Fred Hiatt’s red and blue colored glasses, by @DavidOAtkins

Fred Hiatt's red-and-blue colored glasses

David Atkins

Poor Fred Hiatt. Even when he's right, he still wrong.

Consider his Sunday column, in which he mourns the death of the background checks bill in the Senate as the byproduct of an increasingly divided America:

In the week since modest gun control died in the Senate, those of us who don’t think guns make the country safer have been inclined to blame a few cowardly senators whose votes could have shifted the outcome.

Unfortunately, the problem is bigger than that. Contrary to what then-Sen. Barack Obama told us in his inspiring breakout speech to the Democratic convention of 2004, there is a blue America and a red America. And the colors have been deepening over the decade since Obama spoke.

It is nice to see Hiatt concede that most divides in Washington aren't so much a product of Washington politics as they are of fundamental value differences between Americans. That's a step forward for him.

But on the background checks issue specifically, that argument simply doesn't wash. Over 90% of Americans, including majorities of Republicans, support background checks. The Republicans and the few Democrats who voted against the bill did so not because their constituents wanted them to, but because of both fear of the NRA and more importantly the far-right ideological capture of Republicans in Congress. Background checks aren't so much a red-and-blue issue as a green one, as in NRA greenbacks.