Friday, January 18, 2013

Hurricanes, Massacres, and Other Conservative-Converting Disasters

18 January 2013

Time Magazine’s Recent cover feature about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie once again reminds us of the key limitation of the American Conservative’s political views. Until the American Conservative experiences a need or disaster first- or second-hand, he doesn’t believe that it exists.

In the Christie case, the Governor’s embrace of Democratic President Obama and the Federal Government’s FEMA services made a big-spending Liberal out of this candid, big-hearted guy.

From the Perspective of the American political Center, we are of course familiar with this tendency: if all it takes to turn an American Liberal into a Conservative is a single case of being wrongfully sued, all it takes to turn an American Conservative the opposite direction is one first-rate disaster. 

For superlative example, why do so many elderly, otherwise-Conservative Americans support Medicare and Social Security? Because they know first-hand how essential this social “safety net” is to keeping them on solid ground. 

Our Favorite Big-Hearted Cynic, columnist Dana Milbank of The Washington Post, takes to task both sides of the current assault-rifle-control controversy—the National Rifle Association and the President—for their use of kids in the discussion. 

The National Rifle Association [NRA] has come out big, as we all know by now, with its questionable-taste ad, holding President Obama responsible for the armed-guard protection that his two daughters get at their private school. But Mr. Milbank also accuses the President himself of using children as props, in his address seeking to garner public support for his various proposals for bringing down body counts when it comes to mass murder in America. To this point, Mr. Milbank writes:
“There’s an argument to be made that the horrific nature of the carnage justifies reminding the public that children are vulnerable, but partisans on each side will only dig in deeper if they perceive that the other side is using kids as props.”†

If It Takes a Disaster to turn an ideologically constrained Conservative into a Moderate American— reasonable-enough to realize that the Federal Government plays an essential role in modern American life—then it makes sense for Barack Obama to show what an innocent child—at risk of assault-rifle attack at school or movie theater or mall—looks like, while as President, he speaks to the American people in this disturbing debate.

Does Either Side, Left or Right, have any substantive answers to the epidemic of mass murder in America? Well, maybe yes, and maybe no. Vice-President Joe Biden, at the behest of the President, recently sounded out a lot of different sides about this issue. The President, surrounded by his innocent-kid props, put forth his findings from the Vice-President’s efforts. The NRA fired back. While some of us debate the regulation of gun-ownership and the use of kids as political props, every one of us awaits to learn the news of the next mass murder.

(($; -)}  

P.S.: To put a nice wrap around this, Governor Christie has now spoken out against the NRA ad, as CNN reports here: TRENDING: Chris Christie Rails Against NRA, Calls Ad ‘Reprehensible’

*See the NRA’s ad here: When His Kids Are Protected by Armed...
† Read Dana Milbank’s Washington Post essay here: The Gun Debate Is Nothing to Kid About


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