Instapundit (who is pro-guns) calls Howard Dean a political genius for his pro Second Amendment views, which are drawing fire from some Democrats. He notes that “being attacked by … on gun control will be a big plus in the general election if Dean gets the nomination. Democrats will vote for him anyway, and it’ll help him with the many moderates put off by the gun-prohibitionist mindset of the Democratic Party.”
Meanwhile Philip Greenspun, who is obviously not a gun afficionado more or less agrees (albeit with a certain flippant and sardonic air):
“Why are gun laws so important? Consider Johnny Paycheck. He has no freedom of speech, at least if he wants to keep his job. He has no freedom of action; a hierarchy of managers tells him what to do all day every day. Johnny Paycheck has no wealth; all of his income goes for rent and payments on his SUV. He has no pension; his retirement mutual fund is being eviscerated by managerial looting at American public companies. Johnny spends about 40% of his income on various taxes so that rich people don’t have to pay taxes.
Why does Johnny support the Republicans then, the party of corporate looters and tax cuts for rich people? He expects rich people and the government to take away all of his money and freedom, regardless of which party is in power. The difference to him is that the Republicans will allow him to keep his gun, the one shred of personal dignity that he has left. The Democrats want to take away Johnny’s gun, his last vestige of personal freedom and manhood.
I don’t know much about guns or Johnny Paycheck, but I think the time has come for a political candidate who is not easily branded as a Johnny Democrat. Or a Johnny Republican for that matter. So perhaps that’s one reason why Howard Dean, a pro-gun Democrat who has been openly critical of the Iraq war (before it was politically opportune to do so), has gained a solid ranking in the polls. God knows it’s not because of that strangely forced grin that he wields.