Following an ISIS-inspired massacre in San Bernardino, California, the worst terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11, President Barack Obama tried to reassure the American people in a speech from the Oval Office on December 5. His much-hyped address offered little but gauzy liberal clichés, evasions and scolding of the American people. Obama’s blame-shifting proposal for more gun control was as useful and relevant as advocating a ban on medieval catapults; the semiautomatic rifles used by jihadists in Paris and California were already illegal in both locales. He spent much of his time condemning “hate” and praising “religious tolerance,” a sermon for which, at this point, a shaken American people clearly have little patience.
Yesterday Donald Trump, who in polls leads all Republican presidential candidates nationally, offered his reply. He urged a total ban on Muslims seeking to enter the United States. Polls show Republicans overwhelmingly believe America is "at war" with radical Islam and, by equal proportions, oppose Obama's proposal to resettle Syrian refugees in the country. Indeed, 54 percent of Republicans believe Obama himself is Muslim.
Trump’s critics immediately pointed out the courts likely would strike down such an immigration policy. Indeed, activist judges already have blocked states from prosecuting illegal immigrants, even when they confess to being in the country illegally.
The dueling speeches made clear that the fault line between Obama and Trump, and increasingly Democrats and Republicans, is over the very notion of radical Islam. Obama and most Democrats believe Muslim terrorists can be identified and stopped (though they do not explain how), and that such Islamists do not pose an existential threat to the United States and the West. Trump and most Republicans view ISIS as the tip of the spear for centuries-old armed Islamic expansion.
This much is clear. As ISIS supporters and allied radical Islamic terrorists shoot and blow up growing numbers of Americans at home, turning the nation's great cities into war zones with gun battles in the streets (Boston in 2013, San Bernardino/greater Los Angeles last week), Americans are tiring of excuses from policymakers. They are, moreover, running out of sympathy for the people and nations who export terrorists and human bombs to detonate among them.