It’s Obama’s fault

Posted: December 8, 2015 by watsonthethird in 2016 Presidential Campaign, Current Events, Donald Trump, Politics
Tags: , , ,

So there’s a meme going around that President Obama is to blame for the rise of Donald Trump. I think this theory may have first been voiced by Peggy Noonan back in October in the Wall Street Journal:

The only thing I feel certain of is how we got here [with Trump’s standing in GOP polls]. There are many reasons we’re at this moment, but the essential political one is this: Mr. Obama lowered the bar. He was a literal unknown, an obscure former state legislator who hadn’t completed his single term as U.S. senator, but he was charismatic, canny, compelling. He came from nowhere and won it all twice. All previously prevailing standards, all usual expectations, were thrown out the window.

See? According to Peggy Noonan (whose readers should know a thing or two about low expectations), Barack Obama lowered the bar of the presidency to the point that “Anyone can run for president now.” In fact, the presidency has been so debased that 1421 people have worked up the nerve to register with the FEC as a 2016 presidential candidate. My Gawd, even Peggy Noonan could–gasp!–run for president!

But she’s hardly the only one. It’s a fine theory, but I think it misses the real reason President Obama is to blame for The Donald. Remember this?

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Comments
  1. rustybrown2014 says:

    Funny post, Watson. While P. Noonan is an idiot and wrong about the causes for the rise of Trump, she inadvertently hits upon a legitimate trend. I think there is legitimate concern that the PC left is creating opportunities for right wing demagogues. I’m becoming increasingly frustrated and disillusioned by the genuflecting from the left to matters of race, minority identity issues, immigration, and free speech. It seems these days asking direct questions about such matters immediately opens one up to charges of racism, yet these are areas of vital and proper concern for hundreds of millions of Americans and if the left refuses to address them straightforwardly without fear of minority backlash they’ll leave a void which will be filled in by right wing power brokers.

    It saddens me that I find myself inching over to the right, but they’re the only ones who seem to be sharing my concerns here. Never fear, I’m FAR away from pulling the lever for any of the Republican lunatics currently on the ticket, but I think the Democrats are in big trouble if they continue to pander to strident vocal minorities while ignoring the concerns of white middle America.

    This article reflects my thinking on this issue:

    “When the political left refuses to identify where Islamic terrorism comes from, what drives it or what it can even be called, it leaves the ground wholly open for anyone else to do or say anything they want. Far from being blunt tools or broad brushstrokes, referring to ‘Islamic extremism’ or ‘Islamism’ makes an obvious and conscious effort to put down a delineating line between non-extreme Muslims and the extremists from their faith. Yet many Muslim organisations, among others, reject this. Groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) expend all their energy berating anyone who makes this delineation and pretends that people exercising such care are in fact ‘tarring all Muslims’. What such Muslim groups seem not to realise is that this in turn makes people suspicious of all Muslims. ‘Why are these Muslim groups pretending that any and all critics of the jihadists are saying something they are not? Maybe all Muslims are in fact jihadists?’ is a conclusion some people will find themselves pushed to.”

    http://blogs.new.spectator.co.uk/2015/12/the-left-is-to-blame-for-the-creation-of-donald-trump/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    • It seems these days asking direct questions about such matters immediately opens one up to charges of racism, yet these are areas of vital and proper concern for hundreds of millions of Americans and if the left refuses to address them straightforwardly without fear of minority backlash they’ll leave a void which will be filled in by right wing power brokers.

      Yeah. I’ve never been a Democrat myself, so I don’t automatically align myself to every cause that comes from them. I think you have a valid point and that this can ultimately bite them in the butt. But I also think it is problematic to expect a sincere dialog with most of the right. To me, their behavior over time has demonstrated that, and it certainly hasn’t gotten any better since President Obama took office. As I said a while back, I received an eye-opening experience in 2008 regarding racism in America. Perhaps I was naive, but I was a bit shocked to see it expressed directly to me in places like Pennsylvania. In any event, it would be great if we could have a true dialog about such matters.

      As far as Islamic terrorism, I think President Obama was pretty clear in his address to the nation on Sunday that ISIS terrorists are claiming to represent a form of Islam.. E.g.,

      That does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some Muslim communities. This is a real problem that Muslims must confront, without excuse. Muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al Qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.

      Or: “But it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of Islam that calls for war against America and the West.” Or: “ISIL does not speak for Islam. They are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion Muslims around the world.”

      I don’t see a denial there, but I get that people want him (and wanted GWB) to just say “Islam is the problem.” I really don’t think that’s helpful in the long run.

      it is also interesting that Paul Ryan said essentially the same thing as President Obama in condemning anti-Muslim bigotry and he’s praised whereas Obama is not.

      There are no easy answers to this problem. See article by Max Fisher. Of course, that doesn’t sit well with lots of Americans, especially conservatives.

