The mainstream media has already started what may become several weeks of framing President Barack Obama’s legacy, and a report last night from the Washington Examiner touching on his inability to push gun control may translate to a victory for Second Amendment advocates.
According to the Examiner’s report, Obama told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria, “If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws.”
Bob Owens at BearingArms.com picked up on the Washington Examiner’s story and offered his own perspective.
In the Second Amendment community, Obama’s “legacy” will include the Operation Fast and Furious scandal that left his attorney general held in contempt of Congress, and a body count in Mexico that will continue long after the president leaves office.
It must also include Obama’s demonization of modern sporting rifles and his failed attempt to pass so-called “universal background check” legislation that many see as back door gun registration. His appointment of two anti-gun justices to the Supreme Court – Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan – raised alarms that a third appointment would shift the balance on the high court, thus threatening further strengthening of the Second Amendment that came with the 2008 Heller and 2010 McDonald rulings.
Where Obama appears to have lost, gun rights advocacy groups won. Most importantly, the election of Donald Trump over Hillary Rodham Clinton may assure the continued Supreme Court balance, or make it even more oriented toward strict constitutional interpretations. If so, that will open the door wider to court challenges of onerous gun laws by the Second Amendment Foundation, National Rifle Association and others.
Instead of the Republican party being on the ropes, as pundits had been predicting with near-drooling anticipation, it is now the Democrats who look haggard. They may be forced to acknowledge, as they did after the GOP congressional rout in November 1994, that it is politically toxic to declare war on gun owners and their rights, as Clinton did as part of her campaign.
Perhaps Obama’s true legacy may be that he set a bad example for Democrats to avoid following. A political party that wishes to remain relevant cannot be led by extremists bent on erasing part of the Bill of Rights. A president that hopes to have a legacy can’t spend his political capital trying to hold gun owners accountable for crimes they didn’t commit and problems they didn’t create.
Obama may not leave a legacy in his wake so much as lessons.