Friday, May 09, 2003

Assault Weapons: TNR's &c blog says that Bush's stand on renewing the assault weapons ban (which the NYT called "a bold political calculation") is actually a "political no-brainer." They're close, but still not quite right. As TNR notes, only a small minority favor letting the ban expire, and even fewer guide their voting on the issue. Remember the 2001 flap about the NRA's Wayne LaPierre dictating gun policy out of an office in the West Wing. This is a safe way to demonstrate some independence. Is it pretty much meaningless, since it only maintains the status quo? Yep, and Bush and Rove are no doubt delighted by the opportunity. Besides, the "base" that is alienated by this will go exactly where with their votes? Beyond being a no-brainer, this a piece of nearly painless triangulation, targeted at soccer moms, worthy of Dick Morris. The tax cut rhetoric has been pretty high, but expect that to come down a notch soon, particularly as the Democratic race begins to peel off low performers. The administration will want more and more of these low-cost suburban issues to get the "compassionate conservative" meme back into play.

Agree or disagree with the Bush White House, they are playing near-flawless contract bridge as the Democrats play a silly game of Old Maid right now.

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