As John Richardson notes, there’s a very strong push to get President Obama to say something about gun control during the State of the Union. If I had to put money on it, I’m betting he doesn’t want to ride this tiger. The best they’ll get is a casual, quick mention, that doesn’t really commit to anything. Obama has two years before he has to go before voters, and he can’t afford to lose that many states, like Indiana, North Carolina, and Ohio, before he becomes a one termer. He also has to know it’ll make it next to impossible for rural Democrats like Tester to shill for him in 2012. Tester was particularly involved in helping Obama get cover from accusations that he was anti-gun. If Obama mentions gun control, it will destroy Senator Tester’s credibility on that issue. Tester is just an example too. There are many others.
But President Obama doesn’t strike me as having a keen political sense. He may say something yet. But either way it goes, I don’t think Obama is the key in this struggle. Obama is an unpopular polarizing President. If he gets behind new gun control laws it will, to be honest, probably help our side more than his. The real key to this whole issue is what Congresswoman Giffords is going to do once she comes back to political life. If Giffords gets behind new gun control efforts, this whole thing might develop a momentum that will be difficult to stop.
Regardless of what Obama does during the State of the Union, we’re not out of the woods yet by far.