Opening Act: Misfires All 'Round

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
April 11 2013 8:31 AM

Opening Act: Misfires All 'Round

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Democratic candidate for Governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe campaigns with former President Bill Clinton on May 13, 2009 in Herndon, Virginia.

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Witness the dangers of "momentum" punditry as seen in two headlines. Headline of Kim Strassel's April 4 WSJ column:

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.

Obama's Gun-Control Misfire
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Headline of a WSJ editorial five days later:

The GOP's Gun Control Misfire

Will the GOP and red state Democrats block a gun vote today at 11 a.m.? We shall see. But the "gun bill clearly dead" punditry of last week was the product of awfully lazy reasoning.

Speaking of! This can only sound like sour grapes, but as a David Corn fan it strikes me as odd that the "McConnell tape" got him a glowing Style section profile in WaPo. This is what I mean:

And just like that, Corn and Mother Jones had their second major bombshell in seven months... Corn, 54, says the two career-making stories might have been linked.

The McConnell tape is a "career-making" story? It's fun—it's the "Shut Up, Little Man!" of how-campaigns-work stories—but at the absolute best it's a hiccup for McConnell, whose voice hardly appears on the tape. At worst it'll end up boosting McConnell with his base.

Republican pol gets sacked for racism, blames "dumb fuck" reporter. Now, see, that's a career-making story!

Isaac Chotiner wants Chris Hayes to stay golden.

And I once snarked that Terry McAuliffe has the populist appeal of a Romney brother. Beth Reinhard reports on the truth behind this.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. You can reach him at daveweigel@gmail.com, or tweet at him @daveweigel.