April 14, 2003

FISKING GLENN REYNOLDS

FISKING GLENN REYNOLDS: Well, not really, but this is pretty silly:

IS PRESIDENT BUSH GOING TO ENDORSE EXTENDING THE ASSAULT WEAPON BAN? That's what this story says.

Sounds like a good way to be a one-termer, to me.

I think Glenn is confusing policy and politics here. The assault weapon ban is stupid; it subverts federalist principles; it applies to weapons based on arbitrary cosmetic characteristics, rather than any particular utility in "assault." But that doesn't make it a political loser.

Would extending the assault weapon ban really make gun people stay home? (I'm not even going to pretend they'll vote Democratic; even the relatively pro-gun Howard Dean supports the ban.) Wouldn't not extending it energize the liberal base and risk putting off suburban independents in key states?

Former Campaigns & Elections contributor Dave Weigel is my go-to guy on politics, so I asked him about this. He responded:

Bush needs to shore up PA, MI, FL, and a few other swing states. To analyze the effect of this policy one would need to see how it tests in those states. Basically, if Bush wins PA in 2004, he wins a second term. I think being painted as pro-assault weapon would be a liablity there.
I think Glenn has fallen for the "I am the world" logical fallacy: "If Bush is weak on my personal wedge issue, why would anyone vote for him?"

Most people aren't law professors specializing in Second Amendment rights, Glenn.

Posted by John Tabin at April 14, 2003 03:34 PM
Comments