Yesterday, former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which he told Senator Heidi Heitkamp that he felt "betrayed" by her vote against the Manchin-Toomey amendment and that he would like back the $25,000 he donated to her campaign.
As a strong supporter of gun safety laws (and non-violence in general) myself, I won't defend Senator Heitkamp's vote. However, Bill Daley has no grounds on which to feel "betrayed."
For Heitkamp to have "betrayed" him, she would have had to have expressed strong support for gun safety legislation during her election campaign, only to back away from such a position out of political cowardice.
From what I can discern, gun control was not an issue of debate in the 2012 Senate election in North Dakota. Heitkamp had made no statement advocating stronger gun safety laws that her votes would have contradicted.
Gun control was also not an issue in the 2012 presidential election either. Obama's campaign website featured no language on the issue even though there had been two high-profile mass shootings--Tucson and Aurora--since the 2010 election. During the town hall debate this past October, when asked about gun control, Obama expressed support for a renewal of the assault weapons ban--something about which he had spoken rarely if ever in the past few years; however, he quickly shifted the focus of his answer, as politicians are wont to do, to discuss education. His answer was, a least, better than that of Mitt Romney, who seemed to blame single mothers for all gun violence.
In his first term, Obama signed laws that allowed individuals to carry guns on Amtrak and in national parks. He signed no laws strengthening gun control, nor did he advocate for any. It comes as no surprise then that the Brady Campaign had awarded him an F.
Bill Daley was Obama's Chief of Staff from January 2011 to January 2012. He took office shortly after Gabby Giffords's shooting in Tucson. In his speech commemorating the injured and dead, Obama had only one quick reference to gun safety, focusing primarily on civility. It was a well-written speech, but it was a call for improving "character," rather than achieving meaningful social reform. Bill Daley may have encouraged the President to take up the issue of gun safety in the wake of the Tuscson incident behind-the-scenes, but if he was anything like his predecessor, we can assume that he did not.
There's another problem that I have with Daley's op-ed. Bill Daley hails from Illinois, not North Dakota. He is not a citizen of the state of North Dakota. He, consequently, would not have voted for Heidi Heitkmap in the 2012 election. Her obligation is to her constituents, not to her donors. Her constituents may disagree with her vote; however, they, not Daley, are the ones to be disappointed, but still not betrayed.
As I indicated earlier, a politician betrays his/her voters when violating a campaign pledge, when undermining promises that he/she repeatedly affirmed. Remember when Joe Biden said, "I guarantee you, flat guarantee you, there will be no changes in Social Security"? Hahaha, good one, Joe!