Dionne, Brooks Tout Obama’s Decision to ‘Politicize’ Oregon Shooting

During appearances on NPR’s All Things Considered and PBS NewsHour on Friday, the Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne and the New York Times’ David Brooks eagerly touted President Obama’s blatant decision to “politicize” the Oregon school shooting to push gun control. 

Brooks and Dionne, who both openly endorse federal gun control legislation, eagerly cheered President Obama’s response to the Oregon shooting with Brooks, who self-identifies as a conservative telling NPR’s Robert Siegel that he “support[s] every gun control legislation you can imagine” even though he conceded that it won't be "particularly effective.”  

Dionne was much more blunt in his endorsement of President Obama’s politicizing the Oregon shooting as well as eagerly blasting the GOP for its support of the NRA: 

I think the president was absolutely right when he said this is something that we should politicize because it's politics that has rendered us powerless in the face of slaughter. I'm very glad to hear what David said, and I think that there is something terribly wrong when the Republican Party and the conservative movement are so closely aligned institutionally with the gun lobby and those who say we cannot have any laws in our country. And I think the president's statement calls that out. 

During the PBS NewsHour, the two liberal journalists continued to press the need for greater gun control despite recognizing how ineffective such laws would be in preventing mass shootings. Speaking to anchor Judy Woodruff, Brooks once again blindly advocated for greater gun control even though he once again pointed out that “I don`t think they will do much good. They might do a little good, just because there are 250 million guns in this country.” 

Continuing in his over-the-top praise of Obama’s post-Oregon shooting remarks, Dionne enthused “I loved seeing his anger about this, because I think he reflected the anger of a lot of people. And I actually liked it when he said this is something we should politicize, because the barriers to de-ideologizing it, as David said, are political barriers.”  

See relevant transcripts below. 

NPR’s All Things Considered 

October 2, 2015

ROBERT SIEGEL: David Brooks, is this something we should politicize?

DAVID BROOKS: I guess so. Aristotle said man is a political creature, so we should politicize it. I'm of the - I support every gun control legislation you can imagine. I don't think it'll be particularly effective. There are 250 million guns in this country. Somebody who's a gun nut like this guy was is going to find some guns. And invariably, it seems that they've - have bought their guns legally somehow.

Nonetheless, I think, as the governor said, it might prevent some gun violence to have federal legislation. The studies don't really show that. But I think it's probably worth doing as a small ameliorative step. The second thing - the profiles of these guys is always the same. It's always an alienated loner with self-worth issues and a product of a very loose social fabric. And we just got to keep an eye out for people in our communities who share this pattern and look out for what they might do.

ROBERT SIEGEL: E. J., there are polls showing majorities - small majorities of the public favor stricter gun laws. But there's no progress on that front. Is it just NRA lobbying against it, or is it just impossible to craft an effective gun law that you can square with the Second Amendment and the way it's now interpreted?

E. J. DIONNE: I think the president was absolutely right when he said this is something that we should politicize because it's politics that has rendered us powerless in the face of slaughter. I'm very glad to hear what David said, and I think that there is something terribly wrong when the Republican Party and the conservative movement are so closely aligned institutionally with the gun lobby and those who say we cannot have any laws in our country. And I think the president's statement calls that out.

And the idea that nothing - we can't do anything, that none of these laws work, is simply not true. There was a very interesting study in the National Journal in August that showed that states impose the most restrictions on gun users also have the lowest rates of gun-related crimes. Those with the fewer regulations typically have a higher gun death rate, so we can...    

--

ROBERT SIEGEL: Well, David, you seem to be saying even despite your doubts about the efficacy of such laws, we should still have them.

DAVID BROOKS: Yeah, I don't see the harm, basically. So it might it might be minimally effective, but I really do want to emphasize the other side that - the social side, the mental health side. It's always the same. It's the same kind of guy. And if you have somebody in your community who has - like, this kid had a mother who was a loner, self-worth issues combined with a weird form of narcissism, then we've just got to watch out for those guys and embrace those guys and do something about it.

E. J. DIONNE: I’m not going to disagree with that in the least. I just point out that there are a lot of countries that have loners and narcissists that simply don’t have the same rate of incidents of this sort as we do. And we have to look at ourselves, and guns are part of it.    

PBS NewsHour
October 2, 2015

JUDY WOODRUFF: So here we are yet again, another mass shooting. They seem to be happening every few weeks. David, the president said yesterday at his news conference that he thinks the country`s grown numb, that these are happening so often. Is he right?

DAVID BROOKS: I actually don`t think so. The reaction certainly among the people I have spoken to is one of impatience and growing frustration. And so I don`t think we have grown numb to them. I don`t think we have taken a practical and a pragmatic approach to trying to prevent them. Obviously, as we heard earlier, they`re phenomenally hard to prevent. I`m for gun control laws, as I have said so many times. We have gone through a ritual on this program.

JUDY WOODRUFF: We have.

DAVID BROOKS: And I don`t think they will do much good. They might do a little good, just because there are 250 million guns in this country. I think it`s just very hard to control the ones, but they might erect a barrier. There`s obviously problematics with getting a list of people who have had mental health issues to run against a registry. That`s obviously a problematic thing to do.

I have emphasized the make-believe function, that the profile of these guys who do it is very similar, and it is in this case, alienated young guy with loneliness issues and self-worth issues. And if we looked around for young men like that in our society, maybe we could do something there. I guess I would invite people to de- ideologize it, if that`s a word and to think pragmatically about the many steps we could do to hopefully make some dent, but it`s going to be hard to make a dent in this, I think.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It is hard, E.J., and yet, as the president said, something has to happen, something has to happen. What is the something to change?

E.J. DIONNE: I must say, I loved seeing his anger about this, because I think he reflected the anger of a lot of people. And I actually liked it when he said this is something we should politicize, because the barriers to de-ideologizing it, as David said, are political barriers.

And I was so struck by some of the responses of the Republican candidates to this. Ben Carson, you`re not going to handle it with more gun control because gun control only works for normal -- the normal law-abiding citizens. Well, all laws only work for normal law-abiding citizens. Only with guns do we hear these arguments. Same with Marco Rubio, gun crime is committed by criminals. Criminals ignore the law. Well, yes. But, again, that`s an argument against all law. We have to try some things.

There are no free and democratic and wealthy countries in the world that have our rate of gun violence. You know, David is quite right that we have to worry about loners and alienated people. We have to do better on mental health. But we`re not the only country in the world with loners and alienated people. And I think we have to be willing to take some steps on guns. And I don`t know what`s going to shake us to get there, but I think the president is saying we can`t just sit here anymore. I think there is an anger that`s growing out there that may at some point get conservatives in particular, who ought to be in a different position than they are on this issue.

NB Daily Guns PBS News Hour Radio NPR All Things Considered David Brooks E.J. Dionne Judy Woodruff Robert Siegel

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