Is it the media's responsibility to worry about Barack Obama's legacy?
The Huffington Post's Howard Fineman seems to think so, and told MSNBC's Chris Matthews Thursday that gun control is "legacy material" for the President (video follows with LexisNexis transcript and commentary):
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: As I mentioned a moment ago, the NRA released a statement following its meeting with the vice president today, and it reads in part, "We were disappointed with how little this meeting had to do with keeping our children safe and how much it had to do with an agenda to attack the 2nd Amendment. While claiming that no policy proposals would be prejudged, this task force spent most of its time on proposed restrictions on lawful firearms owners, honest, tax-paying, hard-working Americans."
"We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen. Instead, we will now take our commitment and meaningful contributions to members of Congress of both parties who are interested in having an honest conversation about what works and what does not."
Howard Fineman, of course, is editorial director for the HuffingtonPost, as well as a prized MSNBC political analyst. I’m serious about that. You know that.
HOWARD FINEMAN, HUFFINGTON POST MEDIA GROUP, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you, Chris.
MATTHEWS: Howard, by the way, thank you for coming on tonight. It just seems like there’s a common sense guy -- Joe Biden’s a -- these are not lefties.
FINEMAN: No. No, I...
MATTHEWS: And yet the NRA just puts the straight arm out there and says nuttin’!
FINEMAN: Well, one reason that Joe Biden was tasked with this is that Barack Obama, don’t forget, back in 2008, showed a little distance...
FINEMAN: Ingloriously -- said, Well, these are people who cling to their guns and their religion. He’s not the guy to do this deal, Joe Biden is.
The governor’s right, when you get specific about things like high-capacity magazines, people want them limited. There’s no question. On general -- if you state it generally, people are confused because they know it’s a constitutional right. But if you’re specific, then the equation changes, and that’s what the vice president is going to try to do.
MATTHEWS: Ironically, it’s like pro-life and pro-gun.
MATTHEWS: It’s very ironic.
FINEMAN: Very similar.
MATTHEWS: It’s a generalized statement. It’s very...
FINEMAN: Exactly. Now, interestingly, originally, Joe Biden was not going to report, was not going to make his case to the president until after the State of the Union...
FINEMAN: ... until after -- excuse me, until after the inaugural address, and so forth. I think they’re moving up the schedule of this because I think the president is, in fact, going to feature it in -- in -- he’s going to mention it in the inaugural, and I think you’re going to...
MATTHEWS: Is this legacy material?
FINEMAN: This is legacy material. Also, it’s not money material. In other words, we’re broke as a country. There’s going to be a big fight over the debt. We’re going to have another debt ceiling crisis, and so forth. This is a cultural matter that he can deal with, that is legacy material, that isn’t about the budget.
FINEMAN: ... isn’t about the budget.
When I saw this segment and tweeted what Fineman said, conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham responded:
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) January 11, 2013
The answer of course is "Yes" - in the minds of people like Fineman, that is all that really counts.
Consider what Fineman said: "There’s going to be a big fight over the debt. We’re going to have another debt ceiling crisis, and so forth. This is a cultural matter that he can deal with, that is legacy material, that isn’t about the budget."
Now bear in mind that the Democrats haven't proposed a budget for nearly four years, and this is the major reason we continue to have these budget crises.
Farbeit for a "political analyst" such as Fineman to concern himself with such mundane details.
But likely the larger issue is how the budget plays into the economy, which as everyone outside of the liberal media knows is not doing very well.
As such, people such as Fineman and Matthews are far more interested in Obama working on cultural issues like gun control rather than things that might actually improve the economy.
How sad that these folks think gun control is more important than jobs.
As for the legacy issue, Fineman and Matthews might want to ask Bill Clinton and Al Gore how taking people's guns away helped their respective legacies.
The former lost the House and the Senate in 1994 partially due to his weapons assault ban, and the latter lost his home state of Tennessee - and therefore the 2000 presidential election - as a result.
Yeah - gun control sure is legacy material.
As for Obama's legacy, if the economy doesn't significantly improve in the next four years, his will be awful regardless of what he does on social issues.
If Fineman and Matthews are really concerned about the legacy of this president, maybe they should be pushing him to pass a budget that gives the business community confidence to expand and hire.
Or does that make too much sense?