No, these Senators don't 'pay any price'. We are not stupid not to understand it is 'geography' - thinly populated rural states getting equal representation as that of densely populated urban states who overwhelmingly back 'background check' bill. Yes, for sure Senate is structurally anti-democratic. On top of that, there is no majority rule; it always needs 60 votes. Senators opposing 'background check' were not even in mood to let go the bill pass on majority votes.
What can we do then? For sure, Senate structure is not going to change anytime; especially in a divided country like ours. As many wise folks have pointed, what matters is 'passion', even if passionate gun advocates are in minority. We also know that, the same 'skewed structure' of Senate has been perfectly exploited by both parties on many occasions for their policy agenda. And finally even if Senate were to have it passed, chances of getting anything done in House were dim.
However, it was important to get this bill passed in Senate so as to pressurize House and at least have some progress done for 'gun sanity'. But defeating Obama (he has to take such risks anyways) as well as electoral calculations are far more important to these Senators. Who is to argue with these Red State Senate Democrats when they would ask: what is important - to retain Dem seats in Red States or to have a bill passed which goes nowhere while giving a solid opening to GOP against these Red State Democrats where Obama swagger is nothing?
Point is Obama, Democratic Party and these Red State Dem Senators (Pryor from Arkansas, Baucus from Montana, Heitkamp from North Dakota and Begich from Alaska) failed to create enough 'political space' to cross the Rubicon of 'taking on NRA' when rationality clearly indicates that sensible 'background check is a logical policy without compromising anyone's rights. May be it is too early (or we all are waiting for Michael Bloomberg to loosen up his purse and start financing high quality primary challenges on gun control agenda). No doubt these Democrats turned out to be 'chicken' at the most critical time. Or just may be this President goes too much by books. He is no LBJ or Nixon or 'slick Willy' (Clinton) to find the will of White House through Senate and Congress.
All right, Mr. President; we understand you will not be able to make Congress to love you nor the divided country to put enough pressure on Congress to change the course. But then isn't the route of FDR available to you Mr. President - take the war on Congress and fight to the end regardless of what results are?
OK, President's supporters can wait to see if there is any co-operation from GOP on Immigration and on Fiscal Issues (budget and debt ceiling). We can understand each issue like Immigration, Gun Control and Fiscal Management need a different approach. But if all these initiatives fail (as few on Right are already licking lips for a failed Presidency); Americans will be watching if any fighting spirit is left with this President to take us forward. To a large extent, it will be up to President Obama to make GOP to pay price for this maniac Gun Love.