Monday, December 7, 2015

After Reading Josh Marshall, Maybe We Are Doomed

The media is in a feeding frenzy. Despite all the talk of how Donald Trump is a bridge too far, they now are sounding like him themselves or even Ted Cruz who says that he wants to carpet bomb Syria to 'See if sand glows.'

Yet the media is besides itself with how wrong the President has been in the way he's reacted to San Bernandino.

Obama's not-so-peppy pep talk

Oval Office address fails to quell concerns about administration's handling of terrorism.

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How does Politico know it 'failed to quell concerns' anyway? Maybe many who watched the speech thought it did.  What was interesting is that while the media is selling the narrative that the nation is in mortal panic and hates everything the President is saying about ISIS and terrorism, Steve Kornacke conducted a focus group on MSNBC last night that hardly seemed to back that up.

The respondents hardly seemed to fit the prototype of Americans disdainful of Obama and in total panic over ISIS. But Chris Matthews and friends seemed not to know this.

At this point the media seems to think Obama should be as bellicose as possible and threaten fire and brimstone on the Middle East. That doesn't actually mean anything in policy terms-certainly Cruz's
'strategy' is absurd but it 'sounds tough' and that's what matters now. The President should not allay anyone' fears, he should  perpetuate them.

"Republican presidential candidates, led by Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, used their weekend events and TV interviews to go into bloodthirsty overdrive: “carpet bomb them into oblivion,” Cruz said in Iowa on Saturday. Go after their families, Trump said Sunday morning in an interview on “Face the Nation” on CBS."

"What’s too far? What’s too far?" Trump said. "They are killing people."

“Destroy the caliphate,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday morning on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

"By contrast, Obama tried to go bloodless, waiting as at other crucial moments of his presidency for comments like that to set the tone—a new CNN/ORC poll shows people disapproving of Obama’s handling of ISIL 64-33 percent and his handling of terrorism 60-34 percent—then built up a high-profile speech to respond, and said close to nothing."

"Meanwhile, a sense of panic has set in that’s less like last year’s sci-fi horror movie cable news frenzy over Ebola, more like a frightening new reality where everyone everywhere feels like they could be mowed down or blown up by someone shouting Allahu Akbar. A measure of how far things have tilted: that same CNN/ORC poll shows that 53 percent of people say they now want to send new ground troops in to fight ISIL"

"Obama's cool, calm "I got this" air helped get him elected in 2008. Seven years later, it’s clear that many Americans don’t want reassurance, but want him to convey the sense of urgency that they’re feeling. Aides were hoping that he’d be able to."

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Right he should give in to fear. Let ISIS win. Allow the terrorists to terrorize us. Evidently we can never learn anything. If the killers on Wednesday were white Christian males, no one would even bat an eyelash. But because they were Muslims now we are all doomed.

I think maybe we are doomed. Not because I'm hiding under my bed over a possible ISIS attack-the chances that I personally or anyone personally will be the victim of an ISIS attack is very remote. I mean you could be struck by lightning. What are you doing to do-live in a bunker to avoid it?

There are any number of risks larger than an ISIS attack-not that this was an ISIS attack but a lone wolf. But because this involves Muslims it's the biggest threat in the world.

What makes me wonder if we really are doomed is when even Josh Marshall starts sounding like Morning Joe. Here Josh quote approvingly from a commentator:

"I don't really know that this possible, but I do think that the public now wants something more than a call for calm and some weak sauce gun control measures, and if Obama isn't willing to give it to them, the risk is that they will vote for someone like Trump or Cruz who will."

"What might a response that reassures the public look like? I don't know. A six month moratorium on Syrian refugees, maybe. Perhaps, an increase in surveillance of Muslims in the U.S. through some sort of increased community engagement program. A new public initiative to combat "Islamist Terror" -- yes, using that language, despite its costs, to signal commitment."

"None of these make a lot of sense as policy. But I worry that if Obama doesn't do something like this, then when the next attack occurs (not if, but when), the political consequences and ultimate response might be a lot worse."

So our new strategy is to engage in all kind of things that don't serve any purpose but please a scaredy cat, bigoted public who thinks there is a Muslim under every bed?

If anything that sidetracks from the real steps we should take.

I couldn't disagree more that we should halt refugees. I did notice that even the President, alas, seemed to stigmatize Muslims a little in his speech last night. They are on notice that if anything else happens they are all collectively responsible.

Here is Josh's response to the commentator:

"For me, the jury is still out on this question. I'm still thinking about it because there are a lot of interweaving factors I don't think we or I have enough of a handle on yet. But I do think talking about gun control in this context is silly and risks making a mockery of the person making the argument. Here I would say that I do agree with the above - the interplay between policy and credibility."

"As I've written in the past, I think we should have dramatically tighter regulation of firearms in this country. Since we now seem to be dealing mainly with 'lone wolf' type terrorists, all the more reason not to have it be easy to buy military style rifles at the local Walmart."

"But people intuitively grasp that a hardened extremist is not going to be deterred or stopped by the kinds of limited restrictions we are at all realistically talking about when it comes to gun control. Closing the gun show loophole ain't gonna do it. And we have the example of Paris, where terrorists managed to get AK-47s and rocket launchers in a country which severely restricts the private ownership of firearms. None of this is to say we just throw up our hands. Most counter-terrorism work is about placing lots of obstacles - most probably surmountable in and of themselves - to make attacks as difficult as possible, to create as many possible points of failure as possible."

"The problem is that as those of us who've all but given up on the direction of firearms policy know, the 'gun control' debate has become perhaps the deadest and most ineffectual of them all. The President now comes out after every mass shooting and, with (understandably) building frustration, says the country will eventually have to get serious and tackle this problem, knowing full well that it doesn't seem likely that's going to happen any time in the remotely near future - certainly not during his presidency. A big part of the outrage to this constant string of mass shootings is not just the carnage itself but the near certainty that no matter how frequent these massacres become, no matter how young the victims, no matter how high the body count, absolutely nothing is going to happen to make it harder to get a gun to go kill people. That means that when we talk about 'gun control' the first thing almost everybody thinks is about something that is never going to happen, because our polarized politics won't letter it happen."

"So coming into the debate about terrorism, a topic which grips the national psyche like almost no other issue, talking about gun control is not only iffy on the policy merits but sends a very bad signal that what you're proposing to get a handle on the problem is something we all know to a damn certainty isn't even going to happen. That is reassuring to people."

"Horrifyingly enough, it won't be long before we have another mass shooting by someone without a Muslim sounding name. We can talk about gun control then."

I couldn't disagree more. Basically to allow illogical bigotry to hold court. Gun control matters only if the shooter isn't Muslim. But again, this is Josh Marshall talking. If this is what he's saying, you can guess what they are saying on Morning Joe, or CNN, or Andrea Mitchell.

Here is a green shoot. The NY Times liked the President's speech.

I'm glad to see that they think he went 'far enough.' If anything I worry that he already went too far, but then I seem to be in a minority.

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