"Meaningful Action, Regardless of the Politics"

Weigel
Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 14 2012 3:44 PM

"Meaningful Action, Regardless of the Politics"

If you missed it -- and I'm not sure anyone misssed it -- this was the only hint of policy in President Obama's reaction to Newtown.

As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it is an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago, these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.

What is "meaningful action"? Obama has explained this before: He wants a new assault weapons ban. My colleague Allison Benedikt is among those who wanted more from Obama, but that's not how this works. To use two examples without conflating the scales of the tragedies: LBJ didn't call for the Civil Rights Act on November 22, 1963, and George W. Bush didn't ask for any military response on 9/11. Day one is when you tell people whether you're going to pick up the cards. Showing those cards, that comes later.

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Sen. Frank Lautenberg is one of the remaining liberal Democrats who can be counted on to introduce gun legislation. This was his response to Newtown, which came after the president's. (Congress is out today, which has allowed members to trickle out their statements.)

This is a day of great sadness in America, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families. This latest shooting tragedy is an unthinkable act of violence carried out against young children and innocent people.  Americans are sick and tired of these attacks on our children and neighbors and they are sick and tired of nothing being done in Washington to stop the bloodshed. If we do not take action to address gun violence, shooting tragedies like this will continue. As President Obama said, we must act now "regardless of the politics."

Sublety, not a reminder of his own doomed bill.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

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