Voting to strengthen gun buyers background checks that might reduce the chance that a lunatic or person with a history of violence would be able to amass an arsenal seems like the absolute least we could do in response to the maimings and the massacres we suffer. Not to mention the handgun violence that plagues the poorest areas of our cities. Today, flanked by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords whose face tells you the story of her shooting, and flanked by parents of Newtown Connecticut whose children were shot in their first grade classrooms, President Obama spoke as angrily as I have ever heard a President speak about a political matter..Calling it a "shameful day in Washington" he bluntly accused the NRA or lying and (mostly) Republican Senators of cowardice. In response he called on citizens in "you are the change" mode:“Those who care deeply about preventing more and more gun violence will have to be as passionate, and as organized, and as vocal as those who blocked these common-sense steps to help keep our kids safe.”
As Andrew Sprung points out in a characteristically acute analysis of presidential rhetoric at xpostfactoid That is assuming that we collectively will what he wills us to will. Maybe it's that old Obama naivete again. Time will tell whether the appeal to our better angels is the deeper political wisdom."