An article in yesterday’s Washington Post, called “Sweeping new gun laws proposed by influential liberal think tank” (Center For American Progress) had the Fox Friends in an absolute tizzy of concern trolling this morning even though, as Chris Wallace later explained, there’s not much President Obama can do without Congress.
The article says CAP has “singular influence” in the Obama administration and is “pushing for a sweeping agenda of strict new restrictions on and federal oversight of gun and ammunition sales” including some “executive actions that would not require the approval of Congress — in what amounts to the progressive community’s wish list.” However, a closer read reveals that the “sweeping agenda” is really a bunch of moderate proposals and that the ones Obama can implement are even more so:
CAP’s proposals — which include requiring universal background checks, banning military-grade assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and modernizing data systems to track gun sales and enforce existing laws — are all but certain to face stiff opposition from the National Rifle Association and its many allies in Congress.
…There’s nothing here that interferes with the rights of people to have a gun to protect themselves,” CAP President Neera Tanden said.
…CAP’s top recommendation is to require criminal background checks for all gun sales, closing loopholes that currently enable an estimated 40 percent of sales to occur without any questions asked. The organization also wants to add convicted stalkers and suspected terrorists to the list of those barred from purchasing firearms.
Apparently, those are fightin’ words to Fox News. In every one of the four hours of Fox & Friends this morning, they complained about CAP's potential influence in the process.
For example, Alisyn Camerota began hour three with the following:
They said no the NRA reportedly, but the administration is getting ready to unveil sweeping new gun proposals and there’s word this morning that they may be taking some of their talking points from a group with a left-wing agenda.
As if Fox would have cared a fig had any White House taken their “talking points” from a group with a right-wing agenda.
A few minutes later, Tucker Carlson said,
So the topic this morning, who is really influencing the White House’s gun control legislation? Well, it could be the NRA, which is one of the largest grassroots organizations in America (co-host Mike Jerrick nodded in agreement), but no, it’s a left-wing think tank funded by George Soros in Washington. The Center for American Progress, according to the Washington Post this morning, has given a list of 13 or so gun control ideas to the White House – which they may act on by executive order.
As the three co-hosts whined the White House will probably listen more to CAP than the NRA, Carlson said that what “bothers people here is the elitism inherent in this conversation, that people with lots of money or positions of power ought to have their own bodyguards and ought to be subject to not the same laws as the rest of us… There is a feeling that average people kind of get the shaft. They’re being told, ‘No, you can’t defend yourself.’”
Yeah, just pay no attention to the boatloads of cash from the gun industry that the “grassroots” NRA uses to outspend the “elites” 25 to 1.
Later, Camerota broached the subject again, this time with Chris Wallace who ran down Joe Biden’s likely proposals on gun violence. Camerota said, “One of the things that they (CAP) are calling for is some executive action. If the president can’t get Congressional consensus, that he just unilaterally make some of these moves. Politically, is that wise or unwise in this climate today?"
Let me just make it clear, Aly, most of the things that I’ve talked about, he couldn’t do by executive action. He could do some things very much on the margin: better information sharing. The states for instance have a lot of information on mental health and criminal records and that doesn’t get into the national database. He could do some things to try to improve that. Or improve enforcement…
In terms of banning assault weapons or universal background checks, he couldn’t do that by executive action. So, what he can do just by himself, is only on the margins.
The New York Times reported similar possibilities earlier last week – which Fox & Friends somehow missed in an earlier round of inflammatory “wondering” about what President Obama might do a few days ago. But just as I didn’t expect those facts to replace paranoid speculation on Fox, there’s no reason to expect that Wallace’s will either.