Monday, October 05, 2015

No Politics Here

On Thursday, Ed Morrissey of the influential conservative Hot Air wrote

In the last 24 hours, we’ve seen Democrats screaming about the politicization of four Americans killed more than three years ago in a woefully unprotected consulate in the middle of a failed state created by the policies of a Democratic president and their leading presidential contender, and at almost the same time the leader of the Democratic Party demanding we politicize a shooting that just ended without bothering to wait for any facts at all.

Morrissey is appalled that Democrats would be critical because the second leading GOP member of the House and favorite to become the next Speaker told Sean Hannity "everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi Special Committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping.”

Mission accomplished.   Four months ago, Kevin Drum asked "How many metric tons of evidence does it take for them to admit that it was a tragedy but not an act of treason?"  We now know evidence was the last thing concerning the GOP, but it has succeeded in sowing considerable doubt about the Democratic presidential front-runner, whose favorability numbers have been tumbling.

Politics is what politicians do.  Responding to the mass shooting, Dr. Donald Trump, PsyD., who has examined Christoper Harper-Mercer three times fewer than three, explained  "absolutely a terrible day... it sounds like another mental health problem."

That was only GOP boilerplate, however, virtually a knee-jerk reaction until congressional Republicans can go back to threatening to shut down the government, blocking appropriations for, among other things, mental health centers.  By contrast, the response of John Ellis Bush was quite intriguing.  When he was asked to clarify his comment "Things happen all the time. Things. Is that better?" Bush remarked

Tragedies.  A child drowned in a pool and the impulse is to pass a law that puts fencing around pools. Well it may not change it. Or you have a car accident and the impulse is to pass a law that deals with that unique event. And the cumulative effect of this is, in some cases, you don’t solve the problem by passing the law, and you’re imposing on large numbers of people burdens that make it harder for our economy to grow, make it harder to protect liberty.

A swipe at regulation might have been a slick comment for a Republican primary, yet another nod to the Party's corporate wing by a candidate who was (initially) its favorite. But not for John Ellis Bush, for it turns out

as governor of Florida in 2000, the now-White House hopeful had signed a bill into law that imposed penalties for residents who did not add extra safeguards when installing pools.

"The new law requires Floridians who install pools or hot tubs after Sept. 30 to install one of four safety measures: fencing directly around the pool, safety covers, door alarms or self-latching doors. Failure to comply could carry a 60-day jail term or a $500 fine," the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported at the time.

The law was named the Preston de Ibern/McKenzie Merriam Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act. De Ibern hit his head and fell unconscious into a pool while Merriam drowned in her family's pool, the Sentinel reported. Both were young children.

What Carly Fiorina is to lying, John Ellis Bush may be to hypocrisy, although Fiorina's self-righteous dishonesty represents an exceedingly high bar.  For sheer pandering- firearm division, John Kasich is a formidable competitor. Informed in an interview of the incident in Oregon, the Ohio governor was asked "you have an 'F' rating from the NRA because you support gun control. How come we can't break this and find some change?"

He could have said "You have just told me about this horrible tragedy, so it wouldn't be right for me to comment" or "let's not rush into anything in haste and instead carefully consider the facts and arguments." But having failed to receive the "let's not say or do anything impulsive"memo from Morrissey and other conservatives, Kasich replied

I've always received an "A: rating since I've been governor because, look, one thing you can learn is you can strip all the guns away but the people who commit crimes or have problems are always going to have the guns. And I think more and more people are thinking "I'd like to protect myself."

Kasich forgot one of the golden rule of politics: don't let on that it's all about yourself when you can invoke "family" as in "And I think more and more people are thinking 'I'd like to protect my wife and children.'  But he was deft enough, as the video above indicates, to waste no more than 2.5 seconds to assert his pro-gun credentials.

President Obama has challenged news organizations to "tally up the number of Americans who've been killed through terrorist attacks in the last decade, and the number of Americans who've been killed by gun violence, and post those side by side on your news reports."  But the appeal gather information and to reason does not hold a candle to the pandering , disingenuousness, or ignorance required for a Republican presidential nomination.

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