I have a real thumb-sucker for you from today’s New York Times. That’s probably a dog-bites-man lede, but you might get a kick out of the sheer blatancy of this piece by Michael Shear and Peter Baker on the president’s big gun-control fail. Here’s how it opens:

Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, asked President Obama’s administration for a little favor last month. Send your new interior secretary this spring to discuss a long-simmering dispute over construction of a road through a wildlife refuge, Mr. Begich asked in a letter. The administration said yes.

So the premise is, Begich asked the administration for a favor, and the administration obliged. But what did that nasty closet-Tea Party ingrate do? I won’t keep you in suspense:

Four weeks later, Mr. Begich, who faces re-election next year, ignored Mr. Obama’s pleas on a landmark bill intended to reduce gun violence and instead voted against a measure to expand background checks. Mr. Obama denounced the defeat of gun control steps on Wednesday as “a shameful day.”

Mr. Begich! Prisoner of the NRA! Shameful ingrate!

Thank goodness Shear and Baker are here to connect those dots for us, to smoosh those Venn circles together into one big blob of… evil.

See, the bill was intended to reduce gun violence, and who cares if it wouldn’t. Because of intentions, you see. But how did the bill play back home in Alaska? What were Begich’s constituents telling him? Does Begich have any strong convictions regarding expanded background checks? Let’s see what Shear and Baker reported on those questions:


Everyone knows you never go full Sergeant Schultz. Anyway, let’s see what was in the story’s third graf:

But Mr. Begich’s defiance and that of other Democrats who voted against Mr. Obama appear to have come with little cost. Sally Jewell, the interior secretary, is still planning a trip to Alaska — to let Mr. Begich show his constituents that he is pushing the government to approve the road.

Golly-gee-gosh-darn it, that Obama is just too geewilickers nice to everybody. Why, sequester ungrateful vote or not, the president is probably going to get that road built. And maybe hand-paint smiley faces along the length of it.

See? The president is just too good, too sweet, too flawless to play the Washington game — and that’s the only reason he ever loses.

And if The One is just too driven-snow pure to twist Begich’s arm? Well, then the NYT is more than happy to do the job for him.