Everybody has a story: Bobby Casey’s wife!


Also, his courage and conscience: On last night’s Hardball, we got the latest story.

Why has Senator Casey now flipped on guns? Earlier, Senator Warner said he was pretty much turned by his daughters. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/19/12.)

In the case of Senator Casey, it seems the wisdom came from his wife! Again, Chris Matthews seemed to believe the latest story—a story of conscience and courage:
MATTHEWS (12/20/12): I was absolutely stunned today to that see Bobby Casey, the senator from Pennsylvania, who’s a classic Pennsylvania—in the past, he’s received a B-plus or an A rating from the NRA—

He told the Philadelphia Inquirer he’ll now come back for both a—he’s coming out for both a new assault weapons ban and legislation banning high-round magazines.

The Inquirer reported Casey said his decision amounted to being, quote, "summoned by your conscience.” Casey told the Inquirer his wife had pressed him to rethink his position on gun safety in the wake of Newtown.

Casey said, quote, "The power of the weapon, the number of bullets that hit each child, that was so to me, just so chilling. It haunts me. It should haunt every public official. If those two bills come before the Senate, I’ll will vote for both."

That is a risky, strong, courageous act by Bob Casey in a state that is very pro-gun. Erin.

MCPIKE: It is, but remember, he is not the only one. Joe Manchin, the senator from West Virginia, on Monday was saying that this has changed his thinking. Of course, these are two Democrats, but—

MATTHEWS: No, but Manchin hasn’t said he will vote for these two bills. Bobby Casey just said he would. It’s different to have conversations. It’s another thing to make a commitment.
As with Warner, so with Casey—Chris seemed to be buying the story. Let’s make sure we understand what Bobby Casey has said:

When the Columbine High School kids got shot, that didn’t chill or haunt him. His conscience didn’t kick in.

It didn’t chill or haunt him when all those students at Virginia Tech got killed. Still no word from his conscience!

It didn’t chill or haunt him when his colleague, Gabby Giffords, got shot—when others around her were shot and killed. Nor when all those young adults got killed in that movie theater.

Bobby Casey wasn't shocked until it happened to first graders! Only then was he summoned by conscience. And even then, he only rethought his position on the advice of his wife!

Motives don’t matter as much as positions; Casey and Warner have now changed theirs. But do you think their stories make sense, as Chris seems willing to do?

What kind of person doesn’t get shocked until they start shooting groups of first graders—and even then, only rethinks his stance on the advice of his daughters or wife? What kindoif person isn't summoned by “conscience” if it’s just high school or college students who are getting killed?

Do you believe what Bobby said? Chris now plays on the liberal team. Perhaps for that reason, he seems inspired by the senator’s courage.


  1. This guy, like most all the rest, is motivated by two things: Money and Fear of his constituents.

    One of those two things seems like it may have changed "in the wake of Newtown" -- I'd guess recognition of pressure from "my wife" and "my children" is standing in for the pressure expected from voters in many of these "tales of conversion."

    Sometimes the influence of money runs counter to the influence of fear of constituents (Usually, even. After all, why would anyone pay a pol to do what his constituents already want him to do?)

    It's good that some of these guys are feeling the heat of voter anger in their states/districts. You can bet that if that their fear recedes, money will once again by their first concern.

    1. "Once" their fear recedes, not "if."

      Nothing will happen.

    2. Agreed. These people have proved time and time again that self-interest is only topped by self-preservation.

  2. Warner and his daughters, Casey and his wife -- I remember when President Carter was roundly ridiculed for repeating a conversation he had with his young daughter about nuclear weapons. Times have changed!

    1. It makes it harder for the NRA to go after you when it's your family "forcing" you to change your position. The NRA doesn't want to be seen as anti-family.

      They are using their family as human shields to try to get through the worst of the anti-gun outrage. Once a few news cycles go by, the anti-gun legislation will quietly die in committee. Nothing will be done.

  3. "What kind of person isn't summoned by “conscience” if it’s just high school or college students who are getting killed?"

