If Americans tuned in to Obama’s speech last night hoping for a substantive, long-term strategy to defeat ISIS, they’re still waiting. In a rare talk on terrorism (from an even rarer setting), the president managed to talk for 13 minutes without saying anything new.
Backed into a corner by tragedies his failed policies helped create, President Obama tried to answer his critics on the administration’s inadequate response to radical Islam. But after a familiar lecture on tolerance and gun control, all he accomplished was proving his opponents right.
Obama, who delivered just his third address from the Oval Office, seemed somewhat less at home there than he does on late-night television (where he’s appeared almost four times as often). But the setting did lend a certain gravity to the moment that had been lacking in his other comments. Unfortunately, that gravity didn’t translate into concrete policy goals — much to the disappointment of everyday Americans, who are increasingly avoiding stadiums and shopping malls Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) fired back, because they’re scared. “They’re scared,” he went on, “not because of these attacks, but the growing sense we have a president that’s completely overwhelmed by them.”
Like other GOP candidates, he took particular exception to the administration’s line that its anti-terrorism strategy is working. If his strategy had been working, last night’s speech wouldn’t have been necessary! “As Commander-in-Chief, I have no greater responsibility than the security of the American people,” he said, while providing no evidence that he takes that security seriously.
With a military frayed by seven years of social experimentation and the Muslim faith afforded more tolerance than the Christians who founded this nation, Americans last night were far from reassured. Instead, the president ticked off a list of ongoing responses: airstrikes, coalition work, border patrol, training and equipment runs to Iraqi and Syrian forces — before pivoting to a predictable and ineffective agenda: gun control.
After six years, the president was finally willing to label the attack at Fort Hood “an act of terrorism” — not because he suddenly came to grips with what happened there, but because he’ll do anything (including throwing political correctness overboard) to have an excuse to take guns out of the hands of law-abiding citizens. But, as I tweeted last night, Americans with guns aren’t the problem. The problem is that the policies of the Obama administration allow people into the country who hate America. The idea that radicalized Muslims can be stopped through stricter gun control laws shows a serious lack of understanding of the threat and tactics of terrorists.
Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) could only shake his head. “This is not about workplace violence. This is not about global warming or gun shows. This is not about income inequality… This is not about anything that we have done wrong. This is about who we are.” Unfortunately, this administration has shown very few signs that it knows who that is. “President Obama said… he’s worried about a backlash against American Muslims,” Sasse went on. “I am too, and you know what the best way to combat that is? With the truth. By being clear about who we are and what we stand for and by being clear about those who would try to kill us because we believe in freedom.”
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