Dave Weigel attended the recent NRA convention and notes how the reality that gun rights advocates have won the legal and political battles — when was the last time you saw a serious effort at gun control in Congress? — has done nothing to diminish their constant paranoid rhetoric that government seizure of guns is always lurking just around the next corner:
But the total defeat and withdrawal of Democrats on guns has affected NRA rhetoric not at all. Before Mitt Romney spoke to the NRA’s conference in St. Louis, both of the organization’s honchos, Chris Cox and Wayne LaPierre, promised the audience that a re-elected President Obama would reveal his true anti-gun agenda. Victory in November would mean a “pro-Second Amendment” Congress, said Cox — as if the current arrangement of Congress can or would do anything anti-gun.
The Democrats have, as Weigel noted, completely backed away from gun control. The issue, for all practical purposes, does not exist. And the Supreme Court has now tied the hands of Congress with its ruling in the DC case (and rightly so, by the way — the court got it right, in my view). Gun rights advocates — and I agree with them that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to own guns — have won, but they talk as though there’s still a battle going on.
And this fits a larger pattern. In every case where reality undercuts the validity of their arguments, they simply continue to make the same argument, all the louder and more stridently in fact. President Obama has essentially continued every wrongheaded and illegal aspect of Bush’s war on terrorism and has continued the same neo-conservative foreign policy as well. That has done nothing to diminish the claim that he has virtually surrendered to Islamic terrorists and has made America “weak” and emboldened our enemies. The killing of Bin Laden and the capture of dozens of Al Qaeda leaders, the expansion of the war in Afghanistan, the bombing of Libya, the continued use of the State Secrets Privilege, the killing of Al-Awlaki — none of those things have even registered a blip on the right. All evidence to the contrary is simply filtered out and the same old rhetoric of “appeasement” has continued unabated. They are simply immune to reality.