Welcome to this week's edition of The Daily Banter Mailbag! Today, Bob, Ben and Chez discuss the loss of momentum in the gun control debate, endless presidential campaigns, and the White House drone memo.
1) It feels like the momentum gun control advocates had after the Sandy Hook shooting is slowing. Thoughts?
Chez: It was only natural given how quickly news cycles roll over these days and what it's done to our collective attention span. That said, I think there's been a lot of progress on the fight for stronger common sense gun safety legislation. I have no doubt that everything being proposed will be defanged by the NRA and so it may be all for naught, but the conversation is being had and the talk from those who aren't paranoid gun nuts is all pretty strong for a change. As a gun owner myself, I'm all for gun registration and for making sure no one can get their hands on a firearm until he or she has undergone a rigid instruction course and has proven to be serious about gun ownership and be responsible and dedicated to gun safety.
Bob: Slowing? It's stagnant right now and I don't mind saying that it's disgraceful. The NRA always wins these battles because the other side always wears itself out and can't remain focused. It doesn't help that it's unlikely Congress will do anything about it either. So I really have no idea what degree of horror we'll need to endure before we wake the hell up about the gun culture.
Ben: The gun lobby has essentially gone, if you'll forgive the pun, all guns blazing to stop the gun control movement in its tracks. They've bombarded the public with ads and have orchestrated a gigantic PR campaign to scare people into believing Obama is coming to take all the guns away. And it has worked, at least for the time being, and that was sadly to be expected. That doesn't mean the fight is over, and I still think some headway will be made when it comes to legislation. The media a big part to play in keeping this thing alive and we're going to keep on it here at The Daily Banter to keep in the back of people's minds.
2) A lot of people are already talking about Hillary Clinton for president in 2016 and that includes a lot of media people. Are we entering a new era of perpetual political campaigning and horse race campaign coverage?
Bob: Probably, but I tend to believe that it's okay because any sort of attention on civics is good attention on civics. That said, there's always a bit of an aftershock following an election in which people like me are still in election mode and can't quite move on.
Ben: Moving into an era of perpetual political campaigning and horse race campaign coverage? We're already in it Helen! The media has promoted the hell out of potential Presidential match ups for decades for the sole reason that it gets people interested and watching television. The speculation on Hillary is a lame attempt to drive ratings, and sadly, it is working. It's WAY too early to make accurate guesses as to who will be running in 2016 as there are a lot of things that can happen over the next four years. The only time I thought the media was warranted in mass hysteria over a potential future Presidential candidate was back in 2004 when Barack Obama delivered the key note address at the Democratic convention. It was a very, very exciting moment if you were a Democrat and I remember thinking that after his breath taking performance he would almost certainly be President in 2008. But other than that, it's really, really annoying and sadly a part of the American political dog and pony show.
Chez: Actually, yeah, we are moving toward an era of constant campaign coverage because there's two things news organizations love these days: conflict and speculation. Campaigns provide both.
3) In 20 words or less convince me why I should be angry about the White House "assassination" memo?
Chez: Don't ask me. I'm not angry.
Bob: You shouldn't. But you should be angry that the president still retains extraordinary war powers that were authorized 12 years ago. That was more than 20. Whoops! That was even more.
Ben: Er, it's illegal and unconstitutional? You are innocent till proven guilty in America. The memo trashes all of that.
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