Last week, after the so-called Manchin-Toomey gun restriction compromise went down, some pundits — including MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough — attacked the Republican Party for being out of touch with the American public on guns.
But according to Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, it wasn’t a matter of where the public as a whole fell on the issue, but instead the sheer “intensity” of those who oppose gun control.
“I think — look, it’s a question of intensity,” Krauthammer said on this weekend’s broadcast of “Inside Washington.”
“I think I saw a poll where gun control ranked way down at the bottom of concerns of Americans. It’s about 4 percent, I think. Generally people are for checks and for gun control. But it isn’t the burning issue in their lives if they are pro-gun control,” he said.
“But if they are anti-gun control, it is extremely intense and that’s what people are responding to. It isn’t the plebiscite. It’s the people who come out and vote.”
“And that’s why you had the four Democrats who voted against it and that in the end was the key,” he continued. “There was a lot of resistance of course from Republicans. There were four of them who crossed over and supported the bill, including McCain, and of course Toomey, who proposed the compromise.”
“But I think it’s understandable,” Krauthammer concluded. “It’s a matter of intensity and if you are pro-gun, this means a lot. And that’s how you vote and that’s how the Democrats in the Senate saw it. And that’s why they ended up going the way they did.”