An exasperated Chris Matthews on Sunday highlighted Governor Andrew Cuomo's plummeting poll numbers in the wake of New York's new gun control legislation. Singling out the National Rifle Association as the villain, he fretted "...Is anybody safe from the NRA?"
The host of the Chris Matthews Show lamented the inability of many states to pass gun control laws. Matthews told his guests that, initially, he thought "there's a few place in the country we are safe from the NRA, maybe California, maybe the Northeast." Citing a new poll showing Cuomo's polls have dropped 15 points, the journalist added, "I read the other day Cuomo's numbers have crumbled pretty much on that one issue in New York State." [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Matthews reiterated, "...Is anybody safe from the NRA?"
The cable anchor then described the NRA and their members as single-minded, something like the shark in Jaws: "I have a brother like this, they think about nothing else. They don't-- 'Oh, let's do climate change now.' No, they stick with their guns."
Why, exactly, would a gun group like the NRA focus on climate change?
Matthews has not hidden his loathing of the NRA. On September 27, 2011, the host lumped the 142 year-old organization with birthers and other "crazy, far-right" "hatred" of Barack Obama.
A partial transcript of the February 3 exchange, which aired at 1:09am EST, follows:
HOWARD FINEMAN: Studies have shown that when presidents get out there and try and bring to Washington an understanding that the people out in the country already have, in other words, when he's not changing minds but channeling energy--
CHRIS MATTHEWS: which is there--
FINEMAN: Which is there because he can get it done on background checks. The rest of it, the NRA is too strong.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Okay. What do you think about that-- this whole idea--will he get something done this year because this is the year we all agree as I said up front, it`s time is now.
KAY: Well, the most likely thing if he's going to get something done is the background checks because of the opinion poll numbers on that. But, you know, there's a salutary lesson coming out of New York now. Governor Cuomo's approval ratings have fallen by double digits.
MATTHEWS: Because of gun control.
KAY: Since he enacted gun control. So, again, I-- you know, it's going to be a question of whether those 90 percent of the population that really wants background checks is actually going to lobby for it. They're actually going to stand up and say we will make sure that the NRA does not.
KAY: Give our local governor, our local congressman a really hard time and bar them from re-election because they vote in favor of--
MATTHEWS: Katty's got a good point. I was thinking, coming in here preparing the program, I was thinking, you know, there's a few place in the country we are safe from the NRA, maybe California, maybe the Northeast. But then you're right. I read the other day Cuomo's numbers have crumbled pretty much on that one issue in New York State.
LOWREY: Yeah. I think--
MATTHEWS: And wait-- is anybody safe from the NRA?
ANNIE LOWREY: No. I think that there's a real sense of fatalism when you talk to legislators privately about this. They say that the price is very, very high and the-- the measures that they're talking about, there's also this fatalism that it wouldn't do anything. It won't do enough. You're not going to stop gun violence with background checks.
MATTHEWS: The gun people think about nothing-- I have a brother like this, they think about nothing else. They don't-- oh, let's do climate change now. No, they stick with their guns.