By Tim Graham ~
The liberal media is hyper-sensitive about Republicans suggesting the Democrats are soft on terrorism or communism or any foreign threat. Republicans can’t say a Democrat is “un-American” without protests from liberal journalists. But Democrats can suggest Republicans are aiding communists or dictators, or seem like communists or dictators, and that is acceptable discourse.
See the front page of Thursday’s New York Times, where Hillary says the Trump foreign policy “will be like Christmas in the Kremlin.” That’s fine with them, no need to lament the tone of our rhetoric. Amy Chozick and David Sanger begin their article calling Mrs. Clinton “vigorous” in her speech-making:
In her most vigorous assault yet on her Republican rivals, Hillary Clinton on Wednesday ridiculed the foreign policy prescriptions of Donald J. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, calling them “reckless actions” that would alienate America’s closest allies, demonize Muslims and empower Russia.
“If Mr. Trump gets his way, it will be like Christmas in the Kremlin,” Mrs. Clinton said. “It will make America less safe and the world more dangerous.”
She was referrring to Trump’s skepticism about the usefulness of the NATO alliance. ABC News promoted it in a headline online: “Hillary Clinton Calls a Donald Trump Presidency ‘Christmas for the Kremlin’.” CNN.com did the same: “Clinton: Trump win would be like Christmas for the Kremlin.” CNN included no pushback.
ABC quoted a Trump tweet at the end: “Just watched Hillary deliver a prepackaged speech on terror. She’s been in office fighting terror for 20 years — and look where we are!” The Times also noticed that tweet…well inside the front page.
It’s a typical overstatement: Mrs. Clinton first took an actual office in 2001, not in 1996. Chozick and Sanger at least implied Hillary was “trying to appear muscular” and wasn’t really offering a policy beyond more of what Obama was cooking:
That reflected how Mrs. Clinton is trying to appear muscular in the fight against terrorism while being cautious not to differentiate herself from her former boss, who remains widely popular among Democrats: Rather than arguing for major policy changes, she advocated moving faster and more dexterously.
“We face an adversary that is constantly adapting and operating across multiple theaters so our response must be just as nimble and far-reaching,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We need to rely on what actually works, not bluster that alienates our partners and doesn’t make us any safer.”
Mrs. Clinton’s remarks tilted heavily to pointed words for Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz, rather than new policy solutions.
As for Obama, his NPR reporter (stenographer) Scott Horsley ran five quotes from the president in Argentina on Wednesday night’s All Things Considered, and atypically threw in one quote from Ted Cruz…only to have Obama then compare him to Fidel and Raul Castro:
SCOTT HORSLEY: Obama argues any policy that discriminates against Muslims is not only un-American but counterproductive. GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz suggested this week that law enforcement should increase its efforts to, quote, “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” here in this country before they become — in his words — radicalized. Cruz defended that proposal this morning in an interview on CBS.
TED CRUZ: And I’ll tell you this. I will apologize to nobody for how vigorous I will be as president fighting radical Islamic terrorism, defeating ISIS and keeping America safe.
HORSLEY: Obama, who was traveling in Cuba earlier this week, dismissed Cruz’s suggestion as contrary to American values.
BARACK OBAMA: I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance, which, by the way, the father of Sen. Cruz escaped for America, the land of the free.
To compare police patrols in a Muslim neighborhood to communist surveillance to crack down on any democratic resistance is perverse….but Horsley and his NPR bosses didn’t see a problem with it. It’s all fair comment on the taxpayer-subsidized network.
Again, ABC carried the smear online, headlined “President Obama Calls Out Ted Cruz for Muslim Surveillance Proposal.” Not “Obama Compares Cruz Plan to Communist Cuba.” And he suggested Cruz was un-American, too:
Speaking at a joint news conference with Argentine President Mauricio Macri, Obama said any approach that would “single out” or “target” Muslims for discrimination “is not only wrong and un-American, but it also would be counterproductive because it would reduce the strength, the antibodies that we have to reduce terrorism.”
Cruz was quoted, but not in rebuttal to the Obama smear.
CNN.com ran the smear under the headline “Obama: We will go after ISIS until it’s ‘finally destroyed’.” It didn’t come until paragraph 15. But these network stories underline that there is no rhetorical risk for Obama. They’re merely relaying Obama’s comments, not questioning any of them.