Former U.S. President Bill Clinton spoke with top Democratic donors at a private meeting on Saturday where, according to Politico, he warned the group to treat gun control differently than other political issues.
“Do not patronize the passionate supporters of your opponents by looking down your nose at them,” Clinton reportedly said. “A lot of these people live in a world very different from the world lived in by the people proposing these things…”
He proceeded to explain how, though polling data is certainly useful for politicians, it doesn’t measure the emotion and enthusiasm associated with an issue. And it’s the passion associated with gun control, Clinton argued, that makes it so delicate.
Clinton dedicated a substantial portion of his 40-minute address before a joint meeting of the Obama National Finance Committee and a group of business leaders to the issue of guns and gun control, saying that it was a test-case for President Barack Obama’s grass-roots movements…
“The way the Obama campaign won Florida, won Ohio, won this election by more than projected was the combination of technology, social media and personal contact,” Clinton said. That’s “the only way that our side will ever be able to even up the votes in the midterms and as these issues come up, really touch people and talk to them about it.”
But he said that he understands the culture that permeates a state like Arkansas — where guns are a longstanding part of local culture.
“A lot of these people … all they’ve got is their hunting and their fishing,” he told the Democratic financiers. “Or they’re living in a place where they don’t have much police presence. Or they’ve been listening to this stuff for so long that they believe it all.” [Emphasis added]
In the opinion of the former president, those who are patting themselves on the back for their “brave” efforts on gun control may not be seeing the full picture.
“Do not be self-congratulatory about how brave you [are] for being for this” gun control push, he said. “The only brave people are the people who are going to lose their jobs if they vote with you.”