyone who does support him.  What will be left of the GOP if they start purging everyone with whom they disagree or those whom they feel are beneath them?

Writing at Townhall, Pat Buchanan sums it up perfectly:

For there is a plot afoot in The Washington Post Conservative Club to purge Trump from the Republican Party before the primaries begin.

“A political party has a right to … secure its borders,” asserts the Post’s George Will, “a duty to exclude interlopers.” Will wants The Donald “excommunicated” and locked out of all GOP debates until he kneels and takes a loyalty oath to the nominee.

“Marginalizing Trump” carries no risk of “alienating a substantial Republican cohort,” Will assures us, for these “Trumpites” are neither Republicans nor conservatives. Better off without such trash.

The Post’s Michael Gerson says “establishment Republicans” must “make clear that [Trump] has moved beyond the boundaries of serious and civil discourse.” He loathes the Trumpites as much as Will.

Trump’s followers are “xenophobic,” Gerson tells CNN. They have a “resentment of outsiders, of Mexico, of China, and immigrants. That’s more like a European right-wing party, a UKIP or a National Front in France. Republicans can’t incorporate that.”

But if the GOP has no room for Trump’s followers, it has no future. For there simply aren’t that many chamber-of-commerce and country-club Republicans.

The Last Gasp of the RAAAACISM Accusation?

Am I the only one who is thrilled to hear leftists playing the race card against Donald Trump?  It’s really just too good to be true . . . except it is true.  Yay!

Here’s the deal: For the past five or six years (beginning some time in 2006, when BO first started dipping his dainty tippy toes in the presidential pool), the left has repeatedly, consistently, and irrationally accused anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with or approve of BO of being a racist.  So much so, that it’s now virtually meaningless, an accusation that has been mocked on the internet: you RAAAAACIST! That’s RAAAAACISM!!

Yeah, whatever.

The fact that we disapproved of the same socialist policies under lily white Jimmy Carter is meaningless, the fact that American rejected HillaryCare (she’s white, too, btw) is meaningless, the fact that America has fought and hundreds of thousands of Americans have died fighting communism (what we’re really dealing with here, it’s beyond “simple” socialism at this point, and has serious elements of fascism) is meaningless.  Oh no, the lefties insist, you hate BO because he’s blaaaaaaack!  Admit it.  We know it.  Waaaah!

What the hell ever.

So now . . . now the fun begins in earnest.  They’re whipping out what they still (bizarrely) believe to be a useful accusation against Donald Trump.  He’s RAAAAACIST they scream in an oddly-synchronized chorus.  We hear it from Whoopi and Behar, from Schieffer, from random unknown leftists, and of course, from tax-payer-funded NPR.  They’re all saying it, in unison.  Oooh, they shriek, Trump mentioned basketball in relation to the first black president, and we alllllll know that basketball is associated with black people (we were informed of this a year ago by Norah O’Donnell, who was widely ridiculed for her attempts to make the exact samecoded RAAAACISM” charge on the exact same lack of evidence that is now being trumpeted–sorry, couldn’t resist–as “evidence” of Trump’s RAAAACISM).

This president actually does play a lot of basketball, he’s put a freaking basketball court in at the WH; the reality is that this president likes to play basketball, apparently more than he likes to do his actual job.  But the facts be damned, the synchronized chorus (doesn’t anyone find it . . . interesting that they’re all on the same page?) is singing damning refrains of RAAAAACIST and RAAAACISM!  And it’s . . . funny as hell.  Trump, of whom I do not (and will never) approve as a potential GOP presidential candidate, will destroy them on this issue (for goodness’ sake, he’s actually one of them, after all), and in doing so, will zap what little power remains in that accusation. 

This is much-needed, of course, because once that accusation is rendered utterly useless to everyone with a brain (it’s already totally useless to me and has been for some time), leftists will still use it.  They can’t help themselves.  But no one outside their tiny (and shrinking) echo chamber will listen.  This obviously has a downside in that real racism will “get a pass” as a result, but they, as usual, don’t think about consequences, intended or unintended.  It’s all about now, now, now.  Demands for instant gratification of the naive, immature, and needy are nothing new on the left; indeed, that’s their whole ideology in a nutshell. 

So I’m watching all this with no small measure of glee.  Will this mean, for once and for all, that the insane and baseless accusations of RAAAACISM against detractors of BO’s policies and agenda will be rendered moot?  I rather think so.

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