September 24th, 2021


A nation in search of leadership, not mush

Wesley Pruden

By Wesley Pruden

Published Dec. 4A nation in search of leadership, not mush, 2015

A nation in search of leadership, not mush

Barack Obama and the Democrats have their words to live by, as set out by Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago: "Never let a tragedy go to waste." The massacre at San Bernardino is made to liberal order.

President Obama leaped to the cameras when the news flashed in from California that someone with a gun had killed 14 men and women. What a break! Without waiting for more news the president made sure that his ritual assurance to the victims and their families, that his "thoughts and prayers" were with them — "T&P in the handbook of Washington flackery — became a rallying cry for more gun-control laws. Not since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School had there been such an opportunity to seize the guns.

Caution is admirable, even necessary, in presidents, but Mr. Obama makes a point of being oblivious to what is readily apparent to everyone else, that events in San Bernardino was the work of terrorists. How could they not be? Were the targets at the Inland Regional Center not terrified? The president prides himself on his ability to make a speech; he pretends he understands that words have meanings, and are easily understood by the people listening to him.

On the morning after the massacre, the president seemed to realize that he had made something of an ass of himself with his remarks of the day before, and tried to cool the rhetoric and try again. "At this stage," he said, "we don't yet know why this terrible event occurred. We do know that the two individuals who were killed were equipped with weapons and appeared to have access to additional weaponry at their homes, but we don't know why they did it. We do not know the extent of their plans and their motivations."

Well, actually, we've got a pretty good idea of why they did it, based on the early look at the known facts. The president has had access to these facts from the early minutes after the massacre. The facts are particularly inconvenient for Mr. Obama, who always tries to steer attention away from the reality that, like it or not, radical Islam (he and the Democratic candidates can't even say the words) is at war with America. He may not be able to believe that "the prettiest sound on Earth," as he calls the summons to evening prayer at the mosque, calls some extraordinarily evil dudes to hunker down to beg Allah for guidance on nefarious deeds. But it's obvious to the rest of us that serious and widespread damage has been done to what George W. Bush famously insisted is "the religion of peace." Ignoring the obvious does no favors to the millions of Muslims who seek to be good and peaceful neighbors.

The president promises more gun control with executive actions, confident that Congress won't do anything about his further infringement of congressional authority and responsibility. Even the usually docile White House press seems to have had enough of the cornmeal mush served at the White House. Peter Doocy of Fox News sharply questioned the president's notion Thursday that "common-sense gun laws" would deter terrorists.

"So the president thinks that when there are two terrorists sitting around planning a mass murder they might call it off because President Obama has put in place common-sense gun laws?" he asked White House press agent Josh Earnest. The answer he got was more mush: "Well, we're still learning the precise motives [of the gunmen]."

The deadly duo were not a couple of kids skylarking in the woods, plinking tin cans and Coke bottles, and suddenly it occurs to one of them to leave the baby with Granny and seek more sporting targets, maybe live people. When the cops raided their home Thursday they found thousands of rounds of ammunition, 15 pipe bombs and the stuff to make more. The Washington Times reports this morning that the house was carefully sanitized of all traces of cell phones and other electronic gear that would have enabled the cops to trace whom they had been talking to during the days of careful, expert planning leading up to the massacre.

The FBI confirmed that the lead gunman, Syed Farook, could have recently traveled to Pakistan in addition to Saudi Arabia, and he had been in contact with both domestic and international "extremists," which is politically correct soft talk for "terrorists." Clearly, the two gunmen had help from someone who knows how to terrorize.

The real terror is that President Obama can't look the enemy in the face and order the things that would destroy that enemy. Another speech is a waste of presidential breath.

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JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.