by Patrick Appel
Bouie takes the long view:
What’s important to remember is that most things in American politics are slow moving; even with a major, galvanizing event the pendulum won’t swing immediately in the other direction. It took more than a decade for “guns” to become an issue that cowed liberals and Democrats. Since 1994, when an activist position on gun control — remember the assault weapon ban? — helped cost Democrats the house, they began retreating from an issue that seemed like a political loser. After Al Gore’s gun position helped cost him New Hampshire, and with it the presidency, in 2000 and wedge cultural issues again benefitted Bush in 2004, Democrats became, pardon the pun, gun shy.
What we need to see with Sandy Hook and its aftermath isn’t whether it yields immediate legislation, but whether it helps build support for future political coalitions that actually have the power to secure new national gun laws.