6:07 pm Dec. 14, 201210
Today, following the shooting massacre of 20 children in a Connecticut school, President Obama said that "meaningful action" needed to be taken to prevent such tragedies from happening in the future.
But what "meaningful action" can Obama actually take, given Republican control of the House and Congress' deeply felt fear of the politically mighty National Rifle Association? And politics aside, what new laws would actually solve or make a dent in the country's crazed-gunman problem?
Rep. Jerry Nadler said thinks that the president has only one option.
"There’s only one meaningful action he can take, which is to take on the N.R.A., label them as the enablers of mass murderers* they are, really push for strong gun-control legislation and call out those congressional leaders who don’t support it," Nadler told me this afternoon.
"It is time to call out the N.R.A. as enablers of mass murder and start embarrassing people and saying, 'Who do you stand with? The parents and children of this country or the potential mass murderers?'"
Nadler said there's nothing else Obama can do, realistically.
"There is no other meaningful action," Nadler said. "He has to know that. ... I can’t imagine what else he could have meant."
Nadler attributes the N.R.A.'s power to its ability to terrify politicians.
"If you cross the N.R.A. in certain districts, you know that X percent of people are going to come out and vote against you just because of that," said Nadler. "The N.R.A. will come out and run dishonest ads saying you're in favor of taking guns away from hunters."
By Nadler's logic, the only way to counteract the N.R.A. electoral influence is to wield the power of really bad P.R., and he thinks the president is well-equipped to do that, even if he's been unwilling in the past.
CORRECTION: The original version misquoted the congressman. He said Obama should label the N.R.A. as "enablers of mass murderers," not as mass murderers.