A funny thing happened to President Obama on his way to increasing federal regulation of firearms. Members of Congress noticed that gun control wasn’t a top priority for their constituents and handed the President his first major legislative loss.
Instead, Americans are still more concerned about the economy and the state of our fiscal house. From the “Editor-in-chief” over at Gallup:
Only 4% of Americans say that gun violence or gun issues constitute the most important problem facing the country today, based on our April 4-7 monthly update of the “most important problem” measure. This puts guns in the same 4% category as immigration issues, education, and the situation with North Korea.
To be clear, the 4% of Americans for whom gun violence is a top issue were no where to be found before Newport, Connecticut happened. Prior to the Sandy Hook massacre, gun violence didn’t register on the scale.
Instead, Americans’ top five issues are, in order:
- The economy (in general)
- Dissatisfaction with government (whatever this means)
- Federal budget deficit/federal debt, and
- Healthcare (which is declining in importance over the last three months)
You can’t see gun violence appear in the list for another four rows, and then it’s tied with worry about threats from North Korea, a country that is begging Mongolia to provide food aid for its starving people. The drug lords of Juarez, Mexico pose a greater threat to the United States. (See the full chart below.)
With worries about the economy, our ability to maintain a standard of living, provide for ourselves, and so on, weighing on us, why should anyone, let alone Obama who also has these polling numbers, be surprised that Congress, with lower approval ratings than the President, has no fear about thumbing their collective noses at his push to require universal background checks?
It’s still the economy, stupid. And it will be until we change how we’ve been doing things.
Not that I want to rely upon Hollywood for an example, or anything, but I’m going to do just that. I’ve been watching Andrew Sorkin’s West Wing lately, set in the bright years of the 1990s (or so). Repeatedly I hear the same talking points and arguments that are being made–today–by liberals and Democrats in favor of their pet programs and policies. Whether it’s for gun control, expansion of governments role in healthcare, fiscal and tax policy, or the first amendment, the arguments have not changed.
The difference is that elected officials, all too often, act like our collective memory is too short to remember what they are doing now has been done before, has been said before, and, well, got us into the mess we’re in now. But does anyone remember? Are we going to keep doing the same thing and expect different results?
I can’t claim to understand the arcane workings of federal programs, but I do know the pinch on my pocketbook, on my family, when I look at my pay stub and the withholdings there. I do see the taxes I pay at the fuel pump when I look at my receipt. I do recognize how much cheaper and easier it is to buy a book online from Amazon compared to Barnes and Nobles’ brick and mortar and what will happen if the government starts taxing that purchase. I do see how difficult it is to buy a home, still, five years after the housing market collapsed, largely because of governmental meddling in the housing market. And I know that I am not in the minority–Americans think about the price of a home, of a car (remember what “cash for clunkers” did to all those perfectly fine used cars that we could still be driving?), of a meal, of a vacation…or the lack thereof.
And that’s on my mind more than is gun violence. Stop being so surprised and peeved that you didn’t get your way, Mr. President. It’s government for, by and of the people–and the people are concerned about the economy.
Publius Online is participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, a month-long quest to post every day (I know…I’ve missed a few days). Each day should match a letter of the alphabet. Today is the letter S, as in Spending.
- Prioritizing Gun Violence Reduction Measures (pollingmatters.gallup.com)
- Four Months After Newtown (joshblackman.com)
- The President Speaks On Gun Violence….And He Ain’t Happy. (theobamacrat.com)
- States with the Most Gun Violence (247wallst.com)
- WaPo/ABC poll shows majority believes a gun makes a home safer (hotair.com)
- YOU LIE!: As Obama Claims 90%, GALLUP Shows Only 4% Of Americans Think Gun Control Important Problem (secretsofthefed.com)
- The false hope & folly of gun control (triblive.com)