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Opening Arguments

Incrementally wrong

Be suspicious of both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on gun rights. Why? Paul Helmke isn't upset with them:

With both contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination evading the gun control issue as if it were sniper fire, you couldn't blame gun control advocates for feeling bitter. Yet Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence--the pro-gun control counterweight to the National Rifle Association--says Obama and Clinton are "coming fairly close to delivering the message we'd like." On licensing and registering guns, Helmke says, they are "being realistic" in recognizing "there's no support for pushing that forward at this stage." His thoughts on the candidates' ducking questions on the D.C. gun ban? "They're politicians, and most politicians on tough calls do not answer."

Actually, the article goes on to point out that, gun-control measures not having done too well of late, the Brady campaign is backing off from some of its proposals and going for a more "incremental" approach. Helmke uses a football analogy: "The other side has marched the ball down on the 2 yard line??.??.??.??but now we got the ball back. The bad news is we've got 98 yards to go. You don't throw the Hail Mary pass.??.??.??.??You've got three downs to get a first down."

Well, OK. But an "incrementalist" still wants to get the same goal line.