Over at National Journal, Alex Seitz-Wald says that Adam Lanza was the person who derailed President Obama's second term. Oh, really? Tell me how, Alex:
... In truth, [Obama's] agenda went off the rails on a crisp December morning last year, when Adam Lanza strolled into Sandy Hook Elementary and killed 20 children and six adults. Obama hasn't gotten back on track since.And?
The Connecticut massacre set in motion a cascade of events that led the White House to burn through its only real window to accomplish its goals. The month before the shooting, Obama had won a convincing reelection and a modest popular mandate.
One major liberal wish-list entry, immigration reform, seemed not only within reach but almost inevitable.Only if you were a naif who believes the Republican Party can ever suppress its blinding hatred of Obama to cooperate with him, or any Democratic successor, ever again. Or if you were a Beltway-insider journalist. (But I repeat myself.)
Go on, Alex:
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.Explain to me why Democrats and Establishment Republicans had to move quickly. Was there a brief moment when the Obama-hating, Democrat-hating, immigrant-hating Republican voter base was going to feel mildly less enraged by Obama, Democrats, or immigrants? Was there a brief moment when the GOP base was going to accept the notion that Obama is a legitimate president and that elections have consequences even when Democrats win them?
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.
Seitz-Wald seems to believe that a base driven to rage by every last Obama initiative would somehow not have been driven to rage by this one, if it had immediately followed an election in which the based loathed and despised the victor (and wasn't particularly fond of the loser, who was instantly blamed for the loss, which came about, they believed largely because he didn't express a sufficiently elevated sense of contempt for the victor).
In the months following Newtown, according to Seitz-Wald, the Obama administration fought for gun control instead of immigration reform, and by doing so "fatally, and irrevocably, antagonized the populist libertarian Right, the same people whom mainstream Republicans and Democrats needed to stay on the sidelines for immigration reform to succeed." Nonsense. The Obama administration "fatally, and irrevocably, antagonize[s] the populist libertarian Right" merely by existing.
This is a variant on the usual Beltway claptrap: that if you're just nice to Republicans, they'll cooperate and help you govern. Even the comity-craving president no longer believes this.
Seitz-Wald says the moment was lost after the gun control fight, which was followed by Benghazimania and the IRS revelations and Snowden and Syria and then the shutdown and the bad rollout of HealthCare.gov. But if none of those things had happened, angry Republicans would still be fighting with Obama. They'd be fighting with him over immigration. They'd have made that their hill to die on, whether the allegedly compromise-seeking Republican Establishment wanted them to or not.
The battle never ends. It's not Obama's fault or Adam Lanza's fault. It's the sociopathically angry Republicans' fault. It's always their fault, because, well, they're sociopathically angry. Permanently.