Monday, April 09, 2012

Unzip Romney?

The baffling, omnipresent high profile wife of Mitt Romney now says we don't know her husband. One wonders how well she knows him given that he changes his positions on issues about as often as he changes his socks.

Yes, Mrs. Romney says her husband isn't a stuffed shirt, and suggests instead that he is the proverbial life of the party. Which party, you ask? Surely not the Republican Party.

In an offer of unparalleled generosity, Ann Romney offers to "unzip" Mitt. How about it? What will we find when she does? Too little, too late?

How about a hearty serving of escargot on the half-shell? Isn't that what Romney's upcoming pow-wow later this week with the National Rifle Association portends? The man who is moving slower than any presidential candidate, of either party, in recent memory toward securing the nomination for president is discernibly on a par with your garden variety escargot. Indeed, watching Romney run has been about as energizing as watching an escargot finds it way to a dinner plate.

The candidate who now, according to ABC News, boasts of owning not one but two shotguns and, yes, wait a minute, even of having shot a rodent or two along the road to fame is preparing to woo America's leading gun lobby.

How appropriate, too, that we hear of Romney's penchant for shooting rabbit this close to Easter Sunday. Maybe the next Romney campaign ad will feature Mitt with one shotgun hanging from his holster, and another pointed at the Easter bunny?

You're right, that's not fair. Romney isn't the only candidate in the lobby's lap nor is the Republican Party the only party pandering to the NRA. From the looks of things, the former head of Bain Capital will have plenty of company from Democratic side of the aisle, too, where not one member of Congress, nor the president, nor the attorney-general, yes, and not one elected official of either party, star, or stripe has even come close to challenging the broad brush with which revisionists have repainted the Second Amendment, and turned the Bill of Rights into the Bill of Frights.

Moreover, not even the vigilante-style killing of a hooded Florida teenager can stop presidential candidates, Republicans and Democrats alike, from courting the gunsters. Guns and banks are as American a staple as meat and potatoes.

Not only is Congress avoiding confrontations with the gun lobby, legislation is being considered that would shield freewheeling gun-toters like George Zimmerman, empowered by the "Cover Your Ass, and Burnish your Weapon" law that passed Florida, from being stymied by more stringent gun laws. How much would you like to bet that not one of the folks you elected to represent you will stand up to defeat writing a blank check to the gun lobby?

How much would you like to bet that President Obama will refuse to budge an inch toward a saner view of imposing greater restrictions on gun ownership, open carry, and interstate gun trafficking?

Romney is pandering to the conservative base of his party, and Obama is pandering to the independent base of his which has always been way more conservative. While both parties are pandering to the extremes of each party in a futile attempt to arrive at the middle, the country is sinking and mired in the kind of political, economic, and moral paralysis not seen since the 1930's.

If you have any question about where so-called blue dog Democrats stand on guns, check out the platform upon which junior senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, ran. Keep in mind that when she was in the House, she was a staunch defender of gun rights. Now that she's in the Senate, and in a state where there are more liberals per square mile than anywhere else except San Francisco, she has had to pull a Romney, and come out in favor of gun control, but caveat emptor. Her change with respect to gun control is about as convincing as Romney's change on choice. Once a blue dog, always a blue dog.

As one old enough to remember when the money was in pornography, it's fair to say that the money is now in guns. Both parties get that, and neither party is willing to stand up for those like Trayvon Martin and hundreds more like him who have lost their lives so that someone like George Zimmerman can assert what he considers to be his Second Amendment fright.

But, enough about Gillibrand and blue dog Democrats. After all, it is Romney that is being unzipped here. It is Romney who now says, per ABC News, "I'm not a big game hunter. I've always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter all right, small varmints if you will." Small varmints, indeed. Doubtless, Rick Perry is still bristling at the comparison.

Remember when, during one of the earlier presidential nomination debates, Romney told "boots on the ground" Texan Rick Perry that while he's not a "serious hunter," he does "enjoy the sport." Clearly, Romney enjoys the sport of running for president, too, something else he appears to be about as "serious" about, and adept at, as hunting. Think escargot on the half-shell, and you have picture.

When Romney talks at this week's annual meeting of the NRA, keep in mind that he has every right to be there. He's a self-proclaimed proud member, even if he had to borrow a gun from one of his sons to join.

And, while this won't be his first speech, if the Democrats play their cards right, it may well be Romney's last speech as a career political candidate for the right wing of his party may just have delivered the Demorats the signature social issue of the 2012 presidential campaign that it is the Democrats, not the shoot-em-up guys, who are tough on crime, and that it is the Democrats, not the Republicans, who are best suited to protect our national security.

That said, if this president doesn't get off the fence when it comes to gun control, and start distinguishing himself and his party's platform on social issues like bringing back the ban on assault weapons that was allowed to lapse under George W. Bush, and showing that open carry laws promote open season on innocent, unarmed civilians, the Democrats can still lose in November.

It is not standing up to defend and protect the lives of the living that will cost Mr. Obama the presidency, but allowing the Republican Party to make the election a referendum instead on protecting the rights of the unborn.

This election is about what may be seen as the single greatest civil rights issue of our times, the right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" without being forced to look down the barrel of a gun. Yes, Martha, the Declaration of Independence trumps the Second Amendment.

Stand up now, Democrats, or forever be forced to carry your piece. Stand up now, Democrats, and candidate Obama and make it clear that the Second Amendment doesn't empower states to form, or affirm their own citizen militias.

Stand up and impose limitations on who can access firearms, under what
circumstances, and how they may legally transport them. Stand up and acknowledge what can only be considered sane gun control legislation, in the name of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, that we're mad as hell and we're not going to take it anymore. It's too damn easy for madmen, and faux law enforcers like Zimmerman to pursue their misadventures.

Anyone who cries for justice for Trayvon Martin and who doesn't at the same time call for tougher gun laws isn't anyone who deserves the public trust.

Unless, and until we see candidate Obama make it clear that while the Second Amendment may grant implied rights, it also has limitations, it will be business as usual in Washington, and whether it's Barry Goldwater or Barry Obama in the White House won't matter in the least.

Arguably, the bottom line here is that when Ann Romney unzips her husband, we don't want to find Barack Obama there.