To paraphrase former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, “Never let a horrible tragedy go to waste. What I mean by that is spinning the narrative to accomplish things you couldn’t do before”.
The nonstop political opportunism that has been piling on in the wake of the tragic Charleston shooting shows no signs of abating any time soon.
First, the calls for additional gun control from President Obama, and candidates Hillary Clinton and Mark O’Malley. O’Malley went so far as to call for an assault weapons ban, quite probably oblivious to the fact assault weapons had nothing whatsoever to do with the Charleston shooting.
President Obama has been repeatedly rebuked on his attempts at gun control, most recently when a trial balloon on banning .223 ammunition was blown out of the sky.
Also, because of the targeting of African-Americans, the ongoing debate about the nature of race relations in America was further energized. President Obama used an appearance on a popular comedic podcast to say the “N” word and that we “are not cured” of racism.
Hillary, desperate to prove her bonafides on the matter, said that race remains a deep fault line in America:
“It’s tempting to dismiss a tragedy like this as an isolated incident, to believe that in today’s America bigotry is largely behind us, that institutionalized racism no longer exists,” Clinton said. “But despite our best efforts and our highest hopes, America’s long struggle with race is far from finished.”
“And news reports about poverty and crime and discrimination evoke sympathy, even empathy, but too rarely do they spur us to action or prompt us to question our own assumptions and privilege.”
The attempts to politically profiteer off of this tragedy are not limited to democrats. Republican presidential candidate Lindsey Graham reversed his previous defense of the presence of the Confederate flag on the South Carolina state capitol grounds, joining Governor Nikki Haley in calling for its removal.
Quite possibly the most cynical political points being scored off of this tragedy are being scored by Obama himself, as it was announced Monday that he would be providing the eulogy for slain pastor Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
This is the same Obama who did not provide a eulogy for slain Ambassador Christopher Stevens, nor for combat casualty Maj. Gen. Harold Greene, the first flag officer to die in combat since Vietnam. Or for any of the hundreds of military service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice under his command.
So, for those who have been of the opinion that Obama only cares about certain people, his choice to travel to Charleston serves as further evidence that in Obama’s world all folks are not created equal.
More likely, however, is the case that all the funerals that Obama has not attended, nor eulogized, did not make quite the same quality and quantity of political hay. If his travel to Charleston can help “move the ball forward” on his agenda on multiple fronts and can serve as a legacy-defining photo-op, then it is a small burden to bear.
It should come as no surprise that the latest high profile tragedy involving firearms would reinvigorate the anti-gun lobby. Likewise the professional race grievance industry, aided by the liberal media. Interestingly ironic is the fact the shooter’s manifesto claims that his animus was actually borne of this phenomenon: The cherry-picking of which events should be the focus of outrage and a nonstop barrage of media exposure and organized agitation.
On this topic everyone is silent.
[Reuters][The Hill][Business Insider][USA Today][ABC News]