Monday Morning Politics: Matthew Dowd

Monday, January 28, 2013

Matthew Dowd, political contributor for ABC News, writer for National Journal and former chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney '04 presidential campaign, discusses the latest news from Washington -- gun control, immigration, and more.


Matthew Dowd

Comments [29]

Attached is an analysis of the "insurance-is-a-solution" argument.

also attached is a thoughtful defense of gun ownership for self defense -

" . . . My grandmother came from Russian Poland, near the Polish city of Chelm. Chelm was celebrated, by the Ashkenazi Jews, as the place where the fools dwelt. And my grandmother loved to tell the traditional stories of Chelm.

Its residents, for example, once decided that there was no point in having the sun shine during the day, when it was light out—it would be better should it shine at night, when it was dark. Similarly, we modern Solons delight in passing gun laws that, in their entirety, amount to “making crime illegal.” . . ."

Jan. 28 2013 02:07 PM


The commercial manufacture for private ownership of "military grade assault guns" (i.e., guns capable of "automatic" fire) is already illegal in this country. What other baseless bogey-man terrors inform your distorted world view?
There were no automatic weapons used at New Town, Aurora, or at the shooting of Ms. Giffords. The gun with the large capacity (100 rounds) "drum" reportedly jammed and the majority of the wounds were inflicted by shotgun rounds.
Your comments about hand grenades may make some sense if the dreaded gun lobby begins a campaign to legalize automatic fire long arms or handguns.

Jan. 28 2013 12:46 PM


" . . . Fact: Cars are dangerous and can kill people, so we regulate them. Fact: Guns are dangerous and can kill people. Why can't we regulate them like cars? Everyone can relate to the logic, so why not try it? . . . "

Well the bogus "Let's treat this the way we deal with cars" argument shows up all the time now (it was last misused during the Obamacare Health Insurance Industry Bailout Debate). It essentially depends on being able to argue a half-truth for treating guns in the same regulatory framework that we use for cars. At least in the State and the City of New York, car registrations and car ownerships are not "at the discretion" of the government. Anyone meeting clearly stated standards (mostly as to age and residence, you need not be licensed driver in order to own or register a car) can buy a car and / or register it with no questions addressed as to why you want one or "what could any reasonable person need all that horse-power for a 2000 lb., 100 mile per hour, potential killing machine". I'm not aware of any individual disqualification for ownership or registration that can be applied before the car is misused. As for operation, there is a clear set of skills that need to be tested, the DMV regularly offers the test and publishes materials for people who want to pass the test, and there are a plethora of businesses that concern themselves with making license seekers skillful enough to pass the test. Again, it is only after operation that you can become disqualified to maintain a driver's license.
So if you are really offering the same "shall issue" licensing and registration regime for firearms that is presently in place for cars I think some agreement is entirely possible. Are you still up for it?

Jan. 28 2013 12:22 PM

MG from Manhattan~

Thanks! My point exactly!!!

Jan. 28 2013 12:11 PM

The second amendment says nothing about guaranteeing the right of citizens to defend themselves against government tyranny, it references national defense (but articulated as a concern of states because: slave insurrections!):

We didn't have standing armies then, none at least significant enough to depend upon for national defense. The Revolution was fought by militias; so in no small part was the Civil War. (Put that in your hats, guns-rights apocalypticals: the second amendment armed citizen militias to help put down a rebellion that was a threat to the nation.) Now we have a standing army and a National Guard. We've obviated militias. If there was any honesty in this Constitutional defense of the Second Amendment militias would be the rubric under which they would be lobbying for their assault rifles: not home defense, and not to prepare against the event of our our democratic system, our real safeguard against tyranny (if citizens would only care about it and their fellows as much as they did their guns), turning tyrant. Guns rights fantasists seem sometimes to be wishing for a tyrant to rear its head and prove them right. The abandonment of civic engagement that entails is certainly the best way to help that tyranny along. Good work, guys!

Jan. 28 2013 11:36 AM
MG from Manhattan

Hey dboy ! you know WHY no one mentions the "well regulated militia " part which is at the beginning and is thus the MOST important part of the amendment besides the end?

because if you ACKNOWLEDGE it you reveal that the emperor has no clothes!

so you keep distracting people from the whole amendment and hope that they only hear the last sentence. you then turn that deception into a "fact" its very "truthy"
but it is a TOTAL decption

Jan. 28 2013 11:33 AM
MG from Manhattan

Randall has a great point .. REGULATE it with insurance requirements it makes sense and it is responsible. Something that tat is anathema to the NRA and gun nuts to whom sense and responsibility are in short supply

Jan. 28 2013 11:30 AM

NO ONE talks about the "well regulated" part!!

