Barack Obama interrupted his weekend (and ours, too) to deliver a 13-minute address to the nation Sunday night on the subject of terrorism. The White House asked all the major networks to set aside their planned programming for the event, which they were glad to do — no doubt expecting some major presidential pronouncements.
For only the third time in his presidency, Obama delivered his remarks from the Oval Office. The setting was intended to lend even more gravitas to what he had to say. But after all of the buildup, the speech itself was a letdown. It was almost as if the president was bored with the subject and the need to address it. There was none of the soaring rhetoric we have come to expect from an Obama speech.
Even the expected puffery for more gun control laws was strangely muted. His first proposal was that “Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun.”
That may even sound reasonable, until you realize a couple of things. The first is how many people have been put on the no-fly list by mistake. The errors have included U.S. air marshals, members of Congress and a decorated Marine.
And the second is that the terrorists who committed mass murder in San Bernardino, California — the worst terrorist assault in this country since 9/11 — weren’t on the no-fly list. In fact, they were virtually invisible to U.S. intelligence. It kind of makes you wonder how many other radicalized Muslims there are in this country we don’t know about.
The president’s other gun control proposal would no doubt be equally ineffective. “We also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons,” he declared, “like the ones that were used in San Bernardino.”
Despite all the screams by progressives for more gun control measures, there is absolutely no evidence that any of the proposals would stop any of the mass murders that have taken place in this country. In fact, most of those killings have taken place in areas with some of the strictest gun control laws in the nation. Instead of creating more gun-free zones, which tell potential killers they can strike with impunity, maybe we should encourage more law-abiding citizens to carry arms — and to be trained to use them in an emergency.
While his gun control proposals were pretty muted, even better was the total lack of more climate change propaganda in his remarks. Its absence was an unexpected relief.
The president even added a couple of proposals that most conservatives can agree with. The first is to do even more thorough background checks on some potential immigrants. “Next, we should put in place stronger screening for those who come to America without a visa,” he said, “so that we can take a hard look at whether they’ve traveled to war zones.” You’ve been in office for seven years, Mr. President, and you’re just now getting around to this?
He also proposed that Congress vote to authorize the use of force against ISIS. “Finally, if Congress believes, as do, that we are at war with ISIL,” he said, “we should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists.” Yes, it’s probably a good idea to follow the constitutional requirement for a declaration of war. Too bad Obama doesn’t have the same respect for our founding document in other regards.
The president called on Americans not to discriminate against Muslims in this country. Big deal. Is there any evidence anywhere that we are?
But he also called on Muslims here and around the world to take a stand against extremism in their ranks. The spread of radical Islam in this country is “a real problem that Muslims must confront without excuse,” he said.
Fat chance of that happening. We’ll wait a long, long time before Muslim leaders in the U.S. denounce and expose the extremists in their midst.
After delivering his pretty meaningless pep talk, Obama rushed upstairs to change into a tuxedo, so he could attend a celebrity-filled event at the Kennedy Center. That says all you need to know about his priorities.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.