Although OVERSHADOWED by the Boston Marathon attacks, the low point of Barack Obama’s presidency may have come when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid bowed to the reality of a Republican filibuster and tabled the bipartisan Toomey-Manchin bill to broaden gun background checks. At a press conference afterward, surrounded by weeping families whose children were massacred in Newtown and Tucson, Obama let himself get angrier than he had before in public. Reid vowed that it would be “only a matter of time” before Democrats passed meaningful gun legislation.
To most people, this assurance rang hollow. As several commentators pointed out, the impediment of the filibuster, the disproportionate power that the Senate imparts to rural, pro-gun states, and the fact that even the slaughter of 20 children could not get Congress moving all seem to indicate that curbing gun violence through legislation might be impossible.