SOTU: Deserving a Vote

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President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), gestures as State of the Union address during a jointhe gives his session of Congress on Capitol Hill on February 12, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama, flanked by Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), gestures as State of the Union address during a jointhe gives his session of Congress on Capitol Hill on February 12, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Facing a divided Congress, Obama focused his speech on new initiatives designed to stimulate the U.S. economy. (Photo by Charles Dharapak-Pool/Getty Images)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

A key moment of President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday was when he insisted that various groups deserved a vote on Gun Control measures in Congress. The President did not elaborate if the issues should pass, but was firm on his point that his proposals deserved a vote.

However, how that vote should take place and by whom are just some of the important details that were missing from the President’s imploring.

Do the proposals deserve a vote in a committee? If so, what if the proposals die there? Would that have been enough? Is the vote that these ideas deserve by the full House or the full Senate? If so, then is the President asking lawmakers to allow these bills to cruise out of committees, even if they face opposition?

Don’t worry, I do actually understand the big picture.

I realize that the President is not interested in the intricacies of how a bill gets to the vote of the entire House.

I get the fact that he would like every lawmaker to be on record on these proposals, more than simply a few lawmakers in a particular committee.

I also understand that the President’s assumption is that “No” votes will become weapons against GOP lawmakers running for election in 2014.

However, I also know that the President is making a pretty big assumption that the issue of guns will be so clear cut across America.

Everyone in America is united in their desire to halt mass shootings and stop gun violence. However, we are very divided when it comes to how that should be accomplished.

There are some ideas that, while facing some opposition by gun rights activists, may seem palatable to most Americans. However, that is not a long list. All of the President’s proposals do not fall under that category.

And even though most may think this is a voting issue for Republicans, it is Democrats from rural or conservative districts that find themselves in a tighter pinch on this issue. That may be a factor that the President is underestimating.

Having the GOP in control of the U.S. House may actually protect Democrats who fear that voting lockstep with the President on this issue will cause them to lose their seats in 2014. But that may not protect them if every individual vote gets national attention.

For the President, it’s a no-lose proposition because if his proposals get passed, then he wins. And if they are voted down by Republicans, then he can blame the problem on the GOP.

But Democratic lawmakers do have something to lose. They may end up as collateral damage in the issue. It’s too early to know at this point, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see at least a little hesitation from more than a few Democrats. Again, it’s not a clear cut issue on many of the proposals. If it were that easy, they would have been passed by now.

The different groups that the President listed on Tuesday may indeed deserve a vote from the entire Congress on gun issues. But the President should consider all the ramifications of his demands before he assumes that the votes will go his way. He may be surprised by the real end results.
About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

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