Gallup released a poll on Sept. 11 that showed the Republican Party now has a commanding lead over Democrats when it comes to who the voters trust to protect them from terrorist groups and threats abroad.
The results spoke volumes about Americans’ opinion of the president’s “lead from behind” foreign policy, and his inability to comprehend the threat posed to the nation by radical Islam:
The Republican Party has expanded its historical edge over the Democratic Party in Americans’ minds as being better able to protect the U.S. from international terrorism and military threats. At this point, 55% of Americans choose the GOP on this dimension, while 32% choose the Democratic Party. This is the widest Republican advantage in Gallup’s history of asking this question since 2002.
The results were so bad that Meet the Press host Chuck Todd said the President Obama was on the verge of doing “Jimmy Carter-like damage” to the Democratic Party on matters of national security.
Where did it all go wrong? While an argument can been made that the predicament the U.S. (and the world) now finds itself in can be traced back to the president’s failure to secure a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Iraq in December, 2011, that still doesn’t get to the root of the problem.
Mr. Obama’s problem is that he fundamentally does not understand who and what he is up against. The following timeline, while incomplete, does a decent job highlighting the president’s ideological blinders.
June 10, 2014, Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, falls to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
June 13, 2014, President Obama says during an interview with Amy Davidson of The New Yorker that the group that just took over Falluja — Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — is the equivalent of a junior varsity basketball team: “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”
June 30, 2014, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant becomes “Islamic State” and declares its territory covering Iraq and Syria to be origin of a new caliphate in the heart of the Middle East.
August 7, 2014, President Obama announces that the U.S. will begin conducting airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State.
August 19, 2014, American journalist James Foley is executed by Islamic State. Video of the his gruesome death is posted online.
August 21, 2014, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says Islamic State is “beyond a terrorist group.”
August 23, 2014, Over in Libya, Islamic fighters seize control of Tripoli’s airport. News outlets report that the intelligence community believes multiple jets previously housed at the airport are now missing.
September 3, 2014, President Obama simultaneously says the U.S. will “destroy” Islamic State and reduce it to a “manageable problem.”
September 3, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden says the U.S. will follow Islamic State to “the gates of hell.”
September 4, 2014, President Obama says he “doesn’t have a strategy yet” when asked how he plans to deal with Islamic State’s increasing power and influence in Syria.
September 9, 2014, Multiple news outlets wonder if Libya, now at the mercy of various warring Islamic groups, can officially be called a failed state.
September 10, 2014, President Obama says the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is not Islamic in an address to the nation: “ISIL is not ‘Islamic.’ No religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.” No one asks the president if he believes the Ottoman Empire was Islamic.
September 11, 2014, — 13 years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — John Kerry tells CNN the U.S. is not at war with Islamic State, adding “What we are doing is engaging in a very significant counterterrorism operation. It’s going to go on for some period of time. If somebody wants to think about it as being a war with ISIL, they can do so, but the fact is it’s a major counterterrorism operation that will have many different moving parts.”
September 11, 2014, — 13 years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf says U.S. military operations against Islamic State are not a continuation of the war on terrorism, telling a reporter, “When we talk about how you degrade and defeat terrorist organizations, it’s not exactly I think how you’re probably using the term. And it’s not one that I’m using.”
September 11, 2014, — 13 years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks — White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest flippantly responds to a reporter’s question about how the Obama administration defines “destroy” when it comes to Islamic State by saying, “I didn’t bring my Webster’s dictionary.”
September 12, 2014, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest decides the U.S. is at war with Islamic State, saying “The United States is at war with ISIL in the same way we are at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates.”
September 12, 2014, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby says the U.S. is “at war” with Islamic State, but then goes on to downplay the military’s role in winning that war by stating “It’s about defeating [Islamic State’s] ideology.”
September 14, 2014, John Kerry reverses himself from his CNN interview just three days earlier and tells CBS host Bob Schieffer, “Yeah, we’re at war with al Qaeda and its affiliates.”
The history shown above points to a man who stubbornly clings to his September 10, 2001 worldview.
Only a man who is in willful denial can say on national television that the group called Islamic State is not Islamic. Only a man who is in too deep can give the State Department orders to say the U.S. is not at war on a Thursday but that the U.S. is at war on a Friday, when absolutely nothing has changed. Only a man who has been swallowed whole by his own hubris can believe that his Orwellian doublethink wouldn’t come back to haunt him.
Western Civilization is in a culture clash, and yet the president will twist himself into as many intellectual pretzels as necessary to convince himself that he’s strictly dealing with a law enforcement issue. In order to prove how liberal he is, Mr. Obama destroys his credibility by shielding a largely illiberal culture from criticism.
The American people are once again giving the conservative worldview its due. When evil men are chopping off heads, conducting crucifixions, and slaughtering women and children, the guy who “doesn’t have a strategy yet” because he’s been busy “leading from behind” will collapse in the polls. Likewise, so will his political party.
All Americans should root for the president on matters of national security, no matter what letter is next to his name. Unfortunately, that is incredibly hard to do when the commander in chief tries to convince the American people that a giant army called Islamic State does not include practitioners of Islam.