November 08, 2012
And so Nov. 6 has come and gone, and the White House and U.S. Senate remain in the hands of gun-hating socialists who aim to cripple American energy development (unless we count windmills) and redistribute the wealth of the job-creating "1 percent" — even if our remaining job-creators choose to pack up their bank accounts and leave.
By waging a low-key defense of capitalism while staying "hands off" the character, background, and behavior of Barack Obama himself, Mitt Romney and the Republicans thought they had a decent chance to pick up New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, based on the obvious economic realities. They failed. At least in the urban cores of those states, apparently — along with such traditional collectivist bastions as New York, California, and Massachusetts — endless recession and government-run, Soviet-style medicine are winning issues.
In the end, the Democratic campaign machine was successful in tying Mitt Romney to a pair of troglodyte GOP Senate candidates (in Indiana and Missouri) who either oppose abortion for rape victims or don't believe rape victims can get pregnant at all, while the Romney campaign did little or nothing to attack Barack Obama on the far more personal and pressing issue of the president's having stood idly by for seven hours on the evening of Sept. 11, 2012, ordering more than one rescue mission to "stand down," thus allowing four Americans to die in Benghazi — and then sent out his spokesgals to lie about it, contending for weeks it was all about some YouTube video.
By late October, aides to Mitt Romney were demanding that Benghazi take on a greater focus in the final 12 days of the campaign, even as their candidate remained silent on the fallout from the deadly attacks, which were virtually invited by this administration's reduction of security forces there and refusal to heed increasingly desperate requests from Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who died in the attack.
Instead, Romney refused to be diverted from the "Economy sucks" message on which his campaign had focused from the outset — leaving Republicans susceptible to the supposedly happy news that unemployment had slightly improved to a (highly manipulable) number of 7.8 percent by the end of August.
Behind the scenes, reported Zeke MIller on the website buzzfeed.com, Romney aides were "bristling at the media, which has been pressing Romney on his endorsement of Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (of Indiana, who lost on Nov. 6), who opposes abortion in the case of rape."
"Why are we talking something some Senate candidate said, when the President of the United States LIED to the American people and said it was about a video?" one Romney aide e-mailed BuzzFeed on Oct. 24.
"Why aren't you all writing about Benghazi?" asked another.
Romney aides said the decision to avoid Benghazi was two-fold — swing voters don't care about foreign policy, and they got burned on Libya the last time.
That's a reference to the fact Romney tried to bring up Obama's misdirection about the cause of the Benghazi attacks in the second televised debate, whereupon (in a dialogue obviously scripted in advance between the president and supposed "moderator" Candy Crowley) Romney was ambushed and thrown off his rhythm by a Barack Obama who now insisted he had called Benghazi a terror attack — not a YouTube video protest gone out of control — from the very start.
Obama "did in fact" say on Sept. 12 that the Libya attack was terrorism, Ms. Crowley, the supposedly neutral moderator, confirmed — turning the event into a two-on-one tag-team match.
The setback left Romney wary of re-engaging on the subject, Romney aides told buzzfeed.com. Instead, he reverted to talking about the economy and job creation.
Indeed, the economy should have been the Great Sledgehammer against Barack Obama. Someone sharper than I will have to explain why running up a huge and unsustainable debt to finance Keynesian "bailouts" to the giant banks that helped cause the collapse, as well as to other favorites of the state-socialist Washington kleptocrats (see "Solyndra,") didn't amount to electoral suicide for Barack Obama.
It's tempting to say Mr. Romney would have done better running as a real advocate of freedom, calling for slashing government spending by half, pulling all our troops home from overseas, and ending the War on Drugs. But real Libertarian Gary Johnson ran on that platform — and struggled to obtain that party's usual 1 percent of the vote.
The best news for Mitt Romney, personally, is that he won't be held responsible for the forthcoming economic debacle, and he presumably has enough money left go visit his money wherever he's been smart enough to send it, overseas.
If only the rest of us were so lucky.
Meantime, in Illinois, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Oct. 18 submitted a proposed county budget that would impose a tax of a nickel on each bullet and $25 for each firearm sold in the nation¹s second-largest county, which encompasses Chicago. (The Associated Press says "bullet," not cartridge.)
Ms. Preckwinkle, who calls her county's legal gun shops "a conduit for crimes in Chicago," estimates the tax would generate about $1 million a year, money that would be used for various county services including (but not limited to) medical care for gunshot victims. You know, the way the states now use tobacco settlement moneys exclusively to fund medical treatment for smoking-related illnesses.
Law enforcement officials would not have to pay the tax, but it would apply to the 40 remaining federally licensed gun dealers in the county.
The excuse of the hour? "Gang violence that has contributed to a jump in homicides."
Through mid-October, the city of Chicago had reported 409 homicides this year, compared to 324 during the same period in 2011. Although the violence still doesn't approach the nearly 900 homicides a year Chicago averaged in the 1990s, officials contend gang activity was largely to blame for a rash of shootings earlier this year.
Ms. Preckwinkle, of course, insists the ordinance is far more about addressing gun violence than raising money for a county that faces a budget shortfall of more than $260 million — despite the fact that felons rarely buy their arms at federally licensed gun shops, and that if they DID, it's unlikely a $25 tax on a reliable $500 handgun would be a huge deterrent.
"The violence in Cook County is devastating and the wide availability of ammunition only exacerbates the problem," she told the board, back on Oct. 19.
It's an interesting theory of causality. Presumably, the county could also place a local tax on automobiles sufficient to cover the costs of treating the victims of car crashes, and a special local tax on spreadsheet programs to cover the losses suffered through bankers and accountants using such software to commit embezzlement and other financial crimes.
At least THOSE taxes might be constitutional, unlike a special tax on firearms and ammunition, which would appear to violate — by intent as well as effect — that pesky constitutional provision that the individual right to keep and bear arms "shall not be infringed."
Beyond that, though, there are two obvious pragmatic problems. First, shoppers can and likely would simply drive outside county lines to buy their cars and computer software — or guns and ammunition. More Cook County dealers would close, and the net impact on county tax collections would thus be negative.
Secondly, some punk who wants to impress his buddies by carrying around a cheap handgun is unlikely to go through more than a few dozen rounds a year, which he may well steal rather than purchasing through a tax-collecting gun shop. Ms. Preckwinkle admits less than one third
of the guns recovered by Chicago police at crime scenes (The AP phrases it "after being used in Chicago crimes," though we all know the firearms of dead victims are also generally counted as "guns recovered at crime scenes") were ever purchased legally in suburban Cook County.
Those most likely to be impacted by such a tax — and thus most willing to drive to an out-of-town gun show to stock up on fodder — are the competitive shooter or the off-duty or reserve member of the military, who may routinely burn through hundreds if not thousands of rounds in a weekend to hone his or her skills (and who, of course, commits violent gun crimes in numbers that are infinitesimally small.)
Neither Preckwinkle spokesgal Kristen Mack nor a National Rifle Association spokesman knew of any other local jurisdiction in the nation that has imposed a tax on bullets.
County Commissioner John Fritchey questioned whether the county would simply be setting itself up for a lawsuit that will cost the county more money than the tax will bring in, also wondering if it would have any role in reducing crime.
"I don't think a nickel a bullet will cause a shooter to rethink pulling the trigger," he said.
Vin Suprynowicz is an editorial writer for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, and the author of "The Ballad of Carl Drega" and the novel "The Black Arrow." See www.vinsuprynowicz.com