Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Orlando and the Political Blame Game

Here’s an easy thought experiment: what would the national conversation sound like if the Orlando massacre had occurred while a Republican was in the White House?

You know the answer: liberals and progressives would have been screaming that the president had failed to protect the people. They would have been calling for investigations into the president’s dereliction.They would have been demanding an assault weapon ban. Some of them would have wanted to take away your guns… all 300,000,000 of them.

Of course, they would not have denounced Islam, any more than they are today. They might have expressed surprise that a “religion of peace” could have fostered so much hatred, but they would certainly not have called the terrorist attack an act of war. They would have blamed Christians for their homophobia. They would not have demanded reprisals—unless against Christian pastors. They would have declared that America had a homophobia problem, as our president has said himself.

You recall the 9/11 Commission. Savvy Democrats worked very hard to ensure that the blame for the terrorist attack fell completely on George Bush. They worked very hard to ensure that no one came away with the impression that the Clinton administration had anything to do with the rise of Islamist terrorism or that the lack of communication between the FBI and the CIA, a Clinton administration policy, had anything to do with the attack.

Republicans on the committee missed the point completely. They thought that they were there to discover the facts. Naïve and innocent they were. Now they are wondering why so many of their constituents think they are dupes and dopes.

Right now, the liberal media is doing everything in its power to deflect blame away from Barack Obama. They are crafting a narrative that completely exculpates Barack Obama for what happened in Orlando. They do not seem to understand that projecting weakness to the world makes you a target.

The media are happy to ignore the role that fear of being called racist played in the FBI investigation of Omar Mateen. Yesterday, the FBI director said that they had called off their investigation of the terrorist because they did not want to appear to be Islamophobic. It reminds you of the neighbors of the San Bernardino terrorists who saw something suspicious but did not report it for fear of being called racist.

The Obama administration’s war for social justice has just claimed dozens of more victims. In the midst of it all the president has held firm on one point: he refuses to speak ill of Islam. He insists that terrorism has been caused by a perverted strain of a great religion. And he insists that we have no evidence suggesting that ISIS directed the attack.

Apparently, some people think that it does not really matter whether he uses the words “Islamic terrorism.” Obviously, they have got caught in mindless legalism. If the president declares the terrorist act an act of war and names an enemy he will be obliged to do something about it, beyond being the mourner in chief. He will be obliged to retaliate. And, we know, Obama will do everything in his power to avoid that.

Brit Hume made the salient point in a commentary on Bret Baier’s Fox Report last night. He remarked that while Obama had exhorted Americans to examine their own homophobia he NEVER said a word denouncing the virulent strain of homophobia that infects Islam.

And yet, all is not lost. A glimmer of good sense came down to us yesterday from a fully fledged member of the progressive left: Barney Frank.

Yes, that Barney Frank.

Asked to comment on the terrorist attack in Orlando Frank began by saying a few words about gun control. But then he added some remarks that are guaranteed to make his leftist friends uncomfortable. Islam, he said, has a problem with homosexuals. We cannot ignore it.

He might have said that Islam has a problem with a lot of different people. In fact, it has a problem with anyone who is not Muslim. He didn't, but, you can't have everything.

Frank told the New York Times:

There is an Islamic element here. Yes, the overwhelming majority of Muslims don’t do this, but there is clearly, sadly, an element in the interpretation of Islam that has some currency, some interpretation in the Middle East that encourages killing people — and L.G.B.T. people are on that list. And I think it is fair to ask leaders of the Islamic community, religious and otherwise, to spend some time combatting this.

The Times report continues, quoting Frank:

The attack “reinforces the case for significant surveillance by law enforcement of people who have given some indication of adoption of these angry Islamic hate views.” The gunman had been questioned by the F.B.I. “If they had continued to surveil him, that would have led to some A.C.L.U. criticism – and they would have been wrong. I wish they had surveilled him more, not less.”

Of course, these remarks did make the New York Times. But, don’t expect to hear very much about them again. Since they defy the narrative they will be ignored. Or, they will be written off as a function of Frank's advanced age… or something. If the same words had been pronounced by a Republican, all hell would have broken loose. The ACLU would have been protesting outside his office.

Remember when Ted Cruz—the candidate that the Republican establishment thought was worse than Donald Trump—recommended that law enforcement authorities increase surveillance in Muslim neighborhoods. Remember the hue and cry that rose up. Cruz was quickly denounced as a bigot.

CNN reported the story:

"If you have a neighborhood where there's a high level of gang activity, the way to prevent it is you increase the law enforcement presence there and you target the gang members to get them off the streets," the Texas senator told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I'm talking about any area where there is a higher incidence of radical Islamic terrorism."

And also,

Earlier in the day Cruz said in a statement, "We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized," adding that the U.S. can no longer afford to [sic] "political correctness."

"For years, the West has tried to deny this enemy exists out of a combination of political correctness and fear. We can no longer afford either. Our European allies are now seeing what comes of a toxic mix of migrants who have been infiltrated by terrorists and isolated, radical Muslim neighborhoods," Cruz said in the statement.

Of course, a representative of the New York Police Department declared that the comments were "incendiary" and "foolish." That they were merely a description of Bloomberg administration policy did not prevent anyone from calling Cruz a bigot.

Other political figures piled on:

Cruz's call drew a swift rebuke from GOP presidential rival Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Anti-Defamation League, a leading anti-bigotry organization.

