Just when America needed a President to step up to the podium and unite us...to bring us together in grief for the lost lives in Orlando and to rally the nation to put aside fear and unite in righteous anger and fight together to eradicate such evil from the face of the Earth...in other words, just when we needed a Reagan speech...instead, we got a typical Obama press conference.
The first half was spent assuring us that the “JV team” of ISIS was on the run, and listing all the personnel and territory ISIS has lost (territory that had to be taken back at great cost of blood and treasure, and that it never would have held at all if Obama hadn’t ignored all his military advisors and bugged out). We also learned that ISIS is being forced to reduce salaries to their paid murderers. Well, that sets my mind at ease. They recruit volunteers off the Internet. How much was Omar Mateen paid? And why do we need the Senate to approve his nominee for Under Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence to block ISIS' funding? Shouldn't their funds have been blocked already? That whole section of the speech was so bloodless and wonky, I guess we’re lucky Obama didn’t call on ISIS to double its minimum wage out of force of habit.
But then, he finally started showing some passion – when he turned his fire away from ISIS and toward Donald Trump and his Republican political opponents. In a wildly inappropriate digression, he once again defended his refusal to say the phrase “radical Islam” (even Hillary Clinton surrendered on that), demanding to know what that would accomplish and insisting that there was nothing magical about that phrase. No, it’s not magic, it’s just the truth. Sometimes, it’s better to hear the truth from your leader than to hear a lot of hocus pocus, but even after seven-plus years in office, he still doesn’t seem to realize that.
And speaking of believing in magic and accomplishing nothing, Obama’s answer to jihadist carnage on American soil is more gun control laws that wouldn’t have made any difference. He said that if someone is a suspected terrorist, he shouldn’t be allowed to buy a gun. Except Mateen was legally allowed to buy a gun because Obama’s own PC policies had led the FBI to remove him from suspicion as a terrorist. Adding to the magical thinking, Obama called for reinstating an assault weapons ban that was allowed to lapse because even its original backers finally had to admit it was utterly useless.
Former UN Ambassador John Bolton had a good take on the speech, saying that it made Obama look like a small man in a big job. The last time I heard that criticism of a President was during the Jimmy Carter Administration. He, too, seemed anemic and defensive in dealing with aggressive radical Islamists. It took the election of Ronald Reagan to bring back strong American leadership. Bolton also had some advice for Hillary Clinton: instead of letting Obama campaign for you, distance yourself from him. I would add that she might also want to work on sounding more like Ronald Reagan, if such a thing is possible. Any Americans who watched that pitiful speech much be suffering from the uneasy feeling that we desperately need another Reagan, and as soon as possible.