Obama really does not want to talk about ISIS or how to handle them…..
The dominant national political discussion less than a week after an audacious, successful raid on an allied capital by an enemy pronounced “contained” by President Obama hours beforehand centers on Republicans defending themselves against charges of bigotry.
In terms of message control, this is like kicking a 55-yard field goal in a snowstorm… while being attacked by a rabid marmot.
In the face of mounting evidence that the president’s “containment” strategy is failing as ISIS escalates its efforts to strike at the West, he sounded annoyed – even bored – when he was discussing the new, virulent phase of the enemy’s battle plan.
But Obama lashed out at Republicans who called for a freeze in migration from its territories. This was not only bigoted the president said, but actually helped the enemy by providing a “recruitment tool.”
Some Republicans sputtered, amazed that the guy whose refusal to enforce his own “red line” and obvious initial misapprehension of the threat from ISIS were so glaring.
Others embraced the xenophobe label (and the attention) promising not just to block new refugees from coming for now, but to make the ban permanent and root out the ones already here. Just another day on the job for the “deportation force.”
Both sides in the GOP fight would argue that Obama “doesn’t get it” and misunderstands the way the world works. Maybe so, or maybe not, but he sure knows how to work the press and to get Republicans to start ripping each other apart.
In 2015 America, accusations of bigotry wail like air-raid sirens. Duck and cover, because the shockwave is heading your way. Obama knows that if he can frame the battle as between himself and Donald Trump, the president might be able to turn public opinion, which is sharply against him now. But even if Obama fails to convince the public, he may buy the time that he desperately needs.
Obama may be right that in the long run, the Islamic State will not achieve its aim of reestablishing a Muslim caliphate to rule from Cordoba to Kazakhstan. But even if the “arc of history” bends away from the Umayyads, it may bend toward deepening chaos and more attacks in the West, including here. It’s certainly starting to feel that way.