9:05 a.m. E.T.
The President’s big new gun proposal (a/k/a “crime proposal”) would be a monster legislative lift under any circumstances. Even with the changes in public mood after Newtown, and the media cheering the President on en masse, passing even a small package opposed by gun rights proponents will be a tough task. The only legislative strategy that has a prayer is to get Harry Reid to build a coalition, have Mitch McConnell not try to block it, and then, a la the fiscal cliff tax deal, give the House little choice but to vote on the Senate bill. Getting a bill through the regular order in the House Judiciary Committee, given where even more moderate House Republicans stand seems impossible.
Even if the Senate can pressure the House, without the type of deadline that forced John Boehner to break the “majority of the majority” rule and allow a vote on the President’s and Senate’s bill, it is hard to see the House passing a gun control measure that doesn’t differ significantly from the Senate package. That would mean a contentious conference committee, where the whole house of cards could come tumbling down.
The biggest wild cards right now are Harry Reid (does he really want to do this?) and the President’s ability to galvanize and marshal public opinion, starting today, then in his inaugural address, and State of the Union. Having the media on his side is a decided advantage, as is his grassroots operation and the manifest emotion he brings to the issue as a father. We are about to see the biggest gun control coalition ever assembled go into legislative battle with an entrenched opposition.
Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel, and Michael Bloomberg are all ready for this fight. But the other side has a long history of no surrender. Prediction about the outcome in this case is truly impossible.