On the morning after he promised he wasn’t giving up his fight to curb sales of military-style rifles, Vice President Joe Biden looked to make good on his vow by getting out on the road today to stump for his cause of the year.
But the place he chose to go spoke volumes about the fate of the assault weapons ban, if not the entire Obama agenda for curbing armed violence. It wasn’t Charlotte, New Orleans, Little Rock, Anchorage or Billings — cities in red states represented by Democratic senators whose votes would be essential to advancing any gun control bill past an NRA-stoked filibuster, but would also significantly complicate their 2014 re-election prospects.
Instead, the veep landed this morning in New York, the epicenter of public support for assertive new gun control and the home turf of its second most-powerful advocate, Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
In electoral terms, Biden’s trip wasn’t about winning over swing voters; it was about bucking up the base. In other words, it’s not about pushing as hard as possible to eke out a majority in a vote that can’t be postponed. It’s about keeping core supporters hopeful and generous for a campaign that’s now going to last as long as the rest of this presidency.