In an interview with The Washington Post, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-CT and star of Monday’s gun-control theater, explained: “We’ve got to make this clear, constant case that Republicans have decided to sell weapons to ISIS.”
Wow. That’s a pretty big deal, if true.
Progressive darling Elizabeth Warren also endorsed this tactic, alleging that Republicans — veterans, moms, dads — were willingly complicit in the murder of their neighbors on orders from the NRA. It’s common for the Left to direct absurd and histrionic accusations at the NRA, as if the organization printed its own money and derived awe-inspiring power from Mordor. It’s a lot easier than having to debate millions of American gun owners who cling to some reverence for the Second Amendment.
Although it may be lost in all the coverage, both Warren and Murphy actually voted against “common sense” gun control bills last night — twice. While Republicans wouldn’t support bills that empower bureaucrats to act as judge and jury, Democrats voted against bills that expanded background checks without undermining constitutional rights. You can’t accuse the GOP of sedition if you compromise.
We’ve come a long way since Hillary’s, “I’m sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic.” The idea that the other side might be debating in good faith is no longer entertained. Appeals to emotion make no room for such subtleties.
With this, Warren is no better than Donald Trump. You will remember the media distress when Trump insinuated (and later denied) that Barack Obama was sympathetic to terrorists. You also might remember last week, when John McCain blamed the president for the rise of ISIS, and we discussed how terrible this was for an entire news cycle.
Surely indicting a major political party — in Congress, this party represents the majority of the American people — of aiding Islamists should be an equally big deal? Surely someone will ask Clinton to denounce this incendiary rhetoric. Surely some melodramatic New York Times op-ed columnist will call out Warren for tossing “the truth around with the callous disdain of a spoiled child.” I can’t wait for the house editorials condemning attacks on decorum and cable news network break-out sessions lamenting the putrid state of civility in Washington.
Can anyone remember a Republican, even in the height of the Patriot Act debate, questioning a Democrats’ loyalty in this explicit a manner? In contrast, Ari Fleischer’s “watch what you say” comment is a mild rebuke. These days, Republicans who disagree with the president can be accused of “betting against America,” “making common cause” with hardliners who chant “Death to America,” and being guilty of conventional treason.
More consequentially, though, we’re also a long away from liberals opposing extra-judicial watchlists that adjudicate guilt without due process. On Monday, Democrats passionately argued that “potential” terrorists — a term used by more than one senator yesterday — should be denied constitutional rights. These days, Democrats refer to adherence of the Fifth Amendment as a way not to protect the innocent but as a “terror gap.”
All of which can get a little confusing. Because while Democrats in the Senate were accusing the GOP of conspiring with Salafi jihadists, the administration was still acting as if the Orlando massacre had nothing to do with ISIS — at all.
As counterproductive and absurd as the Obama administration’s initial ham-fisted release of Omar Mateen’s 911 call transcript was, it did offer us an illustration of how it wishes Americans would talk about Islamic terrorism. Which is to say, it wishes you were talking about the NRA.
By Monday afternoon, the FBI had relented and released the transcript of Mateen — sans laughable redactions — though still far from complete or accurate. And, as many of you suspected, the omitted words from the transcript were about ISIS, jihad, and other subjects Islamic terrorists tend to touch on before slaughtering innocent people. Nothing about Mitch McConnell, as of yet.
The Feds, according to NPR, were still claiming that Mateen didn’t “seem to have exhibited any of the warning signs often associated with radicalization,” and it’s possible that he was just saying the name ISIS “in hopes of getting more publicity for his attacks.”
Fact is, Mateen referred to himself as a “soldier” of the caliphate and pledged allegiance to ISIS — a group that congratulated him on his success and took credit for the attack. As Rukmini Callimachi at The New York Times has extensively detailed, Mateen was well-acquainted with the goals of ISIS and animated by its specific ideas and political aims. His act, unlike other random, lone-wolf shooters, was driven by ideas that are shared by people around the world. And though they might be geographically compartmentalized, they act in ideological concert to achieve clear goals. If they can’t use guns, they use pressure cookers or an airplane.
Rather than demanding the FBI explain its failure to protect the American people from a known terror sympathizer, Senate Democrats used the attack to frame Republicans as terror sympathizers. Rather than apologizing to the nation, the FBI spent the day offering tortured justifications for redacting Mateen’s own words, claiming that anything less would “only inflame other people here that might be like-minded.”
According to Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ronald Hopper, for example, censoring Mateen’s words would “prevent future action from happening” and “not give credence to individuals who have done terrorist acts in the past.”
Islamic Radical 1: Did you see that Assistant Special Agent in Charge Ronald Hopper refused to say the name of our organization?
Islamic Radical 2: I did! And, you know what, Omar? I hate America just a little bit less today. You know what I mean?
In their campaign to ban guns, Senate Democrats have no compunction bestowing ISIS with all the credit for the Orlando massacre. So according to the administration, this rhetoric has the potential to “inflame” prospective terrorists — unless, that is, jihadists are only irritated when Republicans talk about them. Maybe Obama will explain how this works in his next televised scolding.
In any event, if you don’t believe terrorism is an existential threat to our way of life, listen to Democrats insisting that we must circumvent constitutional protections to stay safe. Many Democrats who had previously refused to acknowledge “Islamic radicalism,” now exploit a massacre to accuse fellow Americans of abetting the worst mass shooting in American history. It’s debatable whether any of their proposals would stop terrorists, but this kind of emotional blackmail might seem like the most expedient way to pummel the opposition. It is, certainly, the most irrational.