Assault Weapons Ban Update

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Ah, the political winds blow fickle between the election cycles....

Her Highness Nancy Pelosi was the first one to play party pooper with the Obama administration's sudden announcement that they wanted to revisit the Clinton AWB:

Attorney General Eric Holder raised the prospect Wednesday that the administration would push to bring back the ban. But Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that he never talked to her. The Speaker gave a flat “no” when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.

“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “I think it's clear the Bush administration didn’t do that.”

The esteemed Senate Majority Leader Harry "We've Lost" Reid soon joined in:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will join Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in opposing any effort to revive the 1994 assault weapons ban, putting them on the opposite side of the Obama administration.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley said the Nevada Democrat will preserve his traditional pro-gun rights voting record.

"Senator Reid would oppose an effort (to) reinstate the ban if the Senate were to vote on it in the future," Manley told The Hill in an e-mail late Thursday night.

Why the lack of support for a traditional leftist issue? It's simple, really: the entire House of Representatives comes up for election again in November of 2010, and 36 Senate seats also go up for election that year. The balance in the House is 254 Dem/178 Repub (with 3 vacant seats sure to be filled by Dems) and in the Senate of the 36 slated for reelection, 19 are Repub and 17 are Dem. After the last ban passed in '94, more than a few Democratic Representatives were targeted by the NRA and other pro-gun groups, and lost reelection. In 2004, when the original AWB sunsetted and was brought up for renewal, the Democrats in Congress knew it was a losing issue, and treated it accordingly.

Toss one more rough economic year on top of things, and every Democrat in Congress with an election coming up in 2010 is probably going to be scrambling for reelection as it is, without the added pressure of the NRA bearing down on top of them over a piece of legislation that has very little upside, only a ton of downside.

One is left to wonder why President Obama would send AG Eric Holder out to basically sign a bunch of Congressmen up for political suicide without even consulting them first? Is the administration going to make a habit of floating ideas out in the press to measure reaction, all the while without consulting its own allies in Congress beforehand? I must have skipped that chapter in How To Make Friends and Influence People.

While I do not for a moment believe the issue is dead, hopefully the past two days has been a lesson to President Obama et al that there are limits even within his own party to how much liberal rhetoric he can float out there without repercussions.

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