By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
President Barack Obama, entering the final year of his presidency, likely knows the power he wields.
It’s a power that keeps Alabama’s U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions red in the face. It’s a power that has Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley making claims against the president that are simply untrue. Most of Alabama’s congressional delegation respond the same way – with negativity — to anything Obama does.
And the reason they react as they do against any move Obama makes is because they are cynically preying on the hate they believe their Alabama constituents have for Obama.
In Shelby’s new television commercial for yet another re-election campaign, the Senator for Life spends a lot of time talking about how he stands up against Obama every day. Oh, and this laugher: Shelby just works in Washington; he’s not of Washington.
Shelby’s irrational response to Obama’s common-sense executive action on guns – make sure everybody who buys a gun is backgrounded, make sure those who sell guns for a living have federal licenses, provide more funding for mental health treatment – is nauseating.
“President Obama wants America to look more like Chicago. I’m fighting for America to look more like Alabama. That is why I will work tirelessly to protect the Second Amendment and reverse any proposals by this President to restrict the constitutional rights of the American people,” Shelby says on his re-election website.
Obama is trying to infringe on the Second Amendment, Shelby claims.
Yet, this is directly from the president, during his speech on guns Tuesday morning:
“Each time this comes up, we are fed the excuse that common-sense reforms like background checks might not have stopped the last massacre, or the one before that, or the one before that, so why bother trying,” Obama said. “I reject that thinking. We know we can’t stop every act of violence, every act of evil in the world, but maybe we could try to stop one act of evil, one act of violence.”
But Gov. Robert Bentley is no better. Bentley, responding to Obama’s executive orders, went as far as to claim Obama is trying to take away Americans’ rights to own guns.
“America’s founding fathers prioritized the right to keep and bear arms, and President Obama is overstepping his authority and threatening to take away our 2nd amendment rights. It is unacceptable for the President to bypass Congress and the U.S. Constitution with his plan,” Bentley said on his website. “The overreach by the President seems to be his preferred way of leading our country, and it is another reason why it is critical for Americans to send a conservative back to the White House in November. I encourage the Alabama congressional delegation to listen to the message of the Alabama people and fight to protect the fundamental rights of gun owners.”
Which of Obama’s actions threatens “the fundamental rights of gun owners”? Not one. Obama pointed out he supports the Second Amendment, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be reasonable limits on gun ownership.
Thirty thousand people die in the United States each year because of guns. Mass shootings are regular events now.
Apparently, for Shelby and Sessions and Bentley and others, that just comes with the territory.
The First Amendment guarantees free speech, but not without limits. We are guaranteed the right to freely assemble, but tell that to those in that Charleston, S.C., church who were murdered by a racist as they assembled for a prayer meeting. We are promised life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but tell that to the 26 people — 20 of them children — who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
These and more tragic events occurred because of the insane gun culture in this country. Because of the easy availability of guns — especially handguns — in this gun-crazy society.
Shelby, et al, know what a real leader Obama is. It scares them, so they spend most of their time running against him. Obama, in seven years in office, has done more to help this nation than Shelby has in nearly 30 years in the Senate.
Shelby says he’s “fighting for America to look more like Alabama.”
I love this beautiful state, but that, friends, would be a real tragedy.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each Wednesday for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]