After last night’s chest-beating at the White House, today’s Morning Joe panel echoed Barack Obama’s call for action against gun violence. As it turned out, they had the exact same number of appropriate ideas, which is to say, none at all. Joe Scarborough starts off in this segment by pointing out what I did last night, which is that all of the knee-jerk proposals made by people in the immediate aftermath of these shootings turn out not to be actual solutions to specific failures, but hobby horses that would have done nothing to prevent the incidents that supposedly inspire the policies.
National Review’s Charles C. W. Cooke gently makes the same point by pressing Mark Halperin and then Mika Brzezinski to explain their policy ideas when both demand action. The result is the same in both cases — they fume, they growl about Congress, but they have no proposals of their own (via the Free Beacon and Jazz):
Cooke took issue with the president’s angry words at Washington’s refusal to pass gun control laws so soon after the mass shooting at Umpqua Comminuty College in Roseburg, Oregon. The reporter claimed liberals talk tough as if they have the solutions, but they do not offer specific ideas that could begin a dialogue. Halperin was his case in point.
“Joe Biden doesn’t know how to fix this problem. I don’t know how to fix this problem. I think it’s fair to say you don’t know how to fix this problem. It’s a very complex question in a country with 300 to 350 million guns on the street,” Cooke said. “The way they talk is as if they have the answer and there are these recalcitrant forces in the country that say ‘no, no, no,’ even though deep down they know their legislation will work. That’s simply not the case. It’s far more complicated than that.”
Halperin took issue with Cooke’s statement. He argued with Cooke’s attitude of simply labeling the issue as complicated and identifying what will not work. Instead, Halperin wanted leaders to “have a thirst and hunger and passion to try to come up with solutions.”
When further pressed by Cooke to offer his plan, Halperin explained he’s “not an expert in the field.”
Cooke then points out again that neither Obama nor Biden offered any specific policy proposals. They did the same thing that Halperin and Brzezinski do here — vent righteous indignation, then look around for someone to blame for a problem that almost certainly has no legislative remedy. Congresses under control of both parties certainly haven’t found any, and none of the proposals that percolate out in the minutes after a publicized shooting incident turn out to apply when all of the facts finally come out.
The only hint of a policy from anyone came from Obama, who praised Australia for their reaction to a mass shooting, and that solution was a massive firearm confiscation program. Democrats, including Obama, have spent the last 30 years claiming that they don’t want to take guns from law-abiding citizens, which may make next year’s elections a bit awkward outside of the coastal urban areas. And even then, Obama didn’t have the nerve to actually propose that solution. It’s not too difficult to figure out why, either.