Dave Hardy has a follow up article about his visit to the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock published in this month’s America’s First Freedom. This one is also well worth the read.
The Brady Campaign’s correspondence with the Clinton White House, revealed here for the first time, illustrates how well and persistently it has stuck with the agenda laid out by its first real leader. The goal is to make handgun ownership illegal: Along the way, remember that half a loaf is better than none, and if you have to, settle for just a slice. Take whatever you can get, and keep on asking for more. Anything that makes gun ownership more burdensome or risky is a step toward that goal.
I have linked this before in a news links post, but I would encourage you to read this very frank memo Dave found, from Jody Powell to George Stephanopoulos in 1994 speaking of the risks of pursuing the gun control agenda. In addition to the letter, it also includes gun control proposals that the previous version I linked did not include. I will quote from the letter:
In my humble estimation, the reason we never get the political benefit from gun control that the polls seem to promise is because our proposals are substantively weak. We have yet to propose anything that people believe will make any difference. The people who are generally for gun control don’t make it a voting issue because it has no real impact on their lives. On the other hand. the inconvenience and hassle of wading through another round with indifferent and incompetent bureaucrats and the fear that this is only the first step toward more radical measures are quite real to people who own guns. As much as I hate to say it, the NRA is effective primarily because it is largely right when it claims that most gun control laws inconvenience and threaten the law-abiding while having little or no impact on violent crime or criminals.
Read the whole thing. It’s quite an eye opener. The Clinton White House obviously went ahead with some of these proposals, resulting in the federal assault weapons ban in September of that year. Powell asked the Clinton Administration to consider carefully what the consequences could be of pursuing this agenda:
I support registration in principle. But two questions need to be asked. Are the people causing the problem going to comply voluntarily? If not, do you have a way to effectively enforce compliance? If the answer is “no” in both cases. consider whether the benefits are worth making Bob Dole majority leader.
And in 1994, Bob Dole would indeed became Senate Majority Leader. Obviously Powell supported many of these policies, but he understood the issue well, and tried to communicate the dynamic to the White House. The Obama Administration was a picnic in the park compared to the Clinton Administration. Unlike Obama, Clinton knew how to work Congress. Obviously Clinton did not achieve half of what he and the Brady Campaign wanted to accomplish, but he accomplished much much more than Obama.