MSNBC Panel Swoons Beto ‘Found His Voice,’ Hails Plans for Forced Gun Confiscation

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In the first 30 minutes after Thursday’s 2020 Democratic presidential debate, MSNBC’s assembled cast of liberals journalists and pundits were weak in the knees when it came to Beto O’Rourke, gushing that the “authentic” Texan “found his voice,” “spoke with clarity,” and had a “passion and sincerity” to take away millions of guns by force should be applauded. 

Not only were those nutty claims made, but one panelist even hailed O’Rourke for giving room for “voluntary buybacks” to become a moderate path forward while expressed hope that mass gun control and banning of guns like the AR-15 become popular like gay marriage.

 

 

Deadline: White House host Nicolle Wallace went first, knocking Julian Castro as “the skunk at the garden party” attacking Joe Biden’s age before swooning for O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg (click “expand”):

I think Beto O’Rourke, who found his voice after the massacre in El Paso, he still has that voice. He still spoke with clarity. He seems to have gained some confidence between sort of matching the moments. He tends to use salty language. I worked for John McCain, so I find that familiar and refreshing. Some people might not like it. He still has that sort of clarity that he really showcased after El Paso. He had some moments. But whether it jostles him out of sort the bottom of the top ten, I don't know and I think Pete Buttigieg was very much on brand tonight. So, whoever merges as the nominee, Buttigieg will be named at a very early stage as someone who will be in his cabinet because he’s just so talented and so likable. 

Hardball host Chris Matthews chimed in with the lone voice of dissent on the feasability of O’Rourke’s dangerous plans:

Also on a sort of purity test, Beto came along and said he’s going to not just buy back automatic weapons — the semi-automatic weapons, but demand that they sell them back. I don’t know where you get away with that. I noticed that Kamala talked about an executive order. This would be an extraordinary ruling by the Supreme Court that would allow a president to use executive orders to demand the end of ownership by automatic weapons — by semi-automatic assault weapons[.]

Radical AM Joy host Joy Reid boasted that “Beto has a great night — best debate so far because now I can see in him the confidence” and that “[h]e just wants to send a message that I think is authentic.”

Seeking to come across as representing the every man, Lyin’ Brian Williams posed to Wallace on guns, who replied by touting corporate liberalism (click “expand”):

WILLIAMS: Let's talk about guns and let’s talk about the way Democrats talk about guns. I also note we have a former senator from the state of Missouri here with us. Guns, red meat, Ford F-150s, if they're looking to get back that Democratic voter that might have voted for Obama and then went for Donald Trump, the blue collar voters who are insulted when Democrats come to town and say don't worry, you are all going to get green jobs, no they’re not. Where are all the green jobs? That’s not going to happen.

WALLACE: I'm not going to — I’m not going to take on everything. Green jobs, and Ford and blah, blah, blah, let me take on the gun question. The gun debate is changing.

WILLIAMS: It is changing. 

WALLACE: It started changing with some folks that you've done some incredible interviews with the parkland kids. Guns are not — gun control isn't the political third route for Democrats that it used to be. It just isn’t and that's why you see Wal-Mart and other big retailers —

WILLIAMS: Walgreens taking on gun control themselves.. 

WALLACE:  — who need — who need the Trump voter and pick-up driver to shop in their stores. That's the good news for Democrats. 

Wallace and former Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) added that the forced confiscations could be too extreme but the anger is well-placed in light of mass shooting drills at schools.

Reid was far more blunt, implying that, while some might not like what O’Rourke said, should suck it up: 

So, even though Beto — people may be alarmed at the things he was saying, the passion and the sincerity of saying no more — no more of having our kids afraid to go and I’ve had kids afraid to the movies, and I’ve experienced that. 

She also knocked the Trump administration for not wanting to ban guns but go after e-cigarettes while The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson praised O’Rourke for his gun views opening the door for “voluntary buybacks” of guns to seen as more acceptable (click “expand”):

REID: They’re willing to ban juuls, but they’re not willing to ban guns, right? And look, we grew up — where you lived, where I lived, everybody had guns. 

MCCASKILL: Where I still live.

REID: Nobody had AK-47s. Nobody had AK-47s. No one hunts with those guns. Everybody knows that.

