Morning Joe | January 24, 2013
>> one other story we were talking about at the top of the show, the pentagon today will announce that women will now be allowed to serve in full combat roles. at first they'll be phased into roles working as medics and manning artillery, but eventually they could serve in elite commando units directly in the line of fire . for the past ten years, u.s. military women have served at the front lines in both iraq and afghanistan but never in combat. 152 women have been killed in the course of both conflicts. of course, we've been talking around the table about this. there are some contrarian points of view.
>> yeah, there's a piece on the op-ed page of "the wall street journal " this morning. ryan smith is a marine infantrymen that served in iraq. he writes about "the reality that awaits women in combat . societal norms are a reality, and their maintenance is important to most members of a society. despite the professionalism of marines, it would be zrakting and traumatizing to be forced to be naked in front of the opposite sex , particularly when your body has been ravaged by lack of hygiene. in the reverse, it would be painful to witness a member of the opposite sex in such an uncomfortable and awkward position. combat effectiveness is based in large part on unit cohesion. the relationships among members of a unit can be irreparably harmed by forcing them to violate societal norms ."
>> can we have an honest conversation about this? is there a point to be made there?
>> first of all, when you're a serviceman like him, his opinion is meaningful whether you agree or disagree. we've got to show him that respect. i'm assuming that once that uniform goes on, the gender lines change. obviously, i've never been in combat. so, look. this is not a black-and-white issue. and one could also take it to the next level and say women, as long as there's a physical threshold level, and men or women. yes, we all feel the same way emotionally, but i have a feeling if you did talk to a lot of people that have done tours, they might have some different points of view, and we've got to listen to those, clearly.
>> i think it obviously, as this piece points out, definitely creates some complications, but the bottom line , it has to be done. if we want to be there, we should be there. and if we choose to serve and we have the physical capability to do so, we should be there.
>> and by the way, they're not just opening up the floodgates and saying anybody who wants to come forward, come forward. they'll have to meet the standard.
>> not a lot of women will get there easily, for sure.
>> but it would be good for panetta, lar particularly, as he leaves to really make a case for this, really explain all of the thinking, all the complications because of the, you know, unit cohesion, also your devotion to your comrades. and when they're in trouble, soldiers are always protecting one another. you talk to anyone who's been in combat, they say you're not fighting for the flag explicitly in your mind. you're fighting for those you're with.
>> opinions on twitter @morningmika. i'm getting a lot of good questions.
>> on the other hand, there are few announcements like this greeted with as much bipartisan support as this one was. i don't think this is all that controversial.
>> i always like to make the case for it.
>>> senator dianne feinstein is expected to reintroduce the assault weapons ban today, potentially putting into place new regulations on handguns, shotguns and rifles. among other things, the plan would ban the sale or transfer of about 150 types of firearms. but even supporters of reforms in the senate are having a hard time drumming up the support they need at home. front page of "the new york times" today, democrat joe manchin of west virginia has faced doubts within his constituency who feel the second amendment is in jeopardy. "the times" describes the senator's attempts to reassure his constituents about the political climate in washington. he said i see no movement, no talk, no bills, no nothing. they remained skeptical. we give up our rights one piece at a time. a banker named charlie houck. he actually had a meeting and said how many of you are concerned you're going to lose your second amendment rights? all the hands went up. that shows how difficult it's going to be, even at this table, it seems to clear what needs to be done. that's not the way everybody feels.
>> i'm disappointed mr. scarborough is not at this table because we had a heated one-on-one about first and second amendment about video games , comparing it to slippery slope on the second amendment. i've done a lot of research since then. i want to go back at him on that. this is a black-and-white issue again. to draw the line and say that in some way, shape or form we are going back to the founders' vision of what the second amendment is is just false. it's just that simple.
>> but there's a fear out there, steve rattner. you read the article, manchin was, you know, trying to explain to these people that you will not lose your -- and they do not hear it at all. there is a real fear that this is going to chip away at one of the most important things that they stand by and what this country stands by.
>> the nra, i think, has been extraordinarily successful at creating that impression, that if you give up one thing, you give up your 30-round magazines, you give up your assault weapons , that the next thing that's going to happen are going to be your shotguns or your rifles or your hunting guns.
>> and i don't see any reason why that's true. i don't think there's any particular evidence that it's true, but that is the ethos that they have created around this issue. and what i think people have to break through, including people like senator manchin who is in a much more reasonable place.
>> if you read that "times" piece, joe manchin is facing the consequences of what he said sitting in that chair.
>> the monday after newtown, he came in here and said you know what? we've got to sit down and have a reasonable conversation. i'm an a-plus member of the nra, but we've got to talk about limiting some of these things. he said picket outside his office. he's faced tough town hall meetings . he's understanding what it means to be someone in a state like west virginia to come out and even consider the possibilities of limiting some gun rights .
>> that's what leaders do. that's what leaders do.
>> if joe manchin -- the jeremy peters piece is really good because you actually realize what it's like to be a lawmaker, not just yapping, but actually meeting the constituents and dealing with it. but also i think for this to succeed, you're going to have to get some republicans who are going to do a nixon goes to china . joe manchin is a red state democrat. he's a governor, a very sensible guy, but he is a democrat, no?
>> we want you to join our conversation online. tweet your comments on any of our top talker stories. @morni @morningmika or @joenbc.
>>> still ahead, john barrasso , jane harman , hall of fame quarterback john elway and writer and director of the film "silver linings playbook," david o. russell . up next, jim vandehei with the top stories in the "politico playbook." first, the latest on the frigid temperatures outside. bill karins with a check on the forecast.
>> i think, mika, get to day two or three, your body gets used to it. the winds around as bad as yesterday. first things first, look out the window down through virginia, i'm sure the ground is covered. you got some snow last night. only picked up about a dusting to two inches in most areas. coastal maryland picked up as much as three or four. it's just about over with. hopefully the sidewalks will brush off easily. it's a light, fluffy snow. give yourself a little extra time . now for those temperatures. the cold spots continue to be northern new england and northern portions of wisconsin and minnesota. the icebox of america, international falls this morning, it is minus 33 degrees. that's without any wind whatsoever. now when we factor in the windchills, it's a little bit breezy around chicago and green bay . that's why it feels so bitterly cold for you. and northern new england , windchills are as low as minus 20 to minus 30. not exactly enjoyable either. from indianapolis to d.c. so what's going to happen today? it's another cold day , but most areas will be in and out of the sun. sun and clouds. we will see snow showers around chicago. the whole southern half of the country is kind of just laughing at us in the north because it's very warm and beautiful from phoenix to dallas all the way to miami. and if you're on the eastern seaboard anywhere from the mississippi to the east, you have a likely chance of seeing some snow showers . this includes areas from ohio valley , great lakes, and new england through the mid-atlantic. that's going to be friday afternoon and evening, a dusting to two inches. again, that's tomorrow that snow is expected. you're watching " morning joe ." another cold, frigid start in d.c. we're brewed by starbucks