Many gun rights advocates will open their discussion about gun rights by pointing out that they don’t believe convicted felons should have guns, a position I have some issues with. Most will also say that those who are found to have guns in their possession should go to jail. The question is, what about those who are imprisoned for being felons with guns but weren’t really felons?
USA Today had the story yesterday.
A USA TODAY investigation, based on court records and interviews with government officials and attorneys, found more than 60 men who went to prison for violating federal gun possession laws, even though courts have since determined that it was not a federal crime for them to have a gun.
Many of them don’t even know they’re innocent.
The legal issues underlying their situation are complicated, and are unique to North Carolina. But the bottom line is that each of them went to prison for breaking a law that makes it a federal crime for convicted felons to possess a gun. The problem is that none of them had criminal records serious enough to make them felons under federal law.
Still, the Justice Department has not attempted to identify the men, has made no effort to notify them, and, in a few cases in which the men have come forward on their own, has argued in court that they should not be released.
Just two days before President Barack Obama is set to give his jobs speech before a joint session of Congress, Mitt Romney laid out his proposals to get the economy moving again. Here is the red meat from Romney’s editorial in USA Today:
Only the individual initiative of entrepreneurs, workers, investors and inventors enables companies, and our economy as a whole, to flourish. We must once again unleash the tremendous economic potential of the American people. The contrast between what the Obama administration has done and what I would do as president could not be starker.
First, President Obama has raised or threatened to raise taxes on both individuals and businesses. I would press hard in the opposite direction. Marginal income tax rates and tax rates on savings and investment must be kept low. Further, taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for middle-income taxpayers should be eliminated. Our corporate tax rate is among the world’s highest. It leaves U.S. firms at a competitive disadvantage and induces them to park their profits abroad, benefiting the rest of the world at our expense. I will fix these problems with permanent solutions. Ultimately, I will press for a total overhaul of our overly complex and inefficient system of taxation.
“Mr. Romney could push someone out of an airplane and blame the ground for killing him.” - Wall Street Journal
While Mitt Romney is pushing his plans to repeal ObamaCare - a goal I hope we see attained - in USA Today, more information showing a desire to bring the individual mandate to the national level is coming to the surface. Via Dave Weigel comes this quote from 1994:
The question about Romney is where he would stand in Congress’s internecine battles. Would he side with Republicans such as John Chafee who have tried to develop constructive alternatives to Democratic legislation or with Republicans such as Phil Gramm and Newt Gingrich who have been willing to paralyze Congress for the sake of embarrassing the Clinton administration? Romney has indicated that he would side with the moderate wing. He endorsed the crime bill and refused to back Gingrich’s jejune “Contract with America.” He told me he would have backed Chafee’s health care bill. “I’m willing to vote for things that I am not wild with,” he said.
I realize Romney does well in polls, generally in the top two or three, and that he is the choice of many “business” types. However, his inconsistencies are essentially drowning his credibility on health care, which will be one of the bigger issues the eventual Republican nominee with have to deal with in a general election against President Barack Obama.
Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced a two-year freeze on federal wages (non-civilian defense would be excluded) that would save $5 billion:
“The hard truth is that getting this deficit under control is going to require some broad sacrifice, and that sacrifice must be shared by employees of the federal government,” Mr. Obama told reporters. He called federal workers “patriots who love their country” but added, “I’m asking civil servants to do what they’ve always done” for the nation.
The pay freeze amounted to an opening bid as the president and Republican Congressional leaders begin jousting in earnest over tax and spending policy. It also illustrated how Mr. Obama can use his executive power on occasion to get ahead of newly elected Republicans; they had been talking about making such a move when they assume control of the House and additional Senate seats in January.
But while the move represents a gesture toward public anger over the anemic economic recovery and rising national debt, the $5 billion to be saved over two years will barely dent a deficit that has exceeded $1 trillion for the past two years.
Obama is almost taking a page right out of the House Republicans’ Pledge to America, where the soon-to-be majority made a promise to take on this issue by putting a hiring freeze in place (and as Philip Klein notes, they’ve supported a pay freeze, as well).
A new poll from CNN shows voter discontent with President Barack Obama mounting as a “generic Republican” would beat him in 2012:
Pres. Obama trails a generic GOPer in a WH ‘12 re-election bid, according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll released today. Among registered voters, fully half, 50%, said they were more likely to vote for a generic GOPer, while just 45% said they were more likely to vote for Obama.
While the numbers are striking, the generic ballot at this stage doesn’t always mean the incumbent pres. is destined for just one term. Prior to his re-election bid, George W. Bush never trailed a generic Dem, according to trends from what was then the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll. The closest a generic Dem came to Bush was 47-43% in Sept. ‘03.
Bill Clinton, on the other hand, trailed a generic opponent from the GOP by wide margins. In Dec. ‘94, a month after his party was drubbed at the polls in the midterm elections, the generic GOP candidate led Clinton, 53-39%.
CNN also tested the GOP contenders against one another in a national primary. Ex-MA Gov. Mitt Romney (21%) edged ahead of ex-AK Gov. Sarah Palin (18%), with ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich (15%), ex-AR Gov. Mike Huckabee (14%) and Rep. Ron Paul (10%) trailing behind.
The poll was conducted with registered voters, which tends to tilt Democratic, so I would wager that the numbers are somewhat inflated. You can view more information on the poll here.
President Barack Obama doesn’t need anymore bad news, but that’s exactly what Obama got yesterday as Gallup released new approval numbers, which are highlighted by poor numbers on the War in Afghanistan and the economy:
Support for Obama’s management of the war fell to 36%, down from 48% in a February poll. Now, a record 43% also say it was a mistake to go to war there after the terrorist attacks in 2001.
The decline in support contributed to the lowest approval ratings of Obama’s presidency. Amid a lengthy recession, more Americans support his handling of the economy (39%) than the war.
Only 41% of those surveyed Tuesday through Sunday approved of the way Obama is handling his job, his lowest rating in the USA TODAY/Gallup Poll since he took office in January 2009. In Gallup’s separate daily tracking poll, his approval was at 45% Monday.
We’re coming off the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the economy is hobbling along and is just as vulnerable as it was with the stimulus bill was passed early last year. Obama is facing the prospect of a Republican takeover of the House of Representatives and enough losses in the Senate to slim down the Democrats’ majority in the Senate, President Barack Obama has told of this own party that it may not be a good idea for him to campaign for them.
The bounce Democrats got with passage didn’t last very long. According to the most recent Gallup/USA Today survey, negative views of the health care bill still prevail:
In the poll, 50% call passage of the bill “a bad thing” and 47% say it was “a good thing.” That’s at odds with the findings of a one-day USA TODAY Poll taken a week ago — a day after the U.S. House approved the legislation — in which a 49%-40% plurality called the bill “a good thing.”
Politico notes that the impact of the health care bill has been marginal. He is almost where he was before it passed Congress:
The most prominent political prognosticator who predicted a post-reform bump for Obama was President Bill Clinton – who told reporters last year that Obama would add 10 points to his approval rating “the minute health reform passed.”
But Obama’s approval in the Gallup daily tracking poll stands at 48 percent – near his all-time low of 46 percent in the three-day rolling average. Near the time of passage, Obama ticked up to 50 percent in the poll.
“People thought Obama might get a significant uptick,” said Frank Newport of the Gallup Poll. “Obama’s approval seems to have moved up a few points during and slightly after passage. Then it fell back down again.”