The best part of this segment about rational, sane gun laws is Matthew Dowd, centrist extraordinaire, taking a stand firmly against the usual gun argument that the answer to mass shootings like Sandy Hook is to simply arm everyone, including teachers, doctors, preachers and Santa. Dowd made an apt analogy to schoolyard bullies that's quite clear:
When there's a kid in the school yard with a baseball bat, we don't give everybody else baseball bats and say go to deal with it and defend yourself. What we do is we take the baseball bat away from the bad kid or the bully and then we sit down and say what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen -- we've got to take the baseball bat away from the bully.
When Matthew Dowd is the sanest voice, aside from Katrina VandenHeuvel who is always sane, progress is being made.
Grover Norquist plays the Tea Party hand as usual, claiming that this is just lefties ginning up lefty arguments for purely political purposes, which is the typical argument being advanced by gun nuts. I would like to remind Grover that he had no objection to two wars being started or passage of the Patriot Act because of 9-11. Is there no greater and more clear example of using tragedy to advance policy?
That's how it works, Grover. Things happen. People respond. Policy is made in response, for better or for worse. It sounds lovely to try and minimize it by saying "oh, you're just using this tragedy to advance your long-held beliefs." But that's how it works. It's time to stop saying that's a bad thing.
As for Mayor Cory Booker, he is playing the middle against the ends here, as usual. Since he's declared his intention to run for the Senate, he has made the political calculus that "sticking to the pragmatic center" is his safest and best pathway to that office.
Props to Dowd for leaving the safe zone and saying the right thing. Booker could take a lesson from him.
Full transcript below the fold.
VANDEN HEUVEL: The mental illness argument has been used to evade action. More guns and bullets, more dead children. We must, must regulate guns. And I do think it's a tipping point moment, not just The Daily News and The New York Post, but you're seeing pro-NRA senators like Senator Manchin, Senator Warner, Governor Hickenlooper in Colorado, others saying we must move, speed is of the essence.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I agree with that. And I think we're just saying that Senator Manchin did say we have to consider everything comprehensively. We should give Grover a chance to respond to some of this now.
NORQUIST: I think -- look, the National Rifle Association represents a great number of Americans and 20 percent will tell you in polls that they belong to the NRA. And so one, there's a very important issue, one is we should support the First Amendment as well as the Second Amendment. I'm not quite sure -- some people's suggestions of censorship there worry me.
But look, one, we have got to calm down and not take tragedies like this, crimes like this, and use them for political purposes. President Obama has been president for four years. If he thought that some gun control would solve this problem he should have been pushing it four years ago. He didn't.
Democrats had a majority in the House and a super majority in the House and the Senate for the first two years that they were in office. If they thought that this was really an important issue, they might have done something then. They didn't. So what they're now doing is politicizing a tragedy rather than trying to do something that might...
BOOKER: Can I be one -- I'm sorry. One point is very important. What happened in Connecticut was a grievous tragedy but every single day in America, every single day, people in communities like mine go to bed fearing violence. You see 34 people murdered every single day. And with carnage like this going on regularly in our country. When you have gun owners and non-gun owners, NRA members and non-NRA members that all agree -- forget the ideological divides, all agree on changes that would make cities like mine safer. I'm tired of the political debates. They're not necessary. I'm tired of the ideological positions. We don't even need to visit them. Let's stick to the pragmatic center where all Americans believe the same thing and let's pass legislation that would make America...
NORQUIST: And pragmatism means what works. And those states with conceal carry permits that allow honest and decent citizens to carry a gun with them, they have less crime and the crime has fallen faster than...
DOWD: When there's a kid in the school yard with a baseball bat, we don't give everybody else baseball bats and say go to deal with it and defend yourself. What we do is we take the baseball bat away from the bad kid or the bully and then we sit down and say what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen -- we've got to take the baseball bat away from the bully.