Pat Toomey vs GOP strategy to sabotage Obama on gun laws

Pat Toomey, the U.S. senator from Pennsylvania who broke ranks with the GOP and joined with Democrat Joe Manchin in sponsoring a bill demanding universal background checks for gun purchases, had some interesting things to say this week in an interview with journalists from his home state.

In a postmortem on the gun bill, which failed to gain the requisite 60 votes needed to overcome a silent filibuster in the Senate, Toomey mused: “In the end it didn’t pass because we’re so politicized. There were some on my side who did not want to be seen helping the president do something he wanted to get done, just because the president wanted to do it.”

The only surprise here is the person doing the talking. It’s hardly news that Republicans in Congress have mistakenly bought into the notion that their oath of office includes opposing President Barack Obama’s initiatives, even if Americans overwhelmingly agree with the president, as is the case with the background checks. But to have a Republican senator confirm that dynamic is noteworthy.

The Republican obstructionists aren’t fooling anyone but themselves. About the time Toomey was being interviewed, the Republican National Committee was preparing a You Tube message claiming that Obama had been ineffective in the first 100 days of his second term.

It features a voice on a newscast saying, “The gun bill failed, the sequester is here to stay…” Cravenly, the political commercial even flashes to a photo of Obama consoling one of the parents who lost a child in the Newtown, Conn., shooting.

How sad is that? By Toomey’s admission, Republicans won’t vote for sensible gun safety legislation because they can’t give Obama a political victory. Then they turn around and accuse him of being ineffective. Moreover, their insensitivity to victims and survivors of gun violence is stunning.

It’s no wonder Americans are so cynical about our political system.

Interestingly, Main Line Media News, the parent company of several publications in the Philadelphia area, reports that polling shows that Toomey’s approval ratings have jumped to record levels in Pennsylvania since he sponsored the gun bill, which 85 percent of the state’s residents support.

The question is, will he face a Republican primary? And could he win one?

©2013 The Kansas City Star

Read more From Our Inbox stories from the Miami Herald

  • Who pays the most on Tax Day?

    Which taxpayers experience the greatest tax burden — and who pays the most in taxes?

  • Attaching names to torture victims

    Are these the torture victims the CIA does not want us to know?

  • Why so many people die in ferry accidents

    Nearly 300 people are feared missing after a huge ferry capsized and sank off South Korea’s southwestern coast. Carrying a group of high school students on a field trip from a high school outside Seoul, the ship was en route to Jeju, a Korean resort island known as the country’s “Hawaii.” Scores of rescue divers have descended on the ship, and it is feared that the death toll will rise sharply in coming days. Survivors say many people remain trapped on the ship’s lower decks; 462 people were on board the ship, 281 of whom remain unaccounted for.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category