Democrats' New Litmus Issue?

One of the clearest signs of how the gun issue has been transformed since the massacre in Newtown is that two probable Democratic presidential candidates in 2016, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, have come out in the past few days with proposals for significant restrictions on guns, something that just a short time ago many in the party would have considered the height of political foolishness. And only two days into its 2013 session, the state legislature in New York has already passed a measure banning certain military-style guns and ammunition clips with over seven rounds, expanding registration requirements, and requiring background checks for anyone buying ammunition and for private gun sales. 

While there's no way to know what the political landscape will look like three years from now, at the moment it seems possible that support for strong gun control (or "gun safety" or "gun-violence prevention," if you prefer) measures could become a requirement for serious consideration from Democratic presidential primary voters, just as support for full marriage equality has. (And not coincidentally, both Cuomo and O'Malley successfully pushed for marriage equality in their states.) 

Does this mean the Democratic party is moving to the left? Well, that depends on how you define "left." But it's certainly progress.

So They Say

"We're going to have a lot of painful discussions. The autopsy will continue, and all of that should be acceptable. We have some rebuilding to do. We shouldn't be sensitive. We shouldn't shy away from pointing out our deficiencies."

Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on the post-2012 slog facing his party

Daily Meme: Executive Orders 101

  • As you might have heard, President Obama is mulling over 19 executive orders recommended by the Biden-headed gun-control commission. As you might have imagined, conservatives are not amused.
  • Representative Steve Stockman of Texas is threatening to impeach Obama for going beyond his constitutional powers and breaching the Second Amendment and all.
  • Radio ranter Mark Levin agrees: "Now, if Obama unilaterally acts—and I think there’s a fan-dance going on here where his spokes-idiot [Jay] Carney is out there saying, ‘No, we’ve decided we’re not going to do this’— if Obama, though, plays the role of Hamlet and in the end says 'I have no choice' ... he should be impeached."
  • Because, as Rush Limbaugh informs "you in the low-information community," using the executive order in this fashion is, like, totally against the rules
  • Except it's definitely not. A fair few executive orders have been signed in our country's lifetime of the exact sort Obama is contemplating.
  • Even presidents well within our current historical memory—like Bill Clinton and George W. Bush—are members of the gun-control executive-order club, making this whole freak-out look quite ridiculous. And yet, on it goes...
  • Obama is basically Stalin and Hitler, COMBINED, if we're reading Drudge correctly.
  • Ann Coulter's solution to this affront to everything good Americans hold holy? “[I] think we should respond with the next Republican president having executive orders [that say] we won’t ban abortions, but we will just ban abortionists and abortion clinics. How would that be?"

What We're Writing

  • By not playing nice on the debt ceiling, Republicans are creating their own worst nightmare, writes Jamelle Bouie. 

  • E.J. Graff asks: Who cares if Jodie Foster came out at the Golden Globes?

What We're Reading

  • Whither investigative journalism, fake news show dares to ask.
  • Will Democrats from rural states hurt gun-control legislation?
  • Tim Murphy interviews an author who says, yup, we're a nation of deadbeats.
  • Jeffrey Toobin wonders how far Obama's support will reach once gay marriage hits the big court. 
  • Conor Friedersdorf reports on Senator Ron Wyden's efforts to uncover all he's entitled to know about drone strikes as a member of the Intelligence Oversight Committee. Team Obama is not making it easy.
  • Alex Pareene pokes at the latest centrist cause to not appeal to anyone: No Labels
  • Florida Governor Rick Scott hates puppies. 

Poll of the Day

Democrats have a solid advantage headed into the 2014 House elections, according to a new Rasmussen poll. The national survey of likely voters has Democrats up 43-37 percent against Republicans on a generic congressional ballot. While that might give Democrats hope to once again see Nancy Pelosi holding the speaker's gavel, the reality of gerrymandered districts means Democrats would need to win the national vote by 7 percent under the current congressional maps

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