The promise has an ominous sound. Provoking memories of the eerie music in “Jaws” when the shark circles the boat, Team Obama is revving up its campaign machine for the showdown over gun control.
“We’re going to take this fight to the halls of Congress,” Vice President Joe Biden warned. “We’re going to take it to the American people. We’re going to go around the country making our case.”
Do-do, do-do, thump-thump-thump-thump. America is gonna need a bigger boat to survive the onslaught of the permanent campaign.
Welcome to Obama 2.0, which is shaping up like a carbon copy of the first term, only without the velvet gloves hiding the brass knuckles.
“We have a remarkable opportunity right now to change our country,” Obama campaign boss Jim Messina said in an e-mail to supporters. “And if we can take the enthusiasm and passion that people showed throughout the campaign and channel it into the work ahead of us, we will be unstoppable.”
Do-do, do-do, thump-thump-thump-thump. Don’t go in the water!
The idea that campaigns settle things seems quaint in our hyper-politicized times. That is doubly so when, even before he takes the oath tomorrow, the president shows he has no intention of trying to heal the nation’s wounds or reconcile its divisions. He’s at war against half of his own country, and he must like it that way.
Assemble the adoring crowds, set up the teleprompters, go on the attack. Repeat.
It is an American tragedy that, with the nation’s first black president being sworn in on the holiday for Martin Luther King Jr., there is so little confidence in Obama’s leadership. A Wall Street Journal poll finds only 12 percent trust his ability to work with Congress.
There will be no holiday from his habit of treating Americans who don’t agree with him as enemies, as he proved when he rolled out his gun-control package.
“There will be pundits and politicians and special-interest lobbyists publicly warning of a tyrannical, all-out assault on liberty — not because that’s true, but because they want to gin up fear or higher ratings or revenue for themselves,” he claimed.
See, dissent is evidence of sinister motives. We’ve heard it before, during the fight over ObamaCare and the campaign on raising taxes. We will hear it on climate change and immigration.
Only the president is pure, above politics. So when he unleashes his campaign team to function as the spear tip of White House policy, The New York Times actually calls it “a grassroots effort.” Watch for TV ads like those that accused Mitt Romney of being a felon and causing cancer.
Messina will lead the group, which is changing its name from Obama for America to Organizing for Action. The new name carries the suggestion that it’s a throwback to Obama’s community-organizing days — except this one will be exempt from federal taxes and accept contributions from corporations, making it an excellent vehicle for quid pro quos.
The National Rifle Association is a ripe first enemy, but it won’t be the last. With more than 40 percent of households reporting gun ownership, Democrats in the Senate, starting with Majority Leader Harry Reid, are in no hurry to approve anti-gun legislation. It will be interesting to see which balky Dems defy the Obama machine.
The pity of the president’s hostile approach is that there is a budding consensus to take the “mass” out of mass murder. The Journal poll found 56 percent support for stricter laws on gun sales.
But by treating the subject as a campaign wedge issue, Obama risks alienating Republicans and conservatives who recognize that the Second Amendment, like all rights, is not absolute. Yet he refuses to do the hard work of forging a deal.
That’s because gun control isn’t really his aim. It’s just an excuse to get back into campaign mode and get out of Washington. After all, transforming the country is much more exciting than governing it.
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Michael Goodwin is a Fox News contributor and New York Post columnist.