This is a kind of a good news, maybe bad news kind of thing. First, the kind of good news:
Stuart SmalleyAl] Franken, speaking during a press event in Rochester, said he supports limits on ammunition magazines to 10 rounds and tightening the nation's system of background checks. But, he declined to say whether he supported a ban on assault weapons, a key provision of the president's plan.
Via @rickklein. It's only kind of good news because while it shows that Al Franken (or at least his staff) is aware that an actual 'assault weapons ban' would end up being a PR disaster for the Democrats*, it still indicates that the Other Side is alas wedded to the same magical thinking that made them think that limiting magazine sizes was actually going to do anything to combat gun violence. While this is convenient for the Republican party, it is not so convenient for the Republic: the system works best when both parties are engaged in - what's the term of art, again? Ah, yes - are engaged in 'reality-based' thinking.
The maybe bad news is that Obama's probably going to try to demand some party unity for Chuck Hagel in exchange for not getting an assault weapons ban. He's going to need it:
The Post-ABC polls show 42 percent of Americans approve of the Chuck Hagel nomination. This is poor by any historical measure. At the time of her nomination, Hillary Clinton got the support of 71 percent of Americans in a CNN poll taken in December, 2008, while 83 percent approved of Robert Gates continuing as secretary of defense. Defense secretaries, and to an even greater extent secretaries of state, have generally enjoyed excellent ratings form the public, perhaps because they are seen to be above the political fray. Even at the time of his resignation, Donald Rumsfeld’s approval hovered in the 50 percent range.
Oddly enough, that Post article on the poll itself neglected to mention the atypically low support, comparatively speaking, that Chuck Hagel's enjoying with the American people (note: this not actually surprising). And that's why it's maybe bad news: because the major reason - in fact, almost the only real reason - that the Hagel pick is being touted is because it's supposedly bipartisan. Except that it's... not. The Republican party base despises a backstabber... and there are two sitting Republican Senators who hold their seats despite Chuck Hagel's best efforts.
So Obama might as well go with a Democrat - which would certainly please that section of his support whose eyes do not grow mean and and hooded when hearing the word 'Israel.' And, no, those people exist: half the country is not in fact virulently anti-Semitic. It's just that the Democrats that ARE are simply disproportionately represented on the Internet.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*The primary goal for the Democrats with regard to gun control is to never, ever let the American electorate notice that their definition of gun control is starkly different from the progressive Left's definition of gun control. Fortunately, this effectively puts a sharp upper limit on what the Democrats usually try to accomplish; and if you're wondering why President Obama doesn't seem to grasp this, well, I suppose that he could be a n-dimensional genius. Or Obama could be, you know, a one-trick pony whose only core competency is in manipulating arcane electoral systems.
Sorry, but you can't make me respect somebody who doesn't deserve it. And when it comes to House/Senate elections - which is the only electoral arena where Obama will be relevant, ever again - the man doesn't deserve it.