By many indications, the gun-control cause would seem dead in America. Democrats, traditional champions of the cause, have been shrinking from the issue for fear that an anti-gun image would do them more harm than good at the polls. The gun lobby, whose membership and bank account grow bigger by the day, has successfully muscled through state legislatures laws that make it easier for people to buy and carry weapons. And the National Rifle Association certainly has a friend in U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, who recently reversed the Department of Justice's long-standing position on the Second Amendment and now argues that American citizens have a constitutional right to own guns.
If you happened upon the newspaper, radio, and television ads last year, you might have assumed they were the work of a conservative organization. After all, they spotlighted black students and their parents touting an idea close to the hearts of many Republicans: government-funded vouchers for tuition at private and parochial schools. The tagline for the multimillion-dollar ad campaign, however, was this: "Parental school choice is widespread -- unless you're poor."
On Thursday, President George W. Bush arrives in Moscow to meet with his Russian counterpart and pal, President Vladimir Putin, and to "liquidate the legacy of the Cold War" by signing a new arms-control treaty that will reduce both countries' nuclear arsenals. Indeed, Bush -- who has made it clear that he is very proud of his close relationship with Putin -- seems to view the upcoming visit as a crowning moment for the two leaders.