In a surreal day of political maneuvering, even for Springfield, [Senate President James "Pate" Philip] defied [Gov. George Ryan] for the third time this month, leaving the governor glowering and vowing to make passage of the [gun control] bill his priority when the spring session begins Jan. 12. ... Ryan began the day confident his last-minute push across the state had won him enough votes to prevail over his chief Republican nemesis.Here's Obama's version of the story from "The Audacity of Hope" (which I was searching for evidence of his opinion on gun control):
But then the governor discovered that two senators who had promised to vote for his compromise bill — Barack Obama (D-Chicago) and Kathleen Parker (R-Northbrook) — had decided to remain on vacation instead of returning to the capital for the third special session since the original law was struck down on Dec. 2.
Furious, Ryan tried to track them down, hoping to send a state plane to whisk them back to Springfield. But no one was in Parker's office, and aides to Obama, who was in Hawaii, refused to tell the governor's staff how to find him....
[D]uring the Christmas holidays, after having traveled to Hawaii for an abbreviated five-day trip to visit my grandmother and reacquaint myself with Michelle and then-eighteen-month-old Malia, the state legislature was called back into special session to vote on a piece of gun control legislation. With Malia sick and unable to fly, I missed the vote, and the bill failed. Two days later, I got off the red-eye at O’Hare Airport, a wailing baby in tow, Michelle not speaking to me, and was greeted by a front-page story in the Chicago Tribune indicating that the gun bill had fallen a few votes short, and that state senator and congressional candidate Obama “had decided to remain on vacation” in Hawaii. My campaign manager called, mentioning the potential ad [incumbent Democratic Congressman Bobby Rush] might be running soon—palm trees, a man in a beach chair and straw hat sipping a mai tai, a slack key guitar being strummed softly in the background, the voice-over explaining, “While Chicago suffered the highest murder rate in its history, Barack Obama…”(For what it's worth: Rush's son had been shot to death in October.)
Is Obama a man of "meaningful action" when it comes down to real gun-control legislation? I'm betting no. He'll talk about guns when plying liberals with lines like "cling to guns or religion" and while performing in the Theater of Grief after a momentous massacre, but when it comes to actual action, he's more the man in the beach chair and straw hat sipping a mai tai .