NR Writer Infuriates Morning Joe Panel by Insisting They Have No New Ideas

October 2nd, 2015 3:56 PM

On Friday's Morning Joe, National Review writer Charles Cooke shook up the roundtable discussing the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. Joe Scarborough talked about new gun laws likely wouldn’t have stopped the massacre.

Cooke pointed out that Vice President Biden, nor anyone else at the table, really know how to fix this problem, pointing out that there are 300-350 million guns on the street and it’s hard to manage the flow of them. That made the panel upset. 

Mark Halperin was the first to go for Cooke. "To just talk about how other people’s solutions won’t work or this is a complicated, sociological issue, I just don’t think that’s enough.” When Cooke asked Halperin for his plan, Halperin was unable to provide a clear response back.

Responding to Cooke’s criticism, Halperin said “I'm not an expert in this field. I want to be civil. I'm not trying to criticize or attack you. All I'm saying is I listen to your tone and this is complicated, the other side's ideas won't work.”

When Cooke pointed out that Halperin had not provided anything substantial, Mika Brzezinski went after Cooke, harshly asking, “What are you saying? Because you're basically saying, you know what, no one has the answers, no one can do anything about it, let's not do anything.” Cooke returned, “What I'm suggesting is that Mark Halperin, President Obama, and Vice President Biden, and now you, keep saying everybody keeps saying we need to do something and that's it.”

Finally, Howard Dean got involved in the discussion against Cooke, saying he had some ideas. He brought up universal background checks, and liability to those who provide, give, or sell guns to those who are known to be mentally ill and are cognizant of it. Dean admitted he didn’t mind punishing dealers outright, but though it was a starting point. As Cooke was getting ready to respond, Brzezinski jumped on him as he said debate, by saying, “you’ll be against it” and “is there an idea that you would support?”

See the relevant transcript below.

MSNBC Morning Joe

CHARLES CW COOKE: It's a huge challenge. Until he started running through straw-men and cliches, everything Joe Biden said is true. It is of course hideous to lose a child. Everyone is upset about that, but this is not a competition to see who is the most vexed. This is a public policy debate. 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. The way they talk, they have the answer and there's forces in the country that say no, no, no. Even though deep down they know their legislation will work. That is simply not the case, It is far more complicated than that.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: It is complicated. We see it time and time again. It's as Willie said last hour, I support background checks. They have background checks in Oregon where this took place. Connecticut passed a lot of very aggressive gun control laws after Sandy Hook, that was supported by most of the people in Connecticut. But if you look at the actual Sandy Hook shooting, None of those gun laws would have stopped what happened in Sandy Hook. We seem to keep chasing our tail here. Sometimes there are no answers for these very difficult problems. 

MARK HALPERIN: There's no question difficult. I want to engage Charles a little bit in a civil way. You know, everyone in the country in a leadership position, journalism, politics, et cetera. Should have a thirst and hunger and passion to try to come up with solutions. To just talk about how other people's solutions won't work or this is a complicated sociological issue. I just don't think that's enough. I completely agree with the President. People need to find solutions to this and not talk about what won't work and that it's so complicated. We can't be the only country in the world that's like this. 

COOKE: With respect, what's your plan? 

HALPERIN: Well, I think that the finding solutions are short term in terms of legislation, state and federal. But then also. 

COOKE: What decisions? What ideas?

HALPERIN: Coming up with ideas, I think some -- well, we can talk about it in a second. Let me finish the second point. You say part of the issue involves young men. Well, again, public policy people should come up with ideas longer term to try to deal with the question of what is causing young men to do this. 

COOKE: We both agree they should. It's just, that you don't have any more ideas than I do. 

HALPERIN: I'm not an expert in this field. I want to be civil. I'm not trying to criticize or attack you. All I'm saying is I listen to your tone and  this is complicated, the other side's ideas won't work, this is not just a bad, young, white man. I just think, I'm saying I want everybody in the country that has a public voice to being saying we passionately need to find solutions to this, not talk about how complicated it is. I'm not a policy expert. I'm a journalist not here to weigh in on particular provisions, but to say that we need passion to solve this, not talk about complexity and not talk about how the other side's ideas aren't any good. 

COOKE: Well, it is complex and it is difficult. And there are no ideas, I didn't say -- 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: What are you saying? Because you're basically saying, you know what, no one has the answers, no one can do anything about it, let's not do anything. 

COOKE: What I'm suggesting is that Mark Halperin, President Obama, and Vice President Biden, and now you, keep saying everybody keeps saying we need to do something and that's it. 

BRZEZINSKI: Yes, we do. 

COOKE: That's it. What? 

BRZEZINSKI: I could think of a number of policy ideas that's worth trying and you would hate them. 

COOKE: Well possibly, but at least we can have a debate over those. What is it you're proposing? 

BRZEZINSKI: Like in Washington. Like what they've gotten done in Washington. Basically nothing...

COOKE: What is it you're proposing?

HOWARD DEAN: Well okay, let me, let me make a few. 

BRZEZINSKI: I agreed with the vice president. Sorry. 

COOKE: He didn't make a proposal.

DEAN: Let me make a few suggestions that might be helpful. First of all, universal background checks I think many people may agree, might be helpful. Secondly, you brought the question up about the shooter in Newtown. Well, that's because the person that supplied the gun was killed by the shooter. But if you made the people who supply those guns to people who are crazy, liable and there was enormous lawsuits or criminal prosecutions, that might help. Putting dealers on the hook, you have to be very careful about this because we get back into the privacy of mentally ill people. There are ways we can put pressure on people who supply the guns. Not to make them not supply the guns, although, I personally don't have a problem with that. But to make sure they understand they have some responsibility to who they sell too. Those are some things we can look at.

COOKE: Sure, that's fine, now we can have a debate. 

SCARBOROUGH: Right, I think one of the biggest things, 

BRZEZINSKI: And you'll be against it.

SCARBOROUGH: You can't say that. That's a very rude thing for you to say to Charles. 

BRZEZINSKI: Is there an idea you would support? 

SCARBOROUGH: I would, I would like to say I think, as I was saying, I think it is an extraordinary complicated issue and I think one of the greatest dangers is that we do what we always do in Washington and across the country. We have a knee-jerk reaction to a tragedy that doesn't apply to the tragedy and doesn't stop the next tragedy and causes more problems than, instead of just hurky-jurky , this is something terrible happened today, let's pass legislation tomorrow. 

COOKE: If I could answer the question Mika posed, I think a variation on one of the ideas you proposed which is to prosecute people who give guns or avail people who are mentally ill of guns, is an excellent idea. I think in general making it a crime to give a gun to somebody, who subsequently without any indication whatsoever commits a crime is too complicated. But I think if you think somebody is mentally ill and you have I reasonable suspicion that they are mentally ill, you should be prosecuted if you give them a gun or leave a gun around them. the critique I'm making is not actually suggested there is no gun law that should ever be passed. It's before any details were known here, before they knew who the shooter was, what gun he used, where he had got the guns, the President came out, the White House came out and said we need to do these three things we always talk about. Those three things didn't even intersect with the shooting. That is a Pavlovian reaction and it's not helpful.