The title of today’s article comes from my coaching days. I was reminded of it last week when President Trump did a déjà vu, made for TV event in, “The studio.” (“The studio,” is a direct quote from Trump.) There is plenty to be disgusted with here. Let’s explore.
During my coaching career I had the good fortune to coach and/or socialize with many very talented basketball coaches. One of our sayings was that you should never get beat by the same out-of-bounds play twice. The idea was that you had seen it once, knew what was coming and therefore should be able to defend against it.
Recently Trump gathered a group of Congressional leaders at a White House meeting where he sat them around a table with the television cameras rolling and conducted a discussion about mass shootings with himself cast in the lead role. It was almost identical to the immigration meeting he held earlier this year. As of this writing the net tangible result of the immigration meeting is zero. I predict the mass shooting meeting will produce the same result.
The disingenuousness of the President was proven when he admitted he knew virtually nothing of the Manchin-Toomey bill and had to ask Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey (who were conveniently seated next to each other – good for a camera shot) to explain it to him. Anyone who has given any serious thought to America’s gun problem (and that is exactly what it is) has at least a cursory knowledge of Manchin-Toomey.
Republicans were reportedly aghast at some of the positions Trump supposedly embraced at the meeting. After a lunch with the NRA magically they all seemed to disappear. I figured the meeting was a typical Trump sham but in case he broke form and was sincere I saw him engineering a bill with poison pills for either side (another parallel with his immigration proposal in the State of the Union).
Reintroducing and passing Manchin-Toomey (which the West Virginia Democrat and Pennsylvania Republican would be happy to do) while far from a panacea, is certainly a good start and significant step forward. Adding Trumpian poison pills to it would make the endeavor a waste of time.
While the Republicans panicked, apparently the Democrats have figured out Trump. Most Democrats reacted along the lines of saying talk is cheap, let’s see if there is any action. They saw this “out-of-bounds play” once before.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stated that he has no plans to put any legislation along these lines on the Senate agenda anywhere in the near future. From House Speaker Paul Ryan we get crickets. It looks like my original prediction that nothing will happen is about to become the sad reality.
When we will do something reminds me of another story, this one political. Then former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir was speaking to a group of elementary school children in Philadelphia. One asked her when the Arabs and Israelis would stop killing each other. She replied: when they decide that they love their children more than they hate each other. When the gun lobby decides it loves American children more than the money from gun manufacturers we will begin to solve this problem.
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