ROBINSON: And I think it’s actually useful to have Beto stake out that position we’re going to take your guns. It may not be great for his campaign, may or not, but that makes a voluntary buyback sort of the middle of the road moderate position that we can come together on. 

After Wallace argued that the forced confiscation of millions guns from law-abiding Americans shouldn’t be seen as “ludicrous,” Reid bizarrely asserted that most AR-15 owners she knows just have them as collector’s items (click “expand”):

The people that I’ve known that have AR-15s are mainly collectors. They’re not normally people who are shooting deer with them, so the idea that you’re not negotiating — I mean, unless there are extremists who are stocking them up in their apartments which is a whole other matter, most reasonable gun owners who may even be collectors with those kinds of weapons can have a conversation about the fact that they don't want any Tom, Dick, and Harry stockpiling them in their apartment and then carting them off to Wal-Mart because they’re angry at an employer or they just don’t like brown people. So, I think we — the whole gun debate has changed. It's about Mitch McConnell and Republicans refusing to have even a sane, normal discussion about guns. That’s moved the debate.

Before going to their first break, Lyin’ Brian closed with the whopper that gun control could end up widely popular the way that gay marriage has as of late (click “expand”):

WILLIAMS: And as I always say, on guns and the environment, it could be what we saw with gay marriage. The most fast — the fastest moving issue of our adult lives because the American people have a funny way of deciding what is important to them. 

WALLACE: And then when they decide, it sort of builds and builds and builds, and then they’re done and I don’t know that they’re there, but I think we’re certainly getting there on guns.

To see the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s post-debate analysis on September 12, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Decision 2020: Debate Analysis
September 12, 2019
10:51 p.m. Eastern

NICOLLE WALLACE: But look, if you had to stick one headline on this night, I think you showed the moment that Julian Castro was the skunk at the garden party. I don’t think there’s an appetite. I think if Joe Biden isn’t the nominee, if he falls from what would have been months and months of an enduring lead, this race is not that fluid at the top and I don't think anything that happened tonight will move Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren out of those top three spots. I think the only thing if you're looking for some sort of action or anyone that can be in motion after tonight, think Beto O’Rourke, who found his voice after the massacre in El Paso, he still has that voice. He still spoke with clarity. He seems to have gained some confidence between sort of matching the moments. He tends to use salty language. I worked for John McCain, so I find that familiar and refreshing. Some people might not like it. He still has that sort of clarity that he really showcased after El Paso. He had some moments. But whether it jostles him out of sort the bottom of the top ten, I don't know and I think Pete Buttigieg was very much on brand tonight. So, whoever merges as the nominee, Buttigieg will be named at a very early stage as someone who will be in his cabinet because he’s just so talented and so likable. 

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Let's go to our man in Houston, Texas. Chris Matthews in the spin room adjacent to the venue tonight. Chris, what was the view from there? 

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well, you know, I thought — I agreed with everything Nicolle said. I thought the evening began with calls for unity. A very strong call by Amy Klobuchar for unity. I'm not intending to be president for half the American people or — but for all the American people. I think it was a pushback against hard ideology of the democratic left. That was a theme for awhile, but then I thought some of the strong ideologues, the people who have strong agendas like Warren and Bernie Sanders were very clear where they stand. Certainly medicare for all, no more private insurance. Absolute position on that. Bernie and her competed on paying off all the student loans. Also on a sort of purity test, Beto came along and said he’s going to not just buy back automatic weapons — the semi-automatic weapons, but demand that they sell them back. I don’t know where you get away with that. I noticed that Kamala talked about an executive order. This would be an extraordinary ruling by the supreme court that would allow a president to use executive orders to demand the end of ownership by automatic weapons — by semi-automatic assault weapons. I just think these are three or four cases of extreme, ideological positions, but generally, I thought there was a pushback on that stage against the hard left. I heard a lot of calls for unity. I thought there was a lot more pushback on all-out health care — the Medicare for all without health insurance from the private sector. I thought there was a lot of pushback that wasn’t there before and on border issues, fascinating. Last time we were around, I think it was two debates or one debate ago, people were talking about, certainly Castro was, about decriminalizing illegal border crossings. None of that tonight. Very careful, and by the way, I’m glad you scored it against Castro on the issue of attempted to blame the guy for having Alzheimer’s. I think that was a cheap shot. The fact is he got his facts wrong and in terms of competency, he was the one that risked his position tonight, not Biden.

