There's something pathological about much of the media's overstatement of public opposition to regulations on gun ownership. Here's Chris Matthews moments ago:
"You take a pro-gun control position in PA statewide, and you're finished. Arlen Specter can't take it. Bobby Casey can't take it. Ed Rendell can't."
And here's reality: A 2006 survey in which Ed Rendell indicated his support for requiring "background checks on gun sales between private citizens at gun shows." He also indicated his desire to "Maintain and strengthen the enforcement of existing state restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns." And he did not indicate support for easing or repealing restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns, or allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons.
Then, of course, there's the fact that Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, and Barack Obama - all of whom support various gun regulations - have won Pennsylvania in the last five presidential elections.
I guess what I'm getting at is that Chris Matthews doesn't have any idea what he's talking about. None.
Journalists like Matthews often conflate the public's belief that people generally have a right to own guns with opposition to any regulation of the ownership and sale of guns, or of when and where they can be carried. That's nonsense. And they overstate the intensity of the purported opposition to gun regulations, treating the topic as a "third rail" in places like Pennsylvania. It isn't - as Rendell, Clinton, Gore, Kerry, and Obama have shown.