"We are not at war with Islam, we are at war with radical Islam," Kasich said during a news conference. "Just because you happen to be a Muslim does not mean you want to destroy someone in the West.... The last thing we need is more polarization because for those who want to preserve Islam in the west, we alienate them."

One remarks that the uber-qualified Kasich was an also-ran because he was tone deaf and came across as weak.

Naturally, Democrats despised Cruz. They were reading from the John Boehner hymnal:

Wasserman Schultz was blunter.

"Ted Cruz is a disgrace," the Florida congresswoman said, adding that the freshman senator's statement amounted to "fear-mongering."

"His comments today were worse than opportunistic and inappropriate politicking in the wake of the terrible tragedy in Brussels -- they were a shameful display of hate that only serves to foment anger and make the world less secure," Wasserman Schultz said in a statement.

Was the Congresswoman from Florida suggesting that Ted Cruz would ultimately be responsible for acts of domestic terrorism? At the least, she was laying down a predicate.

The heated rhetoric directed against Ted Cruz—and today against Donald Trump—combined with the outrage directed against the NRA tells us that the American left, with a few exceptions, is at war against Republicans and conservatives. For them, politics is about affixing blame. When something good happens they take the credit. When something bad happens they blame Republicans. It’s time for Republicans to start understanding the nature of the game.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Democrats are never responsible for anything because of their good intentions.

And what is _____phobia? I am tiring of such made-up words.

Anyone else noticed that gun control is the reflexive solution to everything? Said by people who are surrounded by people protecting them with... guns.

Is it all Bush's or Trump's fault? It's difficult to keep track these days.

Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: the American left, with a few exceptions, is at war against Republicans and conservatives. For them, politics is about affixing blame. When something good happens they take the credit. When something bad happens they blame Republicans. It’s time for Republicans to start understanding the nature of the game.

Wow, that's a lot of self-pity there. The Right never plays blame games, but now they're going to have to get tough against their will. The Right wants to play fair, but they have to defend themselves and do what it takes to keep America safe from the Left's rhetorical manipulations.

Here's Hillary's speech about Orlando. Perhaps we can extract the "Blame the Republicans" portions of it and set the record straight.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares, why do you bother?

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, oh, you are not interested in even skim-reading what the next President of the United States has to say?

Here's her speech ending. Is she being deceptive? Is this just fake "reaching across the aisle"? Is it just trying to "sound presidential" while not actually meaning what she says? Or is she one of Stuart's "exceptions" who isn't at war with the Republicans?

Feel free to read between the lines below as you like and tell me what you find.
I was a Senator from New York. There was a Republican president, a Republican governor, and a Republican mayor. We did not attack each other – we worked with each other to protect our country and to rebuild our city.

President Bush went to a Muslim community center just six days after the attacks to send a message of unity and solidarity. To anyone who wanted to take out their anger on our Muslim neighbors and fellow citizens, he said, ‘That should not and that will not stand in America.’

It is time to get back to the spirit of those days. The Spirit of 9/12. Let’s make sure we keep looking to the best of country, to the best within each of us.

Democratic and Republican Presidents have risen to the occasion in the face of tragedy. That is what we are called to do my friends, and I am so confident and optimistic that is exactly what we will do.

Marsh said...

Wasn't Obama's speech today reassuring, unifying and powerful? He's just the best, isn't he? /S

Admit it, Stuart, Trump is looking alot better to you.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

No, Ares, I do not care to read Presidrnt Obama's speech. I've heard enough from him to know that his words are absolutely meaningless, and his actions -- which contradict a great many of his words -- are at this point hopelessly predictable. He's spoken so much over the years that I'm full.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC, I mentioned Hillary's speech, America's next president, not current President Obama, but since you mentioned it let's see where the unfair blame lies...

In continuing to push on this front, I want to mention that it is critical for our friends in the Senate to confirm Adam Szubin, my nominee for undersecretary of terrorism and financial intelligence. Adam has served in Democratic and Republican administrations. Everyone agrees he's eminently qualified. He has been working on these kinds of issues for years.

It's now been more than a year since I nominated him. More than 420 days and he still has not been given a full vote. There is no good reason for it. It is inexcusable. So it's time for the Senate to do its job, put our national security first and have a vote on Adam Szubin that can lead our financial fight against ISIL and help keep our country safe.

Have the Republicans given a reason for not confirming Szubin? Is the president unfairly blaming the republicans for not doing their job?

I know, tit-for-tat - surely Obama must have said something mean first, so we can't possibly move forward until the country suffers a little longer.

And continuing:
We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee [Trump] for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from emigrating to America. We hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complicit in violence.

Where does this stop? The Orlando killer, one of the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer -- they were all U.S. citizens. Are we going to start treating all Muslim Americans differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them, because of their faith?

Is Obama unfairly blaming Trump for wanting to push 1+ billion people of the world on the far side of the fence with the terrorists?

At the very least this is a vast difference of opinion, not a blame game from the president.

Sam L. said...

"Is Obama unfairly blaming Trump for wanting to push 1+ billion people..." Yes. Trump wants those not here to go thru the immigration process and be checked out. Same for those from Mexico and parts south.

Anonymous said...

Yes, muzzles should suffer increased surveillance, the restriction of Internet use, a ban on citizenship, and the importation of refugees, and clamps on religious expression until they show they can follow America's path to citizenship, censure their own hate speech, joyfully turn in their beheading malcontents, and prove the are a benefit to our society instead of a pox.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Every time Obama says "That's not who we are," I cringe.