It was hard to stomach the entire one hour and eleven minutes of President Obama’s choreographed propaganda session “Guns in America” on CNN last Thursday night. Still I felt obligated to watch it, because I knew it would hold insights into how far this president’s personal hatreds have pushed him on the gun issue. But I wasn’t ready for what else was to come—a full recognition of his utter contempt for the American people.
Obama has finally accepted that he no longer enjoys that exhilarating wind at his back that Abraham Lincoln famously called “public sentiment”. He has alarmed the American people with his disregard for their elected Congress, and by extension, of them. His response to the San Bernardino terrorist attack was not a pledge to defend America from terrorism, but a lecture to avoid discrimination against Muslims. And of course, a renewed attack on America’s tens of millions of gun owners.
Polls have consistently told Obama that his jihad against gun owners is alienating them ever further. And the most important polls, those critical votes in Congress, have repeatedly slapped down his attempts to criminalize gun owners. But Obama’s response has not been to take counsel from the American people, but to publicly scold and defy them. Obama’s bully pulpit has become a bully’s pulpit.
Obama seems to get that he has a credibility problem with gun owners. Much of his preaching consisted of trying to convince us to ignore our lying eyes and ears and to believe he’s not trying to take away anyone’s guns. As usual, his favored tools of persuasion were evasion and scorn.
Host Anderson Cooper actually posed some tough questions to the president. It’s very likely that CNN brass recognized the network’s reputation for bias on guns and felt obliged to counter it by having Cooper make Obama squirm.
I will discuss the highlights, or rather low points, of the program:
Anderson Cooper at 1:10—“There’s a lot of people out there tonight who don’t believe you.” “It’s things you’ve said—support for Australia’s tough anti-gun policies [Cooper explains these were bans, not buybacks]”. “Back in 2008 you talked about bitter Americans clinging to their guns…” “What can you say to somebody tonight to convince them that you don’t want to take away everybody’s guns?”
President Barack Obama at 1:50—Notes with a grin that gun sales have increased since he’s been president. Cites gun homicides in his own city of Chicago, agrees people in isolated rural areas may need “a rifle or shotgun” [he notably didn’t say “or handgun”] for protection. “People occupy different realities”, i.e. there are responsible gun owners and otherwise.
A.C. at 4:05—“The vast majority of criminals get their guns either illegally or from family or friends. So background checks is not something that’s going to be effective, is it?”
B.O. at 4:25—Insists “I respect the Second Amendment”, describes the 30,000 people lost to “gun violence”, implies that if he could reduce that number by just 2,000 deaths it would justify his gun control agenda. Describes how our current background check system has “a bunch of big loopholes, which is why a lot of criminals…are able to get guns.”
A.C. interrupts at 6:05—“But they’re not buying them at gun shows. Only 1% of criminals buy them at gun shows.”
B.O. at 6:10—Ignores that point and blames Indiana gun stores and “the NRA” for Chicago gun crime.
A.C. at 7:45—Calls President Obama on his contention that the “gun show loophole” has become a “massive industry”, as Obama said. “There’s a lot of fathers and sons who sell guns every now and then at gun shows. Are they going to start having to do background checks?”
B.O. at 7:50—Explains his ideal background check system, goes on at 9:50 to complain that the response to his “commonsense proposals” to stop gun violence is that “we’re trying to take away everybody’s guns”. Blames the NRA again, accusing them of opposing research to make guns safer, lectures that we could reduce “gun violence” the same way we reduced auto accidents with seat belts and air bags.
This is one of the lies President Obama told Thursday night. The NRA has never opposed research into firearm safety. In fact, it has been the biggest promoter and teacher of gun safety in America for decades. President Obama deliberately neglects to mention that it’s the outlawing of all guns other than so-called smart guns that the NRA opposes.
Taya Kyle, widow of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle at 14:05—Notes that criminals are not stopped by background checks. Reminds Obama that now the U.S. now enjoys the lowest murder rate ever, but we’re at an all-time high of gun ownership. Why not celebrate that?
B.O. responds with an admission that yes, the violent crime rate has been steadily decreasing “for a pretty long time”, but not because there are more guns. He did not explain why, if guns are a problem, the violent crime rate has not risen or at least not decreased. Goes on to plug his background check system again, and to explain how he’s eliminating the gun trust exemption for acquiring automatic firearms.
B.O. at 20:10—“One out of 30 persons who are purchasing weapons over the Internet turn out to have a felony record.”
Another misrepresentation by President Obama that sinks to the level of a lie. Any one of CNN’s estimated 2.4 million viewers Thursday night would have been perfectly justified in believing that anyone, even a convicted felon, can buy a gun on the Internet as easily as he would order a book. That is simply not true.
This was such a whopper that even Michael Bloomberg’s e-propaganda sheet The Trace felt obliged to at least try spinning it back into the realm of plausibility. The truth that Obama so artfully concealed is that the Internet is no magic portal through which a gun buyer can avoid the usual background check. All internet gun sales are subject to the same laws that a bricks-and-mortar store transaction would be.
Kimberly Corban, rape survivor and mother of two small children at 21:00—Tells Obama that being able to carry a self-defense firearm “is a responsibility of the parent.” “I refuse to let that [the crime of rape] happen again to myself or my kids.” [She was explaining why she now carries a concealed firearm for protection.] She explains that Obama’s policy proposals are making her and her children “less safe”.
