You can't have (mass-produced) guns without a factory, but you can discuss the gun without discussing the factory it came from.
To continue with your analogy, if you are discussing a product, that's fine. If you are trying to anticipate what other products might be forthcoming, then you have to look at the factory that produced it in order to determine what it's history is, it's philosophies, etc. The former approach deals strictly with the hear and now, while the latter deals with the future. In terms of the forum, the former approach only allows one to react to proposed legislation, while the latter deals with anticipated legislation and potential avenues of attack.
If you are looking at the intelligence and character of the legislator, you have an issue. If you are not looking at the identity and history of the legislator, you have an equally big, if different, issue.