POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 12/19

How Conservatives Re-Interpreted the 2nd Amendment

Jeffrey Toobin: “Conservatives often embrace ‘originalism,’ the idea that the meaning of the Constitution was fixed when it was ratified, in 1787. They mock the so-called liberal idea of a ‘living’ constitution, whose meaning changes with the values of the country at large. But there is no better example of the living Constitution than the conservative re-casting of the Second Amendment in the last few decades of the twentieth century.”

“The re-interpretation of the Second Amendment was an elaborate and brilliantly executed political operation, inside and outside of government. Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 brought a gun-rights enthusiast to the White House. At the same time, Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican, became chairman of an important subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he commissioned a report that claimed to find ‘clear–and long lost–proof that the second amendment to our Constitution was intended as an individual right of the American citizen to keep and carry arms in a peaceful manner, for protection of himself, his family, and his freedoms.’ The N.R.A. began commissioning academic studies aimed at proving the same conclusion. An outré constitutional theory, rejected even by the establishment of the Republican Party, evolved, through brute political force, into the conservative conventional wisdom.”

Wonk Wire: Has there always been a right to own a gun?

NRA Breaks Silence on Shootings

The National Rifle Association, breaking days of silence, issued a statement saying it is “shocked, saddened and heartbroken” by the elementary-school shootings in Connecticut and is ready to offer “meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

The group will hold a news conference in Washington, D.C. on Friday

Snyder Vetoes Concealed Weapons Bill

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) vetoed legislation that would have allowed gun owners with extra training to carry concealed weapons in public schools, the Detroit News reports.

“The bill sought to eliminate gun-free zones for concealed pistol license holders by requiring more training and prohibiting them from open-carrying weapons inside schools, stadiums, churches and hospitals.”

Is Newtown Obama’s Birmingham Moment?

Todd Purdum: “I can’t help wondering if the bullets of Sandy Hook Elementary will be for Obama what the snarling dogs and high-pressure fire hoses of Birmingham, Alabama, were for John F. Kennedy in 1963: the human tragedy that will force him to take a political risk, simply because it is right.”

Obama’s Gun Push Takes Shape

President Obama “would actively support an impending proposal next year to reinstate a ban on assault weapons as part of the wide-ranging effort the president promised to initiate in response to mass shooting incidents this year,” NBC News reports.

White House press secretary Jay Carney also said that Obama “was additionally willing to consider limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines and closing a loophole allowing individuals to purchase firearms at gun shows without a background check.”

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) told Greg Sargent that Democrats would also consider “including other ideas like limiting high capacity magazine clips, beefing up background checks, expanding mental health services, and looking at violence in movies and video games.”

Marc Ambinder: Guns need good. Starve them.

Pelosi Wants Clinton to Run in 2016

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told NBC News she wants Hillary Clinton to make another bid for the White House in 2016.

Said Pelosi: “Wouldn’t that be exciting? I hope she goes. Why wouldn’t she? She would be president of the United States, and she would be great. And if she decided to run, and I think she would win, she would go into the White House as well prepared or better prepared than almost anybody who has served in that office in a very long time.”

Snyder’s Popularity Plummets in Michigan

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan finds Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is one of the most unpopular governors in the country. Only 38% of voters approve of him, while 56% disapprove.

Key finding: Snyder has dropped a net 28 points from the weekend before the election, when his approval rate was 47% to 37%.

“There’s not much doubt that it’s the right to work law and his embrace of other actions by the Republican legislature that are driving this precipitous drop in Snyder’s popularity. Only 41% of voters in the state support the right to work legislation, while 51% are opposed to it. If voters got to decide the issue directly only 40% of them say they would vote to keep the law enacted, while 49% would vote to overturn it.”

How Technology Has Restored the Soul of Politics

Joe Trippi: “All these changes in democratic politics will be profound, although not all the consequences will be good. New technologies can manipulate, empower, or do both. There will be plenty of actors in both politics and business who will use the innovations of the Obama 2012 campaign as tools to manipulate people. But for me, right now, it feels as if technology has empowered people and given politics back its soul.”

Obama Knew How You Would Vote Even Before You Did

Read Write: “What the Obama team did was little short of amazing. It essentially created a cohort-analysis system of data to judge every single voter it wanted to get to the polls. Obama’s team took the usual system of analytics and reduced it to the most granular level: the individual voter.”

“The analytics campaign, led by chief analytics officer Dan Wagner, was able to assign voters individual scores based on if and how they would vote. In doing this, Wagner’s team could accurately predict human behavior.”

Sasha Issenberg: “But underneath all that were scores describing particular voters: a new political currency that predicted the behavior of individual humans. The campaign didn’t just know who you were; it knew exactly how it could turn you into the type of person it wanted you to be.”

Booker More Likely to Make Senate Bid

Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) “is leaning against jumping into next year’s race for New Jersey governor and instead is having serious discussions about running for the U.S. Senate in 2014, according to three people familiar with the matter,” the Wall Street Journalreports.

However, Booker “has been talking about the governor’s race with strategists both steeped in New Jersey politics and independent from it, and he could change his mind at the last minute and still run for the state’s powerful executive position next year, the people said.”

Politicker notes Booker is still keeping his online options open.

Arizona Electors Question Obama Birth Certificate

Arizona’s 11 Republican electors formally cast their ballots for Mitt Romney yesterday — “but not before three of them said questions remain about whether Barack Obama was born in this country,” Arizona Public Radio reports.

Said state GOP Chairman Tom Morrissey: “I’m not satisfied with what I’ve seen. I think for somebody in the president’s position to not have produced a document that looks more legitimate, I have a problem with that.”

Obama Gets Bounce But No Mandate

A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds President Obama’s approval rate at 54%, his highest (excepting a brief bin Laden bounce) in nearly two years. And even while weakly rated on the economy, he leads the Republicans in trust to handle it by 18 percentage points, his widest margin since July 2009.

That said, Americans by 56% to 34% say Obama does not have “a mandate to carry out the agenda he presented during the presidential campaign,” but rather should “compromise on things the Republicans strongly oppose.”

Closer to a Fiscal Cliff Deal

President Obama delivered to House Speaker John Boehner a new offer on to resolve the pending fiscal crisis, “a deal that would raise revenues by $1.2 trillion over the next decade but keep in place the Bush-era tax rates for any household with earnings below $400,000,” the New York Times reports.

“The offer is close to a plan proposed by the speaker on Friday, and both sides expressed confidence that they were closing in on a major deficit-reduction plan that could be passed well before January… The two sides are now dickering over price, not philosophical differences, and the numbers are very close.”

Wall Street Journal: “After weeks of public sniping, negotiations have intensified in recent days, with both sides making significant concessions. Obstacles still remain, especially the reaction of lawmakers on both extremes, but the movement suggests negotiators could reach a compromise and pass by the end of the year a deal to avert a series of spending cuts and tax increases set to take effect in January.”

Politico: “The president’s proposal is not a final offer, but the White House views it as something that should get the two sides close to a deal because they have met Republicans more than halfway on spending and halfway on revenues.”

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