Hardball with Wayne LaPierre

And Paul Helmke last night was, for lack of a better word, really weird to watch.

You can watch the entire 15 minute segment here.

Chris Matthews doesn’t even bother to hide his bias; repeatedly trying (and failing) to trap Wayne into saying something – look at his questions about “walking down broadway with a bazooka” or “are the government helicopters coming for your guns now”. To his credit, Wayne doesn’t take the bait on any of those.

Paul Helmke though keeps repeating the same arguments that we’ve heard over and over again, and honestly he looked kind of beat up. If you watch the whole thing, a lot of it is him saying “well, yeah, we lost, but…”.

The oddest part was at the end, right after Matthews’ “helicopters” question, where he paid Wayne a kind of weird compliment, calling him “one of the best lobbyists” out there, and then turned to Paul and said “Paul, well…” and just sort of tailed off.

The whole thing is pretty fun to watch though – not only does Wayne do a great job, but Paul just looks defeated and tired.


  1. As much as I dislike Chris Matthews, I rather enjoyed that segment. I think LaPierre looked victorious, and Helmke pretty much just looked defeated… which is precisely the case. Wayne was eloquent and did a fantastic job speaking, while Paul still looks like his jaws are wired shut.

  2. I don’t know, I felt that Matthews got in some good digs at both sides. He obviously tried to paint NRA members as extremists, but he also seemed in favor of allowing the average citizen to own firearms in the home, and even for concealed carry, with the examples about “living in an apartment in a bad neighborhood” that he used to question Helmke. Basically, he used extreme examples to question LaPierre and moderate examples to question Helmke, which actually paints Helmke in a worse light in the eyes of the average viewer, IMO. As you noted, LaPierre did not rise to the bait of the extreme questions, thereby making the NRA appear very reasonable; but Helmke wouldn’t really give in on even the basic self-defense needs that almost anybody would agree with. Say what you will about Matthews’ bias, but IMO his line of questioning served LaPierre a lot better than it did Helmke.

  3. Did I hear correctly? Did Helmke actually admit that concealed carry “doesn’t cause that many problems?”

    I laughed at his “folks back in rural Indiana don’t care how it’s gonna’ play in New York. They’ve won their case.” We do too care, Paul, and your tin ear is why Evan Bayh has that senate seat and not you.

  4. Thanks for posting this. For someone who hasn’t watched TV for 7 years, I miss out on some good stuff.

  5. I appreciate LaPierre’s handling of the situation. With a beaten sack on his left and a pompous windbag across the table, he dealt with the two as I would have preferred. I think he showed restraint when applicable, and stood and spoke firm when required. All in all, I’m pretty happy with the outcome.

    Personally, I don’t altogether feel guilty for having the desire to throw a bucket of icewater on Matthews after the 173rd repitition of “black helicopters, black helicopters, black helicopters!!”

    I did love the defeated Helmke slink back after being told by LaPierre that “.50 caliber is just another caliber.” Kind of icing on the cake.

    All that said, LaPierre is absolutely right about one thing: this is not the winning blow. This is certainly the most fierce so far, but the road ahead is still long. I wish the best for the citizens of Chicago, San Fransisco, etc.

    Hope and Change, indeed;)


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