President Barack Obama offered a bizarre defense against Donald Trump, who has needled him for his reluctance to label the enemy in the War on Terror “radical Islam” according to Politico. The president’s position is that naming the enemy for what it is will not defeat the enemy. His critics suggest that his refusal to name the enemy illustrates his lack of seriousness in defeating it. He regards radical Islam as the threat that must not be named.
The president also tore into Trump’s suggestion of a temporary restriction of Muslim immigration to America, recently modified to consist of immigration from countries considered hotbeds of terrorism.
Barack Obama moved on to a subject that he is more interested in than fighting terrorism, depriving people of firearms. One suggestion, that people on terrorist watch lists and no-fly lists, should have their guns taken away from them does not pass constitutional muster. Neither lists have anything resembling due process. Besides, the scheme would not have stopped the Orlando massacre.
Finally, the president finished by boasting about how well the war against the Islamic State is going in the Middle East. The bereaved families in Florida must be comforted by how well things are going thousands of miles away from the site of the massacre.
A couple of theories present themselves to explain the president’s behavior..
The first theory is that Obama, in his final year as president, still lacks a clue about how such things are done. Previous presidents – George W. Bush comes to mind – projected reassurance and strength when mass casualty attacks occur on the American homeland. Then they followed up words with action. They did not take the opportunity to take shots at political opponents or further unrelated political agendas. They did not get defensive about their anti-terrorism policies. They understood the nature of the threat and were not afraid to name it. In response, Americans have invariably rallied around the president.
The other theory is that the president wants Hillary Clinton to lose to #Donald Trump. No love is lost between the Obamas and the Clintons. It is entirely possible that Obama would like to be followed by Trump, the theory being that his presidency would compare well to what the volatile real estate tycoon would do. Trump is mad, bad, and dangerous to know, as was once said of Lord Byron.
Of course, that theory depends on Trump being worse than Obama, something that the Donald would have to work very hard to accomplish.