The modest gun control policy changes announced in a passionate speech by President Obama on Tuesday are not of great substantive importance. But they reveal important truths about the state of American politics. The disproportionate Republican opposition to the president’s minor executive actions on gun control isn’t just about the party’s opposition to any and all efforts to stem the tide of gun violence. Their reflexive opposition also reflects their refusal to cede any legitimate authority to the president.
After all, the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination didn’t even know what executive actions – if any – Barack Obama would take on gun control after his Monday meeting with the attorney general, Loretta Lynch. That didn’t stop them, because they knew that they would oppose whatever actions Obama planned to take.
It’s called “adversarial politics” and it’s the way the system works. The opposition is supposed to, erm, oppose?