January 6, 2016

Michael Bennet Really Hopes You Don’t Ask About Obama’s Gun Grab

President Obama’s announcement on Tuesday that he will go around Congress to force through new gun laws engendered strong responses from both sides of the aisle, with liberals applauding and and opponents of executive overreach voicing their disagreement. But for one vulnerable Colorado Democrat, less was more when it came to weighing in.

While Republican Sen. Cory Gardner immediately came out with a strongly-worded statement and fired off a string of Tweets:

“Once again, President Obama has decided to take divisive, unilateral action rather than work with Congress. Today’s announcement makes it clear that he has little respect for the constitutional rights of gun-owning Americans, and even less respect for our constitutional system of government.

And Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper rattled off statistics in support of President Obama’s “orders,” calling his unilateral action “an important step in saving lives across the country.”

But Sen. Michael Bennet, a staple on political prognosticators’ list of vulnerable senators, stayed silent. Late in the day, a Bennet spokesperson gave a milquetoast response when pressed by reporters, but Bennet himself has yet to say anything on the matter, instead cowering behind his staffer’s canned written statement. More than 24 hours after President Obama’s announcement there is still zero mention of the issue on Bennet’s website, social media platforms, or email blasts.

Facing a tough road to reelection, Bennet’s duck makes political sense: if he embraces the toxic new measures, he risks infuriating supporters of Colorado’s proud Second Amendment tradition that led to the hotly-contested and successful recall of two Democratic state senators in 2013. If he doesn’t embrace President Obama’s action, he will raise the ire of the left-wing of the Democratic base in a state that has been ground zero in the gun control debate.

Caught between a rock and a hard place, Bennet is clearly hoping no one remembers to ask him about it. By dodging issue after issue this election cycle, Bennet is proving he cares more about reelection than telling Coloradans where he stands.