Obama to use crony capitalism to pass gun control?

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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The Washington Post reports that a “working group” led by Vice President Biden is considering measures that would “require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.”

That’s not terribly surprising. What is perhaps more interesting is this tidbit:

To sell such changes, the White House is developing strategies to work around the National Rifle Association that one source said could include rallying support from Wal-Mart and other gun retailers for measures that would benefit their businesses. (Emphasis mine.)

This makes political sense. Businesses that sell guns would ostensibly benefit financially from this legislation.

In fact, this is precisely the kind of move my liberal Bloggingheads counterpart Bill Scher suggested in a New York Times op-ed titled “How Liberals Win,” this summer.

As Scher explained,

The necessity of corporate support for, or at least acquiescence to, liberal policies is not a new development in the history of American liberalism. Indeed it has been one of its hallmarks. (Emphasis mine.)

Scher continued,

Just look at how Mr. Obama handled the health care law. Recently released e-mail exchanges between the White House and the pharmaceutical lobby, which detail a path of compromises that won the drug industry’s support for the Affordable Care Act, certainly look more like “business as usual” than “change.” The e-mails include a White House promise of a “direct line of communication” to lobbyists, along with a suggestion to “stay quiet” about an agreement that buried a proposal for cheap drug imports.


But the e-mail trove is a case study in how liberal change becomes reality. The key to President Obama’s success was enlisting drug companies to pay for pro-reform advertisements. He also persuaded health insurers to forgo a major opposition campaign — by accepting the industry’s proposal for the individual mandate to buy private insurance and dropping plans for a competing public insurance option.

As Scher noted, liberals tend to win when they co-opt big business. Of course, one man’s “corporate support” is another man’s “liberal fascism.”

(Paging Tim Carney, Jonah Goldberg and Luigi Zingales.)

Matt K. Lewis