Melissa Harris-Perry | February 10, 2013
>>> welcome back. this was the scene yesterday as first lady michelle obama attend attended a funeral of a 15-year-old teen shot in chicago. her mother, will be one of 23 people directly affected by gun violence who will be attending the state of the union as invited guests of house democrats. the representatives are using the bright spotlight to bring attention to gun control measures being considered by congress. as a reminder and for the president these speeches, his most visible platform to influence the debate he hope toss accomplish in the second term. it feels to me like the one thing beyond the ordinary mundane, continuing to get out of the recession, is this gun violence question and this idea of using this as a moment to put pressure on it. whether or not they stand for immigration with 23 gun victim, you know, survivor family members in the room, it's going to be hard not to stand on some sort of gun control .
>> it goes to what victoria said, who is the audience? who is the president trying to make the statement to? if he's trying to get public support on his side, he has it. now, the funny thing is they actually don't prevent much.
>> right. they present newtown, but not pendleton, right?
>> to some extent they don't. connecticut has these laws. at least on the pr war, he could come down the road and get republicans, moderate republicans in this country who say this is crazy that we have these -- we don't have these kind of laws.
>> is this a time then when part of the audience is undoubtedly republicans but the other part are ordinary americans, many of whom are gun owners . i'm not here to take your guns. lbj said we are here to end segregation.
>> you could have a buyback program. it's what they did in australia to make handguns. it's by far the largest cause of gun violence in america . you know, i think obama learned from the mistake of the assault weapon ban. it went through a five-year sausage making effort in stockton, california. what came out of it was a watered down bill. everyone detached from the crisis moment. it's clear what he's trying to do is have a flash moment on this and use this to heal the wounds it country feels to get an up and down vote on it. i don't think he's going get the assault weapons ban but at least have a vote on it and have on record, if you are in the nra and voted against that and there's another shooting, you have something to call them on.
>> he's cheap. i'm going to be the downer about the state of the union address . he can go there and talk all he wants, but actions speak louder than words. what is the president going to do with the establishment he has? that's what's going to matter. it's not talking to the tv viewers. what is he going to do? traditionally, the democratic party has been weak in institution. republicans have been good at institution building. democrats haven't. 2009 through 2012 was a lost opportunity with the democratic party . what is he going to do going forward? is he going to take it to the shooting? that's my question.
>> here is one thing he could do. that is he could tie the death of pent lton and the handgun death to the questions you were bringing up earlier laura about inequality and poverty. so, she's standing there in her neighborhood park. she was most likely shot by someone engaged in gang warfare over the drug war . he could make this not just about weaponry, but about the context in which american violence occurs. he's a chicagoan. he has the position to stand there and do that.
>> i have to say, listening to this conversation and thinking of who is going to be there and thinking of the consequences of gun violence . who is not going to be there is anybody who is a representative of victims of gun violence around the world. a drone victim, for example. they are not there. i think this is also the state of the union is a time where the president has to address our global union. our union with the world. at the moment, it's horrible by the proliferation of our policies. it's a huge leap and not going to happen. to avoid the hypocrisy, we are one of the biggest gun manufacturers in the world. we are creating weapons around the world and at home. we have to address the violence on these levels. start it home and start it local. let's not ignore the fact that, you know, we need gun control .
>> the problem is, it goes to this being his legacy speech. this is it. this is all he thooz determine his agenda for the next six months to a year. so, it's also facing a sluggish economy. he's not going to be able to fight through all of these other issues.
>> it's not just unemployment rates. it's the contraction.
>> i see $100 less on my paycheck every month. i think it's the tangibility of it.
>> the only place money is going to come from for the infrastructure is --
>> he's called for high speed rail before. he's called for clean energy . the revenue is not there to make it happen. what is he going to put on the table in the state of the union that is going to generate the revenue or push political buttons?
>> in the state of the union , he's adding spending in a very specific way.
>> he makes the claim for revenue. there's been global peace , inequality. the other piece could be here is why government matters and why we need more revenue, i dare you not to raise taxes. that's what we need to do.
>> he needs to go through loopholes. what he's tried is incentives to spend money and raise jobs. corporations are hoarding cash. banks are hoarding cash. using a policy as a leverage hasn't happened. what is going to happen?
>> i love the state of the union we have written where the president says state of the union is week, we need more taxes. i'm done with drones. by the way, i'm coming for your handguns.
>> why not? why not lay that out?
>> this is fun. we are going to stay on the state of the union question. we are going to do it nerdland style. pop quiz is next. [ male announcer ] why do more emergency