B.O. dodges the issue by noting that concealed carry is a matter of state, not federal law. Then at 22:30 Obama incredibly begins lecturing Ms. Corban, admonishing her that she might be in greater danger by having a gun than if she were defenseless in a rapist’s attack. There might, after all, be a “tragic accident”. He insists that an armed defender is more likely to be hurt with her own gun than to successfully defend herself.
Of all the lies and condescension that President Obama heaped on Americans Thursday night, this had to be the most shameful by far. The camera showed Kimberly’s solemn face as she politely listened to the president casually and cruelly condemn her very right to defend herself. Against a rape, for God’s sake. Not against some theoretical crime, but against a repetition of a vicious attack that had already happened. Obama gave Kimberly the same treatment that the notorious Colorado Democrat state Senator Evie Hudak inflicted on another rape victim who was brave enough to disclose her ordeal in public testimony.
As if that weren’t enough, Obama finished his insult of the dignified and confident Kimberly Corban by reassuring her that his background check proposal would keep the man who had raped her from getting a gun and raping another woman when he is let out of prison.
What American watching Obama’s arrogant dismissal of this brave woman could feel anything but seething fury at this president? How callous must he be to write off her resolve to protect herself and her children? Or to imply a rapist would need a gun to hurt a smaller, less powerful woman?
Pinal County, Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu at 29:07—“How are we going to get criminals and those with mental illness to follow the laws?”
B.O. at 33:00—Recounts the story of a knife attack in China, with multiple stabbing victims. Obama declares it could have been worse but wasn’t because “he wasn’t wielding a semiautomatic.” He ignores the obvious, that just one victim with “a semiautomatic” could have ended that assault and saved lives.
Chicago priest and Obama ally Father Michael Pfleger at 42:30—Decries “eleven killed in seven days in Chicago” and blames “easy access to guns”. [Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation and had to be forced by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow legal gun ownership for Chicago residents]. Pfleger goes on to denounce the “business of guns” and “the gun lobby” for the ongoing murders in his Chicago neighborhood (but of course not the career thugs doing the killing). Pfleger once very publicly threatened to kill a local gun store owner.
B.O. responds by ridiculing opponents of gun registration and gun owner licensing for believing those proposals are preludes to gun confiscation. He cites “conspiracy theories floating around the Internet”. At 45:25 he recounts, to audience laughter, a recent military exercise in Texas where “people were sure this is the start of martial law”.
Mark Kelly and former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at 54:20—By way of ridiculing opponents of his favorite goal of universal background checks, Kelly launches into a long, sarcastic description of the 350 million guns in 65 million [sic] homes in America, and asks Obama rhetorically how the federal government could possibly confiscate all those guns?
Here, to wild audience applause, the camera cuts for a second to Father Pfleger grinning and clapping, and the somber-faced Kimberly Corban enduring this one more slight. This moment captures more than any other the mood of the evening—a highly staged showcase for a frustrated and enraged president Obama to belittle his opponents and glorify his gun-grabbing agenda.
Hitting Mark Kelly’s softball question out of the park, Obama drops all pretense of respect and pounds away at his opponents as paranoid rubes in the grip of a conspiracy theory.
But at 57:05, with Obama gesturing expansively and really getting into it, Anderson Cooper cuts him off with “Is it fair to call it a conspiracy? I mean, a lot of people really believe this deeply, that they just don’t trust you.”
Obama, temporarily taken aback, insists it’s fair and goes on the attack, demanding “What are you saying?” More applause, but Cooper stands his ground with “There certainly are a lot of people who just have a fundamental distrust that you want to go further and further and further down this road.”
B.O. at 58:10—Rushes to establish his gun-friendly bona fides, reminds the audience he is from Illinois and “a lot of folks” in downstate Illinois hunt and own guns. “So this is not, like, alien territory to me.” “I just came back from Alaska where I ate a moose that had been shot. And it was pretty good.” That’s how Barack Obama reassured his audience that he’s just plain Midwestern American folk and can be trusted not to go after their guns. I am not making this up. Watch the video yourself, if you can stand it.
B.O. at 1:00:10—Obama spends the last eleven minutes of the program in a harangue against the “loudest, shrillest voices” in Washington with “the most money”. He calls out the NRA once again by name and condemns its influence on Congress, implying that it shouldn’t enjoy the influence it has, despite its 5.5 million paying members and tens of millions more Americans supporting its positions.
In what has become a mandatory exercise for any gun control lecture, article, or speech, Obama at 1:08:50 delivers the final lie of the night: “Right now Congress even prevents us (shaking his finger, the most animated he’s been all night) from studying, through the Centers for Disease Control, the ways in which we can reduce gun violence. That’s how crazy this thing has become.”
Yes, that’s how crazy this thing has become. What was America thinking when they elected this man to our highest office who has such little faith in America and her people? Who has such biting contempt for our liberties and for our Constitution?
B.O. at 1:02:30—Obama leaves us with a ray of hope. He resentfully acknowledges that gun rights supporters are “more focused and disciplined during election time” than supporters of gun control. And this truth will be our deliverance come November.
—Timothy Wheeler, MD is director of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation.