Democrat mega-donors gathered in Washington, DC, for inaugural weekend and heard former Pres. Bill Clinton caution them about stressing an agenda of gun control. He managed to blend his caution with a condescending dismissal of America outside the big cities, saying, "All they've got is their hunting and their fishing."
The gun control agenda may be popular in New York, LA, and many places that have ballets, symphonies and $1,000-a-night hotels, but it can be downright toxic in rural America.
“Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them,” Clinton said to a gathering of the Obama National Finance Committee plus business leaders:
“A lot of these people live in a world very different from the world lived in by the people proposing these things; I know because I come from this world.
“A lot of these people … all they’ve got is their hunting and their fishing. Or they’re living in a place where they don’t have much police presence. Or they’ve been listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all.”
Other issues can be pursued, Clinton warned, such as immigration, health care, and economic legislation. But going after guns sets off a powerful opposition with greater built-in intensity. The 1994 assault weapons ban, he said, “devastated” more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers in the 1994 midterms. One who lost his race was then-Speaker of the House Tom Foley (D-Wash).
Gun issues also proved decisive in 2000, costing Al Gore West Virginia, Arkansas, Colorado and Tennessee. Had he carried any one of those, he would have beaten George W. Bush for the Presidency.
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