We now appear to have entered a kabuki era of American politics.
With a gaggle of school children as living props and an obsequious vice president at hand, President Obama Wednesday proposed a broad array of actions he says might curb American gun violence.
Down in Texas, Gov. Rick Perry promptly posted on his website a strong critique of Obama’s plans, warning that mere laws, which he called “the last redoubt of secularism,” were totally insufficient to address the “evil prowling in the world.”
Obama’s legislative ideas, which he well knows have little if any chance of ever emerging from Congress with favorable votes, delighted the left side of his liberal party and could help him in public opinion polls. And the remarks of Perry, likely the most outspoken conservative opponent of creeping federal influence in the states, are unlikely to deter the likes of Obama and Biden, as he well knows.
Even as other participants began emitting their reactions to the president’s latest trumped up confrontation, both sides know that nothing said or done in the day’s political theater will stop some future unbalanced individual from unleashing his ballistic revenge somewhere someday.
Wednesday’s events demonstrate how little gets done, but both parties keep their adherents in line. Supporters of both sides can feel better with their advocate’s rhetoric. “I’m putting forward a specific set of proposals based on the work of Joe’s task force,” Obama said. “And in the days ahead, I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality.”