Monday, December 7, 2015

The Status Quo Speech

If you're like me, you are probably wondering today why President Obama took to the airwaves last night to address the nation on terrorism.  The 19-minute speech contained little more than the message "we are going to keep doing what we are doing"--which for a growing number of Americans is not enough.

President Obama asked Congress to give him a declaration of war against ISIS/ISIL--but at the same time, also reiterated that he is not going to send in ground troops to fight the terrorists in Iraq or Syria.  Instead the US will continue to "destroy" terrorism with limited air strikes and drone attacks--just as we have been doing for the past several years.

The President also called for tougher screening processes for those coming to the US on the same visa provided to the woman involved in the San Bernardino shootings--but not for those awaiting refugee status from Syria.  Expect that to be a rider attached to any version of a bill coming out of Congress--which President Obama will then veto saying those refugees are "not the real threat".  Of course, what additional screening would have found terrorist ties to Tashfeen Malik? 

And of course, the President made a call for gun control as well.  Background checks for everyone and banning people on the No Fly and Terrorism Watch Lists from purchasing any weapons.  The only problem is that neither Syed Farook nor Tashfeen Malik were on the No Fly or Terorrism Watch Lists--so how would that have prevented that attack?  What's more, Farook was a US citizen--and had no prior criminal convictions.  What background check was going to prevent him from purchasing a weapon at a gun store?  When the President makes suggestions like that after a shooting incident, he reminds me of the unscrupulous auto mechanic trying to rip off a woman whose headlights don't work by telling her the transaxle is busted and it needs $3000 in repairs.

I think the President's advisors knew that there was a percentage of Americans who just wanted to hear anything from him in the wake of San Bernardino--even if it was a "classic hits" performance.  And you could tell that the White House knew that the rest of the country had no interest by when the timed the speech--starting just minutes after the conclusion of the Carolina Panthers-New Orleans Saints game--and ending moments before kickoff between the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  You wouldn't want Americans missing what they really care about.

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