Every observer of the American political scene could predict that in the hours after yesterday senseless massacre in Aurora, Colorado, two topics would surface. Some would call attention to the failures in our approach to mental illness in recent decades–the assumption being that only a kind of madness, not garden-variety evil intent, could produce such an action as the slaughter and wounding of scores of innocents in a movie theater. Others–far more numerous in the ranks of liberal mainstream journalists–would renew the call for “gun control” of various kinds focusing on the murderous means available to the shooter to attain his end. And so it proved, as a glance at the morning papers and prominent news sites and television shows will bear out.
But the first commentator I know of who openly turned to the question of the political advantage that might be gained out of the Aurora shootings was Nate Cohn of The New Republic. Less than a full day passed before he posted “Taking On Assault Weapons Could Be a Political Winner for Obama” at TNR. This is the kind of thing that makes ordinary, decent people hear the phrase “writer for a political magazine” and think “bottom-feeder.” Nice work, Nate.