A perfect bookend to the Matt Salmon post. Here again you have someone who’s intimately involved with a raging national debate, whose personal story guarantees riveting television (watch to the end here, if you can stand it), yet who seemingly can’t get booked by news outfits apart from Fox because he’s unwilling to say what the host wants to hear. Tommy Christopher, Mediaite’s resident lefty columnist, wondered last week why Mattioli is nowhere to be found on television considering cable news’s otherwise relentless interest in gun control and Newtown. Clearly Mattioli has no objection in principle to appearing on TV; unless he has an “only Fox” rule that no one knows about then there’s only one explanation. Case in point: Where was he during the big “60 Minutes” feature last night on Newtown families’ feelings about gun control? I can understand why he’s not getting a ride on Air Force One today — Obama needs Newtown parents who are anti-gun for his moral-authority posturing — but “60 Minutes” is supposed to be journalism, sort of. Mattioli’s presence would have made for a compelling counterpoint last night. Where was he? Did he refuse to appear or was that segment transparently just propaganda for Obama’s gun-control push in Congress?
Speaking of which, big news this afternoon from Ben Howe:
Senator Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has confirmed he will filibuster new gun control legislation, spokesman Brian McGuire confirmed for me today.
“While nobody knows yet what Senator Reid’s plan is for the gun bill, if he chooses to file cloture on the motion to proceed to the Reid Bill (S. 649), Senator McConnell will oppose cloture on proceeding to that bill.”
That’s Schumer’s background-checks bill, which gun-rights supporters oppose on grounds that it’s a step towards a national gun registry. Time magazine reported days ago that it was likely to be filibustered; the fact that McConnell is now involved means it’s a cinch. Can’t wait to see how many red-state Democrats end up joining the party. Meanwhile, Joe Manchin is drafting a weaker bill with Pat Toomey that would require checks for all sales except those between family members and some hunters. There aren’t many details yet — presumably the record-keeping requirements are lighter — but it’ll be interesting to see if that bill gets filibustered too, especially since McConnell’s eager to show Kentucky primary voters how pro-gun-rights he is.
Short of seeing a Democratic bill pass, Obama probably prefers that Republicans filibuster everything that hits the floor. If they pass something weak, that complicates his 2014 message that the GOP refused to lift a finger to make gun regulations tighter after Newtown. Manchin and Toomey are supposed to announce something in the next 48 hours. Stay tuned. Exit quotation from O, who’s already seeing his reelection political capital melt away: “Some back in Washington are already floating the idea that they might use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms. They’re not just saying they’ll vote ‘no’ on ideas that almost all Americans support. They’re saying they won’t allow any votes on them at all. They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter. And that’s not right.”
Update: I knew he was desperate, but I didn’t really know.
Update: There’s no shortage of examples of the Salmon/Mattioli phenomenon, but here’s another in case you’re still looking.