      To me, the big problem is the allure of a “cult of death” for so many young people, including some born and raised right here in America. Obviously the vast majority of susceptible young people don’t ultimately resort to lethal violence, but there is something there that is attracting them, not unlike any other cult that finds adherents. As long as there are recruits, this type of terrorism will continue. In fact, I’d venture to say that you and I will live out the rest of our lives with terrorism an unsolved problem. It just isn’t possible to stop every nut job who decides to shoot up a public gathering, especially if they are also determined to commit suicide in the process. Nor will continuous war in the Middle East solve the problem. I know most people want easy answers, but that’s just not going to happen. In any event, to me, the key is to eliminate the attraction in the first place.

      • rustybrown2014 says:

        I have no expectations of a productive dialog with the right, I certainly didn’t mean to give that impression.

        Yes, Obama refreshingly said the dreaded “I” word in confronting global jihad. Finally. That’s been the exception rather than the rule for anyone left of Marco Rubio. Democrats and particularly progressives have been extremely reluctant to identify this problem for what it is: Islamism. Take the last Democratic Presidential debate for instance. When asked point blank if the US was at war with radical Islam (which we most obviously are) all three demurred.

        To deny that jihad has nothing to do with Islam is a moral, categorical, and tactical mistake. Islam is a religion in severe need of a major reformation. To pretend that it isn’t is to ensure generations of conflict. Even many “moderate” Muslims hold abhorrent views which are antithetical to Western values and we do everybody a disservice when we ignore this; ironically, it’s Muslims in Islamic countries who suffer the most.

      • rustybrown2014 says:

        “It just isn’t possible to stop every nut job who decides to shoot up a public gathering, especially if they are also determined to commit suicide in the process….In any event, to me, the key is to eliminate the attraction in the first place.”

        Agreed. Do you think an ideology that promotes a belief in eternal glory, honor and 72 virgins in the afterlife for committing such actions might be an attraction?

  2. Do you think an ideology that promotes a belief in eternal glory, honor and 72 virgins in the afterlife for committing such actions might be an attraction?

    I think the ISIS ideology is poisonous in the extreme. That is obvious. I can’t tell if your question about ideology refers to Islam as a whole or ISIS specifically. I suspect the former. Can you give me concrete evidence that Muslims at large believe they will receive 72 virgins in the afterlife for committing suicide? So far as I can tell, that is not the case. Furthermore, there are 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. If that was the standard belief of Muslims then there would be far more suicide bombers than there are. I mean, 1.6 billion people is a helluva lot of people.

    Again, the problem to me is that a small number of young people are being lured to a poisonous ideology. That ideology is not Islam, but a bastardized version of it, as is usually the case with cults. That’s why I compare it to a cult. We’ve seen this play out with other cults. In this particular case, ISIS is a particularly brutal and barbaric ideology that I would love to see wiped from the face of the earth. But how? Send in ground troops and conduct more war in the Middle East may defeat ISIS in its present form, but it will merely morph into something else, just like Al Qaeda morphed into Al Qaeda Iraq morphed into ISIS, and it will result in even more recruitment, in my opinion.

    I absolutely do believe that the Muslim community at large needs to forcefully denounce ideologies like ISIS that are promulgated in the name of Islam. This problem won’t get solved, if it ever gets solved, without that type of commitment from the Muslim community at large.

    • rustybrown2014 says:

      Watson, my question refers to an unacceptably large minority interpretation of Islam that is inspiring jihadists to the violence we’re talking about. I’m afraid you’re coming very close to proving my original point: When I mention the ideology that’s motivating the jihadists murderers you invoke all of the world’s 1.6 Muslims. I find that obfuscation depressing but per my original post, not unexpected.

      I see two flaws in your argument. The first is your blanket statement that ISIS is a bastardization of Islam. I’m loath to get into a True Scotsman debate, or in this case, True Muslim, but suffice to say that the notion that apostasy is an intolerable sin worthy of death is well supported in the Quran while specific punishments for infidels and rewards for martyrs (including the 72 virgins promise) are detailed in the Hadiths. Jihad and the conversion or death of infidels is arguably the central thesis of the Quran. Why is it a bastardization to take these holy texts seriously?

      Your second mistake is underestimating or downplaying the size of the problem. You describe ISIS as small in number, similar to a cult. Yet ISIS alone is in the tens of thousands, perhaps as many as 200,000 and could be growing. Even on the low end, I wouldn’t characterize that as a small number. And if you take Muslims who sympathize with and/or support the views of ISIS, a population ripe for breeding future jihadists and perpetuating terrorism, we see numbers in the tens, perhaps hundreds of millions. That’s some cult we’re talking about there, Watson. But nothing to worry about, right? Just a few disillusioned kids, is it?

      http://www.nationalreview.com/article/428146/more-than-few-islamic-extremists

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