(....)

10:55 p.m. Eastern

CLAIRE MCCASKILL: I think Castro is hurt. 

WILLIAMS: Mmmhmm.

MCCASKILL: I think he was trying to swing for the fences. 

WILLIAMS: Yep.

MCCASKILL: People kept talking about the tension between Warren and Biden. The tension I felt on that stage, were for the bottom five. 

EUGENE ROBINSON: Exactly.

MCCASKILL: — this was their last — in some ways their last moment to make a lasting impression to try to get in to the kind of debate that will probably move the needle some down the line, but I'm not sure anything tonight moved the needle except I think Castro offended people the way he did that and it won't surprise me if it helps Biden. 

ROBINSON: And, you know, I totally agree with what Claire said. For long stretches the debate seemed like Biden versus the fringes. Biden versus the others and they were trying to get some sort of purchase. I think you understate the damage that Castro did to himself tonight. I think he would have lost a lot of support if he had a lot of support to lose. He didn't. He had a little support. I think — I think it's basically over. He took a shot. It was not a good shot and it just really went over like a lead balloon. That was — that was a bad, bad moment for him. I thought Cory Booker, at times, sort of looked wise and presidential and, you know, he’s — he’s presents himself in a way that you can sort of imagine in a general election. I think he might have done himself some good tonight in the debate. There were a number of issues he wasn't pressed on. He might have been pressed on — maybe he will be in future debates. Other than that, I didn't see a lot of movement. 

(....)

10:58 p.m. Eastern

JOY REID: For the other, second tier candidates. I thought Beto had a great night — best debate so far because now I can see in him the confidence. I’m not really necessarily caring if he wins. He just wants to send a message that I think is authentic. I think he was authentic tonight and then my last is that Warren, no one touched her. She was strong on foreign policy. She has been coherent on everything she said. I thought she had a great night.

WILLIAMS: Did she get enough air time?

REID: No. I think no one did. It’s still too many people. It's the same number of people as the other debates. It’s just the top ones.

WALLACE: I know we have to go, but to Chris, no one — nobody said a word about Senator Harris and I thought she had one of the better moments —

MCCASKILL: She did. She did have a great night.

REID: Oh, she did have a great night, yeah.

WALLACE: She had a great night.

REID: She did.

WALLACE: And that attack on Trump is exactly what the Democrats, anecdotally and in the polls, want. 

REID: And that was a mistake on my part because I wrote her down.

WALLACE: No, we all did. You were the only one.

MCCASKILL: And by the way, Mayor Pete had a good night, too. 

REID: He did.

WILLIAMS: He really did.

MCCASKILL: It was very strong.

(....)

11:07 p.m. Eastern

WILLIAMS: Let's talk about guns and let’s talk about the way Democrats talk about guns. I also note we have a former senator from the state of Missouri here with us. Guns, red meat, Ford F-150s, if they're looking to get back that Democratic voter that might have voted for Obama and then went for Donald Trump, the blue collar voters who are insulted when Democrats come to town and say don't worry, you are all going to get green jobs, no they’re not. Where are all the green jobs? That’s not going to happen.

WALLACE: I'm not going to — I’m not going to take on everything. Green jobs, and Ford and blah, blah, blah, let me take on the gun question. The gun debate is changing.

WILLIAMS: It is changing. 

WALLACE: It started changing with some folks that you've done some incredible interviews with the parkland kids. Guns are not — gun control isn't the political third route for Democrats that it used to be. It just isn’t and that's why you see Wal-Mart and other big retailers —

WILLIAMS: Walgreens taking on gun control themselves.. 

