Ben Sasse: Americans are turning to demagogues like Trump because their current leadership is terrible on terror

posted at 1:21 pm on December 9, 2015 by Allahpundit

Seventeen minutes from last night’s floor speech in the Senate. The parts about Trump, whom he doesn’t name, begin at 2:10 and 12:00, or you can read the transcript if you prefer. Some of this will be familiar as it includes passages from that video in San Bernardino that I posted on Monday. The Trump stuff, and the critique of Obama’s Oval Office speech, are obviously new. A taste:

I would humbly suggest that before another person in this body – or in the national media – stands up to scold the American people about how they could possibly entertain voting for candidate x or y, perhaps we should look in the mirror at why so many of our people are running to demagoguing leaders.

Do senators really not understand why this is happening? I think it’s obvious why: Because they get so little actual leadership out of this town – out of either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, or out of either political party.

Make no mistake: There were some genuinely dreadful things said on the national stage yesterday. But they were almost totally predictable. Did anyone here really not see this coming? And why is it that these words are attractive to some? Why do they find so many followers? Because they are comforting to people who are scared. They are food to a people who are starved for real leadership.

Sunday night was a drought. Monday night was a flood. Neither are what the people need – or what they, at their best, want. But don’t be surprised that a people who are being misled by a political class in denial about the nature of this fight comes then quickly to desire very different, much more muscular words and utopian pledges.

The last part about the “political class” is especially sharp. He sounds a lot like Ted Cruz, or rather what Ted Cruz would sound like if he could muster the balls to say something even a little bit critical of his new friend, the “megalomaniac strongman” as Sasse puts it.

Sasse’s first floor speech in the Senate was an indictment of that body. This one is mainly an indictment of Obama, which is fair enough. A guy who won’t say “radical Islam” and whose first impulse after every attack seems to be to worry about Muslims rather than the 98 percent of Americans who are tired of having to worry about Muslims is practically making an in-kind contribution to Trump. If Obama’s rise in 2008 was a reaction to Bush, Trump’s rise in 2015 is surely a reaction to Obama — in part. Emphasis: In part.

But Sasse is kidding himself if he thinks numbers like these would be wildly different if George W. Bush, or any other Republican, were president:

a

Public opinion isn’t what it is because Obama hasn’t articulated a plan for “a Middle Eastern map that isn’t generating more failed states that become terrorist training camps,” as Sasse puts it. Republican candidates haven’t done any better with that; apart from the McCain/Graham “ground troops everywhere” wing, most are offering variations of Obama’s approach — arm our proxies, especially the Kurds; bomb ISIS, albeit far more mercilessly than Obama is doing; and put a modest number of American boots on the ground if need be. (Ted Cruz, who’s worried about Rubio attacking him as weak on national security, has started talking about “carpet-bombing” ISIS and wondering aloud whether sand can be made to glow in the dark, which smells much more like desperate pandering to hawks than a workable regional strategy.) The truth is that Obama doesn’t sound vastly different from Bush when he talks about terror, especially second-term Bush after he’d shifted from wanting to export democracy to the region to managing the crisis in Iraq. Obama promises to go after the bad guys, he reminds Americans that most Muslims aren’t terrorists, and he cautions that the threat isn’t going anyway anytime soon. If and when George W. Bush wades into the current debate about American Muslims and the war on terror, I guarantee he’ll be much closer to Obama’s side than to Trump’s.

All of which is to say, while Sasse presents this speech as a truth bomb of sorts, he’s also guilty of dancing around a truth he’d rather not confront. The reason people keep coming up to him in the grocery store, as he says at one point here, and asking him how many Muslims believe in sharia law isn’t because Obama’s geopolitical vision for the Middle East is insufficiently formed. It’s because they read news stories about young Muslims leaving the west to fight for ISIS, they watch western media self-censor in fear of offending Muslims here, and they see polls showing that large numbers of Muslims in the Middle East support death for apostasy and stoning for adultery. Sasse himself draws a bright line between “militant Islam” and everyone else, but that’s the whole point — a lot of Americans, and not just Republicans, don’t see it as a bright line after 15 years of the war on terror. They see it more as a spectrum, with jihadis at the far end, fully westernized Muslims at the other, and various flavors of illiberalism in between. (Bill Maher may be the only figure in non-conservative American media willing to talk publicly about this.) That’s why the veil is such a sore point for many western non-Muslims: It’s not because they see it as a hallmark of jihadism, Tashfeen Malik notwithstanding, but because it’s an assertion of illiberalism that rebukes western values. That’s what people are asking Sasse about in the grocery store. Not “Why won’t Obama say ‘radical Islam’?” but “How do we get these people to modernize?” That problem doesn’t go away when Obama does.


