The Rachel Maddow Show | June 20, 2012
>>> had he got elected, they concocted a scheme to stay away from the gun issue. lull gun owners to sleep and play us for fools in 2012 .
>> your oversight of an agency of a depart of individual leaders in that department that have not been held accountable.
>> well, with all due respect, and i mean this with great respect, the notion this was an operation set up to do something to impinge upon second amendment rights of thmy fellow citizens is aabsurd.
>> 23 ayes, 17 noes.
>> the ayes have it. and a contempt report is ordered reported to the house. without objection so ordered, the committee stands adjourned.
>> party line vote in one republican controlled house committee today to hold attorney general eric holder in contempt of congress . the speaker of the house , john boehner , a vote in the full house on that matter will be held next week. it's all about a conspiracy theory marinated on the right, essentially alone in right wing media that the fast and furious gun running program in the southwest was somehow a conspiracy to take away second amendment rights by upsetting people about gun violence . joining us now is bob herbert , senior distinguished fellow for the public policy and advocacy. thank you for being here.
>> great to be here, although i have to tell you, it is not fair to have to comment on this story in public because once you imerse yourself in this issue, it's like being on acid. it's unbelievably crazy.
>> let me say that that is true of a lot of gun issues. gun issues i have always described at the great ungoogleable. it's not possible to get rational, unbiased, real information about what is going on with gun laws , particularly with politics because you're so deep in conspiracy land that you get no real information. this fast and furious is a subset of that, but yeah, party line 100% of republicans voting on it today. voting for it, voting to hold attorney general in contempt over it. is this the fringe becoming main stream or is there something else?
>> the republican party is hooked up with the fringe a long time ago. the republican party , a main stream party in the sense we only have two parties, but it's not main stream if you're thinking about the way most americans think about most important issue. what's important to look at here is what are senators like -- what are people like issa and grassley doing riding the wave of this guy, for example. he comes up with something that is utter madness , and big shots in the republican party just pounce on it and then ultimately, it leads them to a contempt citation against the attorney general of the united states ? i mean, that is just madness. we need to understand, one, this was not a holder operation. this sting, which was a terrible sting, it ended tragically and that sort of thick, but holder ordered an end to this. the people in charge of the sting were either fired or reassigned. there is an investigation in the justice department and congress is investigating it. i don't have any problem with that at all. the idea this had something to do with the oboauma administration wanting to underline second amendment rights is madness of the higher order. people like me who are very much in favor of enforcing gun control laws and would like gun control laws strengthened, who would like to make it more difficult for people to access guns, obama has been a terrible disappointment. the brady campaign gave him an f for his performance in terms of gun control . so it's just madness to talk about him undermining the second amendment. he's done nothing of the sort.
>> in terms of real policy concerns and the real responsibilities of governing, i was focused today on that, too, on the issue if you really are interested in gun policy and not just interested in conspiracies, the brady campaign has given him an f. they have done nothing to increase gun control or not, whether or not you think that's a good idea. is the true that a rationally based administration ends up being constrained to the point where they can do zero on the policy issue because even when they do 0 or, that's constreeted as some act of aggression?
>> i think whether it was the obama administration or another democratic administration, i believe they could have done more on gun control in a number of other issues. i think that the forces who are opposed to some of the things that the republican party stands for should be fighting harder against the republican party . should be fighting back harder on some of the issues. and if you take gun control , for example, this is like an unbelievably important issue. the republicans talk about being concerned about this agent who was killed and it's your right to be concerned about that. but 100,000 americans are shot every year. and 30,000, more than 30,000 die. and these are a result of homicides, suicides, and gun accidents. your viewers ought to understand if they watch your show, during the course of this show, three americans will die from gun shot wounds because three americans die from gun shot wounds every hour. this is an incredibly important issue. if the republicans are concerned about what happens when guns get into the wrong hands, they should pay attention to the 100,000 americans affected by this.
>> any discussion on how to deal with that in policy is so backwards in the telescope, doing nothing is construed as secretly plotting to do too much.
>> exactly, and not only that. what they really want to do is undermine the legitimacy of the people who do not agree with them, soy they want to undermine the legitimacy of eric holder , barack obama , and the democratic party .
>> by lining up with the break their windows militia guys. this is just an incredible guy. bob herbert , thank you so much.
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