Why not??

Jan. 28 2013 11:27 AM
The Truth from Becky

Hunting Quali with an assault rifle? Protecting yourself against the government against with an assault rifle? *heavy sigh* equal extremes, both statements equally RIDICULOUS!!

Jan. 28 2013 11:27 AM
rucb_alum from Central New Jersey

The NRA-types and Mr. LaPierre's own false arguments are intended to lead gun owners into believing that Obama and the government wants to take guns away from legal owners. They do not. There have been no attempts on the part of the government to 'take away' or ban legally obtained guns. The closest any ban will come is to prevent future importation and sales. You may be 'stuck' with that high-cap magazine but you probably don't want to sell it anyway.

The cure is to amend the Second Amendment to include sales ONLY to persons who have passed a gun safety course. But even that reasonable adjustment to the language of the Second Amendment would be villainized and misrepresented by the gun lobby. We may need to require liability insurance and enable accessory after the fact prosecutions in order to stem the carnage resulting from loose gun safety practices.

Jan. 28 2013 11:26 AM
Robert from NYC

Brian you insulted pigs and owe them an apology.

Jan. 28 2013 11:24 AM
MG from Manhattan

Part of the regulation should be that any thing that can shoot 30 bullets in a clip is a weapon of mass destruction because that is EXACTLY what it is

Jan. 28 2013 11:24 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I generally think that Mr. Boehner is disingenuous, but after listening to that clip, I'd say he's also suffering from paranoid personality as well. Idiot!

Jindal is completely out to lunch. No one should listen to a damn thing he says and once his term of office is over, he should be put out to pasture.

Jan. 28 2013 11:23 AM

In the 1700's there was one weapon; a single-shot musket. This firearm was used to hunt and in warfare. This was before tanks, fighter jets, shoulder-fired anti-aircraft rockets, cruise missiles, and atomic weapons.

If the logic is that the 2nd Amendment intends that we should all be allowed military grade assault guns for potential defense against tyranny, why should we not be allowed to own and use all the rest??

Weekend hand grenade pitches... for example.

Jan. 28 2013 11:23 AM
Dorian from Manhattan

Brian, I have relatives in Tennessee whose orientation seems similar to Mr. Dowd's, and I've seen their attitudes change over time. For the husband of one cousin, for example, a sophisticated financial analyst, bird hunting is a large part of his culture, life, traditions and enjoyment. It's a weekend activity that gives respite from the pressures of modern urban and suburban life. He owns land through the family on which he hunts and has taken his older son hunting. He has a wonderful hunting dog he has spent a lot of time training. He has gear, outfits, and is proud of the skill and enjoys being in nature, getting out of city where they live, and the feeling of feeding the family and friends with birds he's gotten. He also, though, said that Newtown really caught the attention of him and some of his friends -- in our Christmas-time prayers, he mentioned Sandy Hook -- and he doesn't see the need for rapid-fire automatic weapons with large-scale clips. I write this to point out that there are a lot of reasonable, intelligent, thoughtful individuals who enjoy and use guns, and are part of a culture we don't experience much here in our urban region, and are by no means "gun nuts" or NRA acolytes.

Jan. 28 2013 11:23 AM
Guy from NYC

I understand the interest in getting the armed to the negotiating table. But the idea that "both sides" are "shouting" zealots and are equally responsible for hindering reasonable debate is lazy and dangerously close to the false equivalency media strategy that enabled the Bush Cheney regime.

One side of this debate supports policies that kill innocent people based on imaginary scenarios or deeply problematic arguments. The other side might not fully understand gun owners' worries, but they are not the same.

Jan. 28 2013 11:23 AM
fuva from harlemworld

...And I have never own nor held nor shot a gun.

Jan. 28 2013 11:22 AM
The Truth from Becky

Incredible. If only you assure the world that all gun tragedies did not involve non-gun owning citizens, just the gun owners, shooting, killing and maiming each other, wonder if that would change any attitudes? Why do these people feel like potential victims, sitting ducks that need to protect themselves with assault weapons?

