Obama tries to define away reality
Last Friday, President Obama gave his last press conference as commander in chief. Undeterred by his would-be successor’s devastating loss to Donald Trump in the presidential election, unswayed by Republicans’ complete domination of Congress, state legislatures and governor mansions, he maintained his cool and collected self-aggrandizement. Why not? According to Obama, Obama has been a major success.
Perhaps the most hilarious moment of delusion came when he talked about terrorism. “Over the past eight years, no foreign terrorist organization has successfully executed an attack on our homeland that was directed from overseas,” Obama stated. He then continued, saying no attack has been executed “in a rainstorm with the attacker driving a tractor with one hand, drinking a Miller High Life with the other and wearing a clown nose.”
To be fair, Obama didn’t add those final qualifiers. But he might as well have. In order to define away the problem of terrorism that has grown dramatically worldwide on his watch, he simply spoke of terrorism as a problem of organized groups within defined territories. That’s not how modern terrorism works. Terrorist groups can recruit without formal structures and can operate as independent cells within various countries.
Just three days after Obama’s statements, an alleged jihadi plowed a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin; the same day, a Turkish terrorist murdered the Russian ambassador to Turkey. These latest attacks aren’t outliers. In the past several years, we’ve seen terrorist attacks in Turkey, Germany, Belgium, Great Britain, Canada and Australia.
This sort of terrorism isn’t relegated to foreign countries, of course. Here is an incomplete list of radical Islam-related terror attacks and attempts on American soil under Obama: shootings of American military recruiters in Little Rock, Arkansas; the massacre at Fort Hood; the Boston Marathon bombing; an attempted bombing of the airport in Wichita, Kansas; hatchet attacks on New York City police officers; attempted shootings at the “Draw Muhammad” event in Garland, Texas; the attacks on military recruiters in Chattanooga, Tennessee; the massacre at the San Bernardino Inland Regional Center; the Orlando nightclub shooting; the New York and New Jersey bombings; and the Ohio State University car attack.
Obama still thinks he can cover his abysmal record with closely drawn definitions of terrorism. It’s the equivalent of President Bill Clinton saying he’s been faithful to his wife except for certain areas, like sex. It’s technically true so far as it goes, but it doesn’t go very far.
Americans know that, and they reacted to Obama’s consistent lying-by-omission by electing Trump, a man who needs little evidence to jump to conclusions. Obama is so careful to avoid spotting fact patterns that he simply omits inconvenient data points. Trump is so eager to spot fact patterns that he simply includes convenient non-data points. But Americans would rather have Trump’s jump-to-conclusions mentality than Obama’s avoid-conclusions-at-all-cost mentality — Trump’s mentality may lead to mistakes, but those mistakes are less likely to cost Western lives.
So Obama can hawk his faux sophistication on terrorism as much as he wants. If Democrats want to ensure that Republicans continue to win elections, they ought to follow his lead.
Ben Shapiro, 32, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, a radio host on KRLA 870 Los Angeles.