The race to offensively politicize the Boston Marathon bombing was not a sprint, but a long, hard slog. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert won that race today, but he could never have done it without the hard work of others who went before him. Explaining his opposition to immigration reform on C-SPAN Wednesday, Gohmert said, "We know Al Qaeda has camps over with the drug cartels on the other side of the Mexican border. We know that people that are now being trained to come in and act like Hispanic when they are radical Islamist."
We don't know who bombed the Boston marathon — Islamist, Jedi, whatever, although there may be a break in the case this afternoon, with CNN's John King only identifying "a dark skinned person" in what local news reports said might be an "imminent" arrest of a potential suspect. But the relatively slow crawl of the investigation is why Washington — even cable news favorites like Gohmert — have been slow to politicize it. Politico's Dylan Byers was salivating in anticipation Tuesday afternoon. "For many journalists I've spoken with today, this ignorance is tortuous," Byers wrote. "We're standing on the verge of a very important national conversation about something, and we have no idea what it is." On Tuesday, The Atlantic Wire noted that politicians were more hoping their ideological opponents would politicize the attack. There was more to be gained in condemning someone else's politicization than politicizing oneself. Texas Rep. Steve Stockman demanded CNN's Wolf Blitzer apologize for something he did not do: "exploit killings to attack political opponents."
But Gohmert's anti-immigration allies were already taking baby steps. Iowa Rep. Steve King told The National Review that Congress needed to review student visas, since police questioned a Saudi man who was tackled at the marathon. (It turns out the man was just injured in the blast and scared.) Radio host Laura Ingraham said, "It is interesting that at this moment, we are considering legalizing or giving regularized status to millions of people... Pretty much none of them have gone through any rigorous background checks." Rush Limbaugh wondered if the bill — plus gun control — was "being set up to be ramrodded through."
With all that behind him, it was time for Gohmert to make his move. He explicitly tied keeping out Mexican immigrants to preventing terrorism. He told C-SPAN, "Finally the Israeli people said, 'You know what? Enough.' They built a fence, and the rest is a wall to prevent snipers from knocking off their kids. They finally stopped the domestic violence from people that wanted to destroy them. I am concerned we might need to do that as well."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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