Don’t be surprised if the phrase that survives from today’s presidential speech in Hartford is one uttered by Sandy Hook mom Nicole Hockley. Hockley’s role as Obama’s introducer was a huge part of the day. Gun legislation in D.C. is stalled. Bringing anything to a up-or-down vote seems unlikely. The only people who can’t be blown off by the usual Washington games are the Newtown parents, who wield a moral force that defies the usual physics of the capital.
Hockley said the parents approached Connecticut legislators with “love and logic.” That’s a nice pairing, an antidote to the distrust and fanaticism we see right now. Obama liked it enough to repeat it in his speech, which was as notable for its energy as for its rhetoric. This was was the public policy address sponsored by Red Bull. Obama took the stage at a run, like a linebacker coming out of the tunnel onto the playing field. People who say he needs to kick it up a notch can’t complain about his fire in Hartford. His language was tough and visceral. “What’s more important, our children or an A grade from the gun lobby?” “Let’s make it a little harder for our kids to get gunned down?”
This was less a policy address and more like a rally, with Obama in his 2008 mode, using “change” so many times I lost count. Its purpose was to shame Congress into actually voting on the key gun control measures. Nobody wants to vote “no” right now, with universal background checks pulling around
90 percent support across every imaginable cross-tab, including gun-owning households. Even the idea of limiting magazine size was favored 58-38 in last week’s Q-poll.
Some of the Newtown parents left with him, heading to D.C. to thaw the frozen river.