On Sunday night, Barack Obama delivered an amazingly insipid and uninspiring speech about terrorism from the Oval Office.
The next day, Donald Trump stole all the air in the room by making the boldest proposal anyone has dared to utter, when he said that the United States should immediately ban any Muslims from entering the United States.
Suddenly, all anyone could talk about was the latest bombshell from The Donald. His radical proposal was attacked by the White House and other Democrats; his fellow Republican candidates for president (the only exception being Sen. Ted Cruz, who merely said that he did not agree with it); and even foreign leaders, including UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
Even Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling went on Twitter to decry Trump as being worse than her fictional villain, Lord Voldemort.
White House press secretary Josh Ernest denounced Trump as a “carnival barker” and said his proposal was so outrageous it was “disqualifying” him to serve as president.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said that “when a leading candidate for office proposes something that is irresponsible, probably illegal, unconstitutional, and contrary to international law, un-American, and will actually hurt our efforts at national security, we have to speak out.”
And even Republicans were near-unanimous in decrying the Trump proposal. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the idea was “unhinged.” Carly Fiorina said Trump’s nomination for the presidency would be “catastrophic” for the country.
Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), the new Speaker of the House, denounced the Trump proposal by saying, “This is not conservatism.” And he added, “What was proposed yesterday was not what this party stands for, and more importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”
The nearly unanimous outcry against him proves that Donald Trump really is a master of “The Art of the Deal,” as the title of his best-selling book proclaimed. Trump knows there is not a chance of a snowflake in Hades that his dramatic proposal will ever be implemented in this country. But while it will never become law, this well-calculated controversy will certainly strengthen his reputation as someone who will say things no other politician will.
Let’s face it: The major reason for Donald Trump’s strong appeal is because of Barack Obama’s pathetic weakness. The Wall Street Journal got it right, when it had this to say in an editorial:
Americans also worry that the current Commander in Chief doesn’t understand the jihadist threat, in part because he keeps saying it isn’t much of a threat. He said Islamic State was “contained” on the eve of the Paris attacks and that the U.S. homeland was safe shortly before San Bernardino. He really seems to think the problem is guns, more than the jihadists who use them.
No wonder so many Americans have embraced Donald Trump. He is a proud master of political incorrectness. And he knows how well that plays with his audience. “I’m the worst thing that’s ever happened to ISIS,” he declared. “The people in my party get that.”
So while his proposal to ban all Muslims from entering this country may not be good (or even possible) policy, for him it is awfully good politics, as future polls will no doubt confirm.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.
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