Several weeks ago I published columns on both threats and opportunities confronting the Democratic and Republican parties. Last week several news stories, although overshadowed by the mass murders in Las Vegas, revealed more potential threats to each party.
A major threat to the Democratic Party is the issue of gun control. The Democrats predictably began calling for more gun control, as if any new laws would have prevented the Las Vegas massacre. Their resurrection of this issue threatens the Democrats in two ways:
First, as the Wall Street Journal points out here, public opinion has remained remarkably unchanging and hostile to the Democrats’ desire to impose more regulations on gun owners and potential gun owners, despite the string of recent atrocities involving monsters who use guns to murder. To continue to beat what may be a dead horse, the Democrats may find themselves spending more time and energy which could better be used to address other issues.
But, said the Wall Street Journal, “The NRA and pro-gun sentiment doesn’t defeat [the Democrats.] What defeats them is that their compulsive moral condescension impedes their ability to see the country clearly.” See the Wall Street Journal’s take on the matter here: https://www.wsj.com/articles/gun-control-after-las-vegas-1507158170?mod=fbads&nan_pid=1861296284&ad_id=6636272.
An extreme example was offered by Haley Geftman-Gold, until recently a vice president and attorney for CBS, as well as an ardent supporter of both the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton. Writing on Facebook in response to news of the Las Vegas massacre, and apparently referencing the Sandy Hook massacre in which twenty children and six adults were murdered by a gun-toting monster, she expressed frustration over past Republican efforts to stymy gun control legislation, saying, “If they wouldn’t do anything when children were murdered I have no hope that Repugs [sic] will ever do the right thing. I’m actually not even sympathetic bc [sic] country music fans often are Republican gun toters [sic].” Her statement can be found here: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/10/02/top-cbs-lawyer-no-sympathy-for-vegas-vics-probably-republicans.html.
Obviously, it’s grossly unfair to either Hillary Clinton or the Democratic Party to infer that Democrats in general, or Mrs. Clinton in particular, share Mrs. Geftman-Gold’s apathy towards the Las Vegas murder victims. But too many Democrats, including Mrs. Clinton, and former President Obama, seem to share Mrs. Geftman-Gold’s contempt for gun owners. For example, Mrs. Clinton said, in response to a question on whether the National Rifle Association was somehow complicit, “Of course they are. This is nothing but pure unadulterated greed motivated by people who want to sell as many guns as they can.” No doubt she finds that most “deplorable.” And let’s not forget Barack Obama’s 2008 remarks, when he criticized those who “get bitter” over their economic condition and who therefore “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” as reported here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2008/april/obama-they-cling-to-guns-or-religion.html.
But if the Democrats’ “compulsive moral condescension” weakens their ability to rally support, so too may their evident hypocrisy concerning what they’ve called “the war on women” allegedly being waged by the Republican Party. Recent stories in the New York Times told how Harvey Weinstein, a powerful Oscar-winning movie producer and major financial contributor to the Democratic Party, has spent decades harassing and molesting young women seeking careers in the movies. Many Democratic politicians today who’ve taken Weinstein’s money are frantically either giving their money to charities helping victims of sexual abuse. For the New York Times’s stories, see https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/harvey-weinstein-harassment-allegations.html?_r=0, and https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/opinion/harvey-weinstein-democrats.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion-editorials&action=click&contentCollection=editorials®ion=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=5&pgtype=sectionfront, and https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/05/us/harvey-weinstein-harassment-allegations.html?_r=0.
As well they should. After all, the Democrats have long claimed to be the party championing women in the alleged “war against women” they say the Republican Party has been waging. So how can the Democrats remain “on the take” from someone who has waged more war on more women over a longer period of time than even Donald Trump has been accused of waging. By the way, Weinstein has promised to atone for his past and current piggishness by seeking counseling, as well as by raising and spending more money and—of course, since he’s a good Democrat—going after the NRA. So what else is new?
Of course, we must not ignore the latest sex scandal to hurt the Republican Party. For the pro-life traditional family values party, the Republicans have a real knack for getting themselves into sex-related trouble. This week also saw the resignation of Pennsylvania Republican congressman Tim Murphy, a married man and an ardent pro-life activist who was secretly urging his girlfriend to get an abortion if she discovered herself pregnant, as reported here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/rep-tim-murphy-resigns-from-congress-after-allegedly-asking-woman-to-have-abortion/2017/10/05/7a68a414-aa08-11e7-850e-2bdd1236be5d_story.html?utm_term=.0d8c72c3af7b. And Murphy is but one of several Republicans in recent years— including former congressmen Newt Gingrich and Robert Livingston, former Senators John Ensign and John Vitter, and current Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJeaulais—who’ve been exposed as adulterers despite their advocacy of “traditional family values” and, in DesJeaulais’s case, also exposed as a private advocate of abortion while being publicly pro-life. Strong cases can be made in defense of the pro-life and pro-family positions, but with each exposure of a Republican’s hypocrisy, there is a weakening of the Republican Party’s ability to make an effective case on these matters.
In sum, each party’s own worst enemy is not the opposition party, but itself.
Malcolm L. Cross has lived in Stephenville and taught politics and government at Tarleton since 1987. His political and civic activities include service on the Stephenville City Council (2000-2014) and on the Erath County Republican Executive Committee (1990 to the present). He was Mayor Pro Tem of Stephenville from 2008 to 2014. He is a member of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and the Stephenville Rotary Club, and does volunteer work for the Boy Scouts of America. Views expressed in this column are his and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.