Saturday, December 26, 2015

Keep Calm and Carry On vs Freakout and Overreact

A great Wuerker cartoon that shows Obama holding a sign that says keep calm and carry on while the GOP-and an ISIS leader behind them-says freakout and overreact.

However, here is the uncomfortable question as we end 2015: Is even Obama going Trumpist?

"President Barack Obama highlighted the plight of Christians persecuted at the hands of the Islamic State in an unusual Christmas message on Wednesday."

“In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL,” Obama said in a statement.

"Obama typically thanks troops serving overseas, praises Jesus Christ’s universal message of compassion or lauds religious freedom more broadly in his Christmastime remarks. The statement on persecuted Christians comes as religious groups and members of Congress are urging his administration to include Christians as victims of “genocide” committed by ISIL as the State Department considers applying that designation to Yazidis, a different religious minority in Iraq and Syria."

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No doubt ISIS is persecuting Christians which is a terrible thing-ISIS does lots of terrible things. However, doesn't this almost sound like the President is channeling Jeb Bush who just wants to take in Christian refugees?

The GOP Congress wants to highlight just the Christian victims of ISIS, ignoring that most of the the victims of ISIS are Muslims. Certainly the Shiite Muslims are also being persecuted. Highlighting only the Christians again returns us to the ISIS narrative of a Holy War between the Christian West and the Islamic East, which, of course, is how the GOP wants to see it too.

And now even Obama seems to be giving into the pressure. So the Upton Window is moving in Trump's direction. Ditto with the crackdown on the visa waiver program.

This was the compromise the Dems made with the GOP; of course, initially the GOP demanded a crackdown on Syrian refugees-and even many Congressional Dems voted for that.
So the crackdown on the visa waiver program was a compromise. However, it is already leading to some problems with our allies and the Iran deal-which the GOP hates anyway and if this hurts the Iran deal then that's obviously a huge feature not a bug for them.

"Visa rules put Obama in a vise."

"The administration settled for a flawed new law — and it's now dealing with the global backlash."

"Read more:When the Obama administration decided to support a bipartisan push in Congress to change rules covering visa-free travel to the U.S., it did so in part to save the U.S. resettlement program for Syrian and Iraqi refugees."

"But since the new visa regulations have become law, they've faced a growing backlash. Civil liberties advocates, European diplomats and Iranian leaders involved with the Iran nuclear deal are livid, urging the Obama administration to find a way to scrap the changes. On Wednesday, House Republicans waded in to the fight, warning the White House not to circumvent the new visa law out of concern for saving the nuclear deal."

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The GOP probably gamed this out beforehand-did the White House? Probably not. So on two fronts the Upton Window is being pushed the wrong way-in the direction of Trump and the GOP.

Then on a third issue he is taking direct credit-the new crackdown on illegal immigrants.

"Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday criticized the Obama administration's plans to begin deporting potentially hundreds of families that arrived in the United States illegally since last year."

"The Washington Post reported Wednesday night that federal immigration officials are preparing raids that would target the families and could begin as soon as January. A spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed the plans."

"The news, arriving on the eve of the holidays, sparked concerns and outrage from Democrats and immigration advocates. They argued that the effort would target largely women and children fleeing violence from Central America, whom critics say should be treated as refugees."

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Yes, Trump is taking credit on Twitter. So even Obama has not been able to totally carry on. He's been right overall but has had to agree to a few things that are very suboptimal to avoid other things much worse. 

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