Jan. 28 2013 11:22 AM
MG from Manhattan

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

If you are not part of a well regulated militia then you have no right to keep and bear arms PERIOD.
Enforce this amendment as written and intended and require that well regulated militias with oversight on members be formed, with compulsory membership for arms owners

Jan. 28 2013 11:22 AM

While you may balk at bringing up the terminology and the technical aspects, it's really important for the "armor piercing" arguments. There are different armor classes and many cartridges used for hunting (more powerful than what is usually used for self-defense) are "armor piercing." So are you going to outlaw or restrict hunting ammunition?

I'm no expert on this subject, but unless you're literally inside of a tank, any rifle is going to go through any armor you're wearing.

Jan. 28 2013 11:20 AM
john from office

I need a tank in my driveway to protect myself from oppression!!

Gun nuts, and I carry, are just that, nuts.

I need my AR 15 to fight the f16 fighter jet!

Jan. 28 2013 11:20 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Well then "correct" the constitution the right way...not through ad hoc legislation.

An "assault" weapon ban will not work... universal registration is a start, per a "well regulated" militia.

Jan. 28 2013 11:19 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

And if we follow the NRA's argument (they need assault-type guns to fight a tyrannical government), the logical conclusion is that gun owners would be entitled to every type of military-style gun that the military has. So every American should be able to have surface-to-air missiles? That's where this is going if not checked.

Jan. 28 2013 11:18 AM

Here's a 'Common Sense Gun Regulation' idea that I'm trying to get a response to. Perhaps Brian or his guest, Matthew Dowd, would care to comment on this.

Fact: Cars are dangerous and can kill people, so we regulate them. Fact: Guns are dangerous and can kill people. Why can't we regulate them like cars? Everyone can relate to the logic, so why not try it?

Since everyone agrees that an Assault Weapons Ban will be difficult to achieve, why not let those who own them have them as long as they have insurance to cover someone using their guns to kill 20 school children? Say, $40 million to cover as many guns as you want to own? The more dangerous the weapon, the costlier the insurance would be. License the owner, like cars. Register the guns, like cars. Require proof of insurance to take the gun from the showroom - and the registered owner is responsible no matter who uses the gun to create mayhem - so a gun sale would require a change of title just like a car sale.

How about a big new market for the NRA: Gun Insurance! What do you think?

Jan. 28 2013 11:18 AM

Matthew is way off course now. If you want to correct the constitution, then lead a charge to change it. It's not going to happen. But you can't just say that the Constitution is wrong. You've got to suggest how it should be changed. Wrong holds no water.

Jan. 28 2013 11:16 AM
fuva from harlemworld

Yes, citizens have the right to defend themselves -- as best they can -- against any bad actor, including an unjust "authority".

Jan. 28 2013 11:16 AM
Nancy from Manhattan

The NRA has stoked an hysterical fear among radical gun owners that the government intends to take away Americans' guns, and that those guns are needed to protect against a tyrannical government and to revolt against tyranny if necessary. This is pure paranoia and fear-mongering, the specialty of the Republican Party nowadays. The rest of us are being exposed every day to a heightened danger of gun violence because of the NRA's paranoid fantasy.

The NRA thinks guns don't kill people. Newsflash for the NRA: 30,000 Americans are killed by guns every year (according to the Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The NRA's position is incredible, and thus in my book has no credibility -- why is anyone listening to anything they say? Oh, yeah, except for the millions they donate to legislators. Again, it all comes down to CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM. Demand public financing of elections!

Jan. 28 2013 11:14 AM

It's not about hunting nor protection.

It's about personal identity. The same way liberals are creative or make other things that show they are not beholden to any other person, group or government.

The 2nd Admendment is about saying I am who I am (ht: La Cage). As an individual, if the govt becomes too controling to the point that I lose my individuality, I can overthrow that govt..... with a gun.

It's about the Militia part of the 2nd Admendment, and a free State means a free Individual.

It's about not becoming an American version of the movie Brazil.

Jan. 28 2013 11:13 AM

You get the somewhat misleading "guns in the home are 22% more likely to be use on a member of the home" from this study, published in 1993, in the New England Journal journal of Medicine.

An intelligent critique of that study is found at The Democratic Underground site

"A gun in the home is 22 times more likely to kill a family member than an intruder"

This website has some details on the dataset that was used, and inherent problems with the study.

Interesting things to note
-The study involved less than 400 households
-It made no distinction as to who brought the gun - was it in the house, or did an intruder bring it?
-A vast majority of defensive gun uses involve the perpetrator NOT being killed. They either get shot an injured, held at gunpoint until police arrive, or run off and stop their attack at the sight of a gun.

Jan. 28 2013 11:10 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.