Mistake #1: picking an Attorney General and administration spokesman who doesn't even know current firearms law.
Eric Holder was on today announcing that the Obama administration was going to bring back the "assault weapons" ban. As Purple Avenger of Ace of Spades notes, this is the same guy who called for making armor piercing bullets ("cop-killers") illegal...
COBURN: It's nothing you're contemplating.
And I understand President-elect Obama does have an opinion on "assault weapons," quote, "assault weapons." Can you tell me what your plans are and how you view that and whether or not you think that may or not be reinstituted?
I think you had asked me earlier about the regulations that I thought might still exist, post-Heller. And I had mentioned, I think, closing the gun show loophole, the banning of cop-killer bullets and I also think that making the assault weapons ban permanent would be something that would be permitted under Heller, and I also think would be good for my law enforcement perspective.
COBURN: OK. Thank you.
...while being apparently blissfully unaware of the fact that they already are. And we're all perfectly fine with them being illegal, mostly because we don't have wild elephants and stegosauruses rampaging through our suburbs. So I'm not sure why Holder messed this up, although it might be because he's still a bit more checked out on Colombian law than he is American.
Mistake #2: Not being able to count to sixty. The current breakdown is effectively 57/41 D/R. If they shorten Kennedy's remaining lifespan still further to drag him back up, 58/41; if they pull in the two Senators from Maine, 60/39. But let's say that they somehow manage to get Specter to commit political seppeku. 61/38, right?
Wrong. Here's the roll call vote from 2004 to let the ban lapse. Add Gregg, Lugar, and Voinovich to that list; 64/35... and take away Specter, Baucus, Feingold, Landrieu, & Nelson. 59/40. And that's just the ones that were around then: as Snowflakes in Hell notes (and lists as nos/possibly nos), there's Begich, Casey, Tester, both Udalls, and Webb to consider. There's also Gillibrand, but her previous conservative credentials are already eroding; she'll vote for a ban, I'm pretty sure. But that doesn't matter, really: we only need somewhere between two and five Democratic Senators to vote "no," and I see four-and-Specter without trying particularly hard. Snowflakes opines:
Even if a lot of those maybes would be nos, many of them will not want to have to cast a vote on this issue, and will probably apply pressure to the leadership to not bring up a bill so they don’t have to.
Which leads us to...
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tossed cold water on the prospect of reinstating the assault weapons ban, highlighting Democrats’ reluctance to take on gun issues.
Attorney General Eric Holder raised the prospect Wednesday that the administration would push to bring back the ban. But Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that he never talked to her. The Speaker gave a flat “no” when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.
Read the entire thing: there's a good bit right after that which I didn't reproduce because I'm trying to keep to fair use here. So, let's recap: a spokesman who doesn't know the actual law involved; a Senate that's looking for an excuse to not act on this; and a House Speaker that's both annoyed that she was out of the loop, and using language discussing the problem that is often associated with the NRA.
I'm sure that the vaunted technocratic brilliance that we were promised with regard to the Obama administration will be downright breath-taking - once they get around to actually showing any.
*It's merely a literary reference, nothing more.
Crossposted to Moe Lane.