Reader J sent me a whole bunch of links this morning, but this one, from Alex Seitz-Wald at the National Journal, should be taught in Journalism schools across the country as an example of shitty narrative-based journalism.
Let’s start with the click bait headline: “How Adam Lanza Wrecked Obama’s Second Term”. Perhaps it’s just my peevish nature and small mind, but as far as I’m concerned there’s a special place in hell for anyone who decides to juxtapose the name of a loathsome child murderer with a decent public servant (of any party) just to get a few more hits on the Internet. That guy’s name should be mentioned as little as possible, and you should spit after you say it.
But, if you can get past the headline, here’s the heart of the argument:
Immigration was in an almost impossible bipartisan sweet spot: a singularly important policy goal for Democrats that could be a political boon for both parties. For Republicans, it was a way to fix a demographic problem revealed by the 2012 election. Still, they’d have to move quickly. The populist Right that had torpedoed immigration reform under George W. Bush seemed quieted by defeat, but it wouldn’t stay that way for long.
Then Lanza’s rampage altered the debate in Washington. Suddenly, priority No. 1 wasn’t immigration reform but gun control. The base that had just elected Obama was clamoring for background checks and magazine-clip restrictions, threatening to desert the president before his second inauguration. […]
Yes, it was the dirty fucking hippies who killed immigration reform. The nativist right “seemed quieted” (to whom? the deaf?), so Obama had his moment. If only those fucking hippies had shut up and tolerated a grotesque massacre of children, the DREAM act would have sailed through Congress.
How can someone who has functioning eyes and ears, and a neural pathway between them, believe this garbage? It’s been clear all along that immigration reform would live or die in the House, that the House is dominated by a band of zealots who have no intention of risking a Tea Party primary challenge, and that one sure way to encourage Tea Party challenger would be to champion “amnesty”, as it would be called in the campaign ads.
The distasteful fact that this piece is dancing around is that Republicans have been looking for excuses to kill immigration reform for years. (Here’s the previous effort that used Obamacare as an excuse.) Apparently under the reign of Ron Fournier, it’s also the National Journal’s job to help them make excuses, or at least create distractions.