In his 11th Hour time slot after the ABC debate on Thursday, MSNBC anchor Brian Williams caused wailing and gnashing of teeth from the Greenpeace gang when he questioned whether the debate tilted too far left on guns and "green jobs," which he said was an insult to blue-collar voters, that fossil fuels will be banned, and then there are promises of green jobs on the horizon...somewhere.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: Nicolle Wallace, 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 [Claire McCaskill]. 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 the green jobs? That's not gonna happen.
Wallace was clearly uncomfortable with the green-jobs skepticism: "I'm not going to take on everything, green jobs, but let me try to take on the gun question." She thought the Parkland kids (well, the leftist ones) were changing the debate......or were they?
WALLACE: The gun debate is changing. And it started changing --
WILLIAMS: It is changing.
WALLACE: -- with some folks that you've done some incredible interviews with, the Parkland kids. And guns are not -- gun control isn't the political third rail for Democrats that it used to be. It just isn't, and that's why you see Walmart and other big retailers --
WILLIAMS: Walgreens, taking on gun control.
WALLACE: Yeah, they need the Trump voter and the pickup driver to shop in their stores. That's the good news for Democrats. The bad news I think for the 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 and tells them about the drills they did, where they have to be quiet, because they have to pretend that there is no one in the classroom -- weeps, and they are hungry for the kind of red meat that was thrown tonight.
And then this: "But I think as much as the gun debate has changed, it may not have changed that much."
Claire McCaskill agreed that Beto O'Rourke was tapdancing on the third rail: "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. 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."
McCaskill was mystified that ABC's moderators didn't press Bernie Sanders from the left on voting against the Brady Bill. "I was shocked he was not taken to task....voting against the Brady Bill five times is a tough thing for Bernie to explain."