It was a high states game of political brinksmanship and for now President Obama has lost.
The Democrats simply could not garner the 60 votes that they needed in the Senate to pass a gun control amendment to expand background checks on gun purchases.
The final vote was 54 for, 46 against.
Now, understand this: The Democrats were only able to muster 48 votes of their own for this relatively mild amendment. To that they added two votes from Independent Senators who usually caucus with the Democrats.
So, even with the Independents, they still couldn't tack together a majority of votes.
Remember: The Democrats control the Senate. They go into any vote with (counting the Independents) a total of 54 votes that they should be able to solidly line-up. But they had four Democrat defections -- Democrats who refused to follow their party and voted against this amendment.
Fortunately, they picked up four Republican votes -- four Republicans who defected.
So, think about this: If the Democrats had kept all of their potentially solid votes (Democrats and Independents) and kept the GOP defections and added just two more GOP defections, this thing could have passed.
It was basically a matter of six votes.
Why didn't that happen?
Because President Obama is really more interested in campaigning and demonizing Republicans than he is in reaching across the aisle to make a deal. Obama doesn't want a Democrat/Republican, bi-partisan unity vote.
If he did, he would have gone to the GOP with a solid 58 votes and that likely would have tipped the scales and brought two more Republicans in the fold and the scales would have been tipped.
But it wasn't worth it for him to keep his own party together and then just two more GOP votes. He was more interested in campaigning all over the country, using parents of the Sandy Hook massacre as props and denouncing gun owners and second amendment defenders. All that was more important to Obama and his team than quietly working out a deal.
He didn't want to do the hard work that needed to be done.
Instead -- as is often the case with Obama -- he wanted to grandstand; to campaign; to propagandize.
He simply doesn't appear to be interested in leading and building consensus the way a president should.
Even now (though he couldn't keep his own party together on this issue) Obama is trying to pin all the blame on the Republicans.
He's trying to set up the narrative for the 2014 congressional elections. He's in the next campaign already.
That's all the president seems to care about -- the next campaign. That always seems to be his primary concern.
This isn't leadership, it's demagoguery.
And it's sad.
Because the simple truth is that four more Democrat votes (which Obama should have had in his pocket) and just two more GOP defections (which Obama never even attempted to get) could have changed the outcome of this vote.
So, here's our message to liberals and gun bill advocates: Look to your own party; your own members in the Senate; your own leader and demand real, honest leadership!
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