Back on 29 March, in writing about the new election laws in Georgia, I pointed out that partisan, "mean-spirited 'gotcha!' jabs" by elected officials might thrill their base, but only empower their opposition.
Ladies and gentlemen, Exhibit Two, this time making the Democrats look bad and giving the Republicans a powerful issue, courtesy of President Biden: David Chipman, his nominee to be Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.* Most recently a Senior Policy Advisor at the anti-gun rights group Giffords, which is seriously motivating in and of itself, as an ATF Field Agent he was up to his elbows in the Branch Davidian mess in Waco, Texas.
Yeah, no. I don't expect any U.S. President, especially not a Democrat, to pick a rootin', tootin' reincarnation of Teddy Roosevelt to run ATF; I can even see why this President might think it's cute to tap a gun-grabber. But David Chipman could be the greatest Federal administrator since Herbert Hoover† and it wouldn't improve his chances of getting though the Senate confirmation process when he shows up reeking of the smoke from Waco.
Once again, a mean-spirited jab might delight a party's base -- but it's pure fuel for their opposition. Thanks, President Biden; the NRA needed a fund-raising boost to help getting through their bankruptcy and re-organization, and you've been a big help! Look for this to show up during the mid-term political campaigns, too.
* Imagine if the President could've found someone from the Women's Christian Temperance Union to take the job, and restart the battle that ended in 1933! It's odd, there's broad agreement on helping people cope with alcoholism and stop smoking without any bans of high-potency distilled spirits or assault cigars, and yet if you agree that people ought not shoot one another unless there's an imminent deadly threat but don't want to ban some or all guns, you're a horrible evil person who hates children and the poor.
† Look it up -- he was so gifted that Harry Truman set him to working out improvements in the fed.gov after WW II.
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