WALLACE:  — who need — who need the Trump voter and pick-up driver to shop in their stores. That's the good news for Democrats. The bad news I think for Democrats or the danger is that the positions and the same goes for both sides. The positions that are most popular that speak to their hearts and their guts and they give voice to the rage that any parent — any parent with a kid younger than seven that comes home that tells them about the drills they did where they have to be quiet and how they’re different than the fire drills because they have to pretend that there is no one in the classroom weeps and they’re hungry for the kind of red meat that was thrown at them tonight, but I think as much as the gun debate has changed, it may not have changed that much. 

WILLIAMS: Claire McCaskill, it is interesting that corporate America embarks on their own form of gun control in open carry states saying if you’re going to be in our store, we would appreciate if you leave your weapon at home or in your truck. 

MCCASKILL: Yeah. I think the confiscation issue is still close to the third rail, but things have changed and one of the things that's really changed is the suburbs. Republican women in the suburbs have had enough. They kind of look the other way on the NRA and didn’t really — now Republican women in the suburbs are going are you kidding me? My kindergartner is doing drills for shooters. We can't even do universal background checks. The surprise to me on guns tonight is none of the moderators asked Bernie. Bernie voted against the Brady Bill five times. 

WILLIAMS: Yeah.

ROBINSON: Yeah.

WILLIAMS: Yeah.

MCCASKILL: That in this environment in Texas, I was shocked that he was not taken to task for a very — you know, you want to talk about authorizing force in Iraq. Right now voting against the Brady Bill five times is a tough thing to explain. 

(....)

11:11 p.m. Eastern

REID: Having lived in two states where a lot of people have guns, Colorado and Florida, I can tell you that the way the gun debate has changed is that moms have had it. Those Parkland kids had such a profound effect on this debate and that effect is lingering and a lot of Democrats are going to vote specifically on gun reforms. So, even though Beto — people may be alarmed at the things he was saying, the passion and the sincerity of saying no more — no more of having our kids afraid to go and I’ve had kids afraid to the movies, and I’ve experienced that. 

(....)

11:13 p.m. Eastern

REID: While they’re looking to ban Juuls, Six people are dead. 

ROBINSON: Yeah, exactly. They’re willing to ban Juuls immediately.

REID: They’re willing to ban juuls, but they’re not willing to ban guns, right? And look, we grew up — where you lived, where I lived, everybody had guns. 

MCCASKILL: Where I still live.

REID: Nobody had AK-47s. Nobody had AK-47s. No one hunts with those guns. Everybody knows that.

ROBINSON: And I think it’s actually useful to have Beto stake out that position we’re going to take your guns. It may not be great for his campaign, may or not, but that makes a voluntary buyback sort of the middle of the road moderate position that we can come together on. 

WALLACE: And he is standing to say at that. He was in Odessa, the most recent mass shooting in Texas.

ROBINSON: Absolutely.

WALLACE: He was in El Paso and I think — I said this before. I think this is the mood not just in the base, not just with people — I think this is becoming the mood and the idea that any Democrat or the party would suffer because of a position on guns seems ludicrous when the facts are it's Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump holding up gun control.

REID: Right

MCCASKILL: That’s exactly right.

REID: You had Beto go to a gun show and sit there and talk to people. The people that I’ve known that have AR-15s are mainly collectors. They’re not normally people who are shooting deer with them, so the idea that you’re not negotiating — I mean, unless there are extremists who are stocking them up in their apartments which is a whole other matter, most reasonable gun owners who may even be collectors with those kinds of weapons can have a conversation about the fact that they don't want any Tom, Dick, and Harry stockpiling them in their apartment and then carting them off to Wal-Mart because they’re angry at an employer or they just don’t like brown people. So, I think we — the whole gun debate has changed. It's about Mitch McConnell and Republicans refusing to have even a sane, normal discussion about guns. That’s moved the debate.

WILLIAMS: And as I always say, on guns and the environment, it could be what we saw with gay marriage. The most fast — the fastest moving issue of our adult lives because the American people have a funny way of deciding what is important to them. 

WALLACE: And then when they decide, it sort of builds and builds and builds, and then they’re done and I don’t know that they’re there, but I think we’re certainly getting there on guns.

MCCASKILL: Close

ROBINSON: Yeah. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Debates Guns March for Our Lives Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Video Brian Williams Joy Reid Eugene Robinson Nicolle Wallace Beto O'Rourke Claire McCaskill
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