The above line is from The American President, by the incomparable Aaron Sorkin, and I need to do no more opinionating. The following are simply quotes from today's article regarding the elapsed weapons ban:
Asked repeatedly whether Mr. Bush had made any calls to get Congress to act, [Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary] said that the president "does not set the legislative timetable" and that the "administration has a strong record of vigorously and strictly enforcing our laws, and stepping up prosecutions of crimes committed with guns."
Many Democrats believe they lost control of the House in 1994 in part because of gun control. In 1999 Mr. Gore cast a tie-breaking vote in the Senate on one hard-fought gun-control provision - background checks for people buying guns at gun shows and in pawnshops - and Democrats believe that his prominent role on the issue cost him votes among blue-collar union members, and perhaps even the election.
The assault-weapons ban, however, has support from large majorities of the public, particularly suburban women.
The wheels of deadly industry are already in motion:
US firemarms manufacturer ArmaLite Inc has been planning for several months for the expiration of the assault weapons ban today.
The company has been taking advance orders for military-style rifles, outlawed by the 10-year-old ban, for the past two months.
From tomorrow, ArmaLite plans to start making versions of its M-15 and AR-10 rifles, and variations, with magazines containing 20 or 30 rounds. Options will include collapsible stocks, and flash suppressors, which limits the flash to conceal the shooter's location.
Of course, that company sells to security firms and law enforcement agencies, so that makes it all right, right? Hm. Because we're pouring so much effort into domestic crime control right now. Right.
But how are the Americans taking it? BBC says we're split. St. Louis doesn't seem to like it. Illinois? Not thrilled. Pittsburgh expects business as usual. The op-ed articles number in the hundreds. People are angry, confused, elated, relieved, incensed, saddened, feverish.
Even Kerry went on a fiery blast against Bush about this (and none of this nonsense that Bush doesn't set the schedule - if anyone believes that he has no control over a simple thing like bringing an issue to vote, why on EARTH would you believe he has more facility over things like, you know, the armed forces, Iraq, terrorism, the economy and the environment?), and while I've no more belief in his genuine compassion for the troubles on the gun-ridden streets than I do Bush's ability to discern between right and convenient, at least he stood up and made some sense, talked about the situation and dealt out his opinion shamelessly.
And then we have our fearless leader.
Tonight, this was on my local newscast, verbatim, with video footage as proof (even featuring a burly woman stepping in front of the intrepid reporter who dared ask): "President Bush was asked why he didn't urge Congress to come to vote. He ignored the question [Bush shown chuckling and turning his back], and went back to the ice cream he was eating."
You have to love a country where this man is allowed to be president.