    Well, a pretty large segment of the population is made up of "that kind of person," if you give any credence to the latest opinion polling. Maybe we expect better-formed opinions from our elected officials than we do from Sidewalk Joe, but such expectations aren't always met.

    So I don't find Casey and Warner's sudden change of heart nearly as unbelievable as you seem to. Granted, whenever you see a politician flip-flop, the baseline probability is very low that this represents a genuine change of opinion. But if anything it seems slightly MORE likely here than in the average case.

    In all fairness, a week ago I would have found this phenomenon absolutely unbelievable. But it seems I was the one who was wrong, and happy to be so. (Of course, you don't seem to think this speaks very well of the American public, but that's a separate issue. And whether they will all change their minds again in a month is yet another, although I dare say Casey and Warner will find it harder than most.)

  4. Do we readers believe what the Senator said? But only days ago it was just knob-polishing conspiracy-theorists who didn't believe at least the good intentions of an appealing politician...how times change.

    Which part aren't we supposed to believe--that Casey's wife pressed him or that he would not vote a different way on some kind of gun control? Both seem 100% plausible.

    Does TDH have some evidence to the contrary? Or is this more feelgood emoting?

  5. If I haven't done right in the past, I should keep on doing what's not right because TDH will criticize me. This is just cheap criticism. Nothing's going to change unless politicians find whatever it is -- courage, cover, I really don't care -- to change their minds. Be grateful, not holier-than-thou snarky. And, by the way, you try running for office in states where hunting is a way of life. If you are going to stay in office you better find cover for going against the NRA.

    1. Surely most sane people - even in "states where hunting is a way of life" - can understand that an AR-15 is not an appropriate weapon for anyone in civilian life. Make the case, don't hide behind your wife's skirts.

    2. You don't understand politics very well, do you?

  6. I couldn't care less why Casey apparently changed his mind, as long as he votes sensibly.

    And what on earth are you suggesting Matthews do, sneer cynically at Casey's explanation? Would possible good thing would that accomplish?

    The thing to do is just what Matthews did, be gracious and accept the explanation at face value and count the guy as an ally.

    1. He's not suggesting that Matthews do anything; Matthews is shocked, shocked to see an A- or B-rated-by-the-NRA Senator like Casey suddenly say he's in favor of gun control after a high-visibility event like Sandy Hook, and that's not really surprising at all. Bob's suggesting that we take Casey's sudden conversion into a supporter of gun control as the cynically calculated move it is. All those other times we had school shootings and mayhem, nothing happened. But this time it will be different, because Bob Casey's wife and Mark Warner's daughter managed to finally convince them of the error of their ways! It's a Festivus miracle!

  7. I agree with urbanlegend and gyrfalcon. But I also can't help but notice (cf.Gary above) that the way to find politically prudent cover is to appeal not to family but, specifically, to the women and children (usually female children) in one's family. Oh dear, before you know it, women will get the vote, and politics will get all soft and pink and full of puppies and kittens and unicorns. (The ridicule heaped on Carter, cited by Gary, is instructive here -- only men with manly bona fides can find successful cover behind women and children.)

    How about finding cover behind sons and fathers and husbands? The fact that it wouldn't work speaks volumes.

  8. We seem to be forgetting something here.
    What politicians say doesn't matter.

    It's how they vote that counts.
    Now, the votes are published for anyone that wants to look them up, but how many of us know what our elected officials actually voted for unless there was a big clamor in the media AT THE TIME OF THE VOTE?

    All the pols have to do is wait until the public is distracted by another hot button issue, then quietly vote for business as usual.

    PS You don't have to be a mind reader to know when a politician is lying. (Unless you are extremely naive.)

  9. Cute of the NRA to blame the media and violent video games for Sandy Hook.

    Looks like there'll be armed guards at schools - for a while - then things will get back to "normal" until next time.

    In a sane world, a rabid nihilist like Wayne LaPierre would be a laughing stock.