In the wake of last week’s tragic school shooting in Connecticut, a liberal friend of mine posted a comment on his Facebook page insisting that it’s time for the country to have a “reasonable” discussion about balancing Second Amendment rights against public safety.
Naturally, all of his liberal friends oohed and ahhed over how sensible his comment was. This, after all, is how the left compromises – you give a little, we take a little.
With respect to guns, there’s no “reasonable” way to abridge rights that have been unambiguously set forth in the Constitution and consistently reinforced by the U.S. Supreme Court. It may seem “reasonable” from my friend’s perspective that he’s willing to settle for more restrictions on gun ownership when what he really wants is an outright ban, but there’s nothing remotely reasonable about it from the point of view of a gun owner being asked to surrender – or even limit – a freedom he already enjoys.
In liberal-speak, it’s called a compromise when you want everything I have and agree to settle for just a little more than I’m already giving you. Then again, these are the same clear thinkers who insist they’ve “cut” $11 billion from Washington state’s budget over the past three years even though we’ve ultimately spent more in every biennium than the one before it.
To them, you can cut the budget and still spend more than ever – just so long as you end up spending less than you’d really like to.
The same logic was on display again this week in the state Senate, where Republicans, outnumbered 26-23 by Democrats, worked out a novel plan under which two Democrats disenchanted with their own party’s free-spending ways agreed to join with Republicans to form a Majority Coalition Caucus that will outnumber the Dems, 25-24.
The coalition will be led by Sen. Rodney Tom, one of the maverick Democrats, who will hold the title of majority leader. Meanwhile, Republicans will chair six of the Senate committees (including the all-important Budget Committee) with Democrats in charge of six others and co-chairs for the remaining three.
The Democrats responded to the arrangement by first promising a floor fight, then “compromising” by proposing a power-sharing arrangement calling for co-chairs in every committee.
See how it works? When the Democrats held a narrow majority, there was no hint of sharing power. But the minute the tables were turned, they were only too happy to broker a “compromise” under which they get more than they have now and the Republicans give away some of their hard-earned advantage.
You give, I take. What could be more “reasonable” than that?
Jeff Rhodes is the managing editor of the Freedom Foundation, a free-market think tank based in Olympia.