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Comments

ah republicans, the Party of Personal Responsibility, always blaming others for their own failings.

man up and own your own crap for once in your sorry lives.

everdiso on December 9, 2015 at 2:59 PM

clear as mud

DFCtomm on December 9, 2015 at 3:19 PM

The statement by the prime minister’s office is not a rejection of Trump’s proposal, but rather a declaration that it respects the religious rights of all its, that is, Israeli “citizens.” Trump is not referring to American “citizens” but rather “foreigners” by virtue of his proposal to halt immigration among Islamic non-citizens.

SheetAnchor on December 9, 2015 at 3:28 PM

It’s discouraging when the post seems longer than the speech.

cbenoistd on December 9, 2015 at 3:38 PM

Sasse is just another dumbass rino. Voters will remember he supports terrorists.

earlgrey on December 9, 2015 at 3:40 PM

Americans are turning to Trump because their leadership is terrible….Period.

FIFY

Agent Cooper on December 9, 2015 at 3:44 PM

“How do we get these people to modernize?” That problem doesn’t go away when Obama does.

How do you modernize them to live peacefully in a non-Muslim state, or a secular state, within the Muslim world? That is the heart of the problem and if history is any guide we cannot.

Remember our U.S. constitution was written by Christian men (of some form or another) of European decent, and even if they were not all devout they still lived in a Christian European world. They wrote our constitution to deal with the problems in that world. They were influenced by the events of their ancestors and their own lives. Such events like the English Civil War, Cromwell’s Republic, The Presbyterian Scottish experiment, the Puritans, aristocracy, Catholics vs. Protestants, the enlightenment, etc. gave them a road map to try to fix the past problems of Christian Europe. So the U.S. Constitution has worked relatively well for immigrants coming from European cultures and who belonged to various Christian religious sects. Immigrants belonging to other religions like Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism have proven flexible enough to deal with any Constitutional contradictions.

The problem is Islam is unlike any other religion on the planet due to the fact it was born to be a political state, not just a religion. The first year of the Islamic calendar was in AD 622 when Muhammad left Mecca to go to Medina, known as the Hijra. There he set up a government and produced the Constitution of Medina (or The Charter of Medina), and set up the Ummah (political unity of all Muslims as a nation). That is why you should view the Quran and aHaidth as political commands, as well as religious. When you become a Muslim, or are born a Muslim, you join a divine and political nation. That nation is your first loyalty.

This is why westerners are so confused about Islam. They live in a world where Christianity and the political parted ways a long time ago. Of course there was some kind of harmony between the two for many years, but clearly by the renaissance, the kings and aristocrats of Europe ruled, passed the laws, and collected the taxes without consulting the Bible. Due to the fact that Christianity is a much more flexible religion it was possible for governments in Europe to do things that strayed from the Bible. That is because Christianity was not set up at the beginning to be a political nation, but only a divine one. Sure there were attempts to turn it into a political nation, but none of them made it to the renaissance era, and post renaissance era religious governments like Cromwell’s Republic were failures. The lessons of those failures made it into the U.S. Constitution’s 1st amendment.

So that is why we are where we are. When we fight Jihadists the more “illiberal” Muslims are drawn to supporting the Jihadists due to a sense of loyalty to protect their fellow Islamic citizens. When we try to reform the Islamic religion ourselves (infidels) it only inspires Jihadist groups to form to protect the Ummah’s foundational laws. Yet the Jihadists groups keep attacking us and killing our people, and the “illiberal” Muslims will do nothing of significance to prevent or stop it, because in essence we are inferior foreigners. We are not citizens.

That is why I don’t believe there is a solution. No matter what we do it will end in a clash, because in essence American Muslims do not view loyalty to America the same way we do. Muslims may take a loyalty oath to protect the constitution, but when conflict happens between those two loyalties a large portion of American Muslims will side with the Quran and not the constitution. It is not bigotry to point that out, but based on history and fact. Islam is a nation, no different than Russia, or Japan. It may not exist as a formal country in the modern sense we normally think of, but it still has this powerful hold on its loyal and devout followers.

Think of it like this. We are having problems in the Baltic States because there are sizable populations of ethnic Russians living there. When they are forced to choose between Russia and Estonia they historically choose Russia. They still retain this sense of loyalty to “Mother Russia”. Thus Putin can always take advantage of that. Same goes with Muslims in America (or any other Non-Muslim state). This is why if you are going to fight Muslims anywhere in the world, expect major problems from Muslim communities within your own country. This is why it might be a wise idea to stop Muslim immigration into the west for the foreseeable future. This is really the case if we are going to be fighting Muslim Jihadists for the foreseeable future.

Note: The people you call “liberal” or “Modern” Muslims are really in fact people who no longer have any loyalty to the Islamic nation, or at least put the secular state (like America) ahead of the Islamic nation. That is always going to be a small proportion of the Muslim population in any Non-Muslim state. The only thing that can break that loyalty is some other force, like ethnic loyalty. We see this in the Kurds who at least now are hyper ethnic and thus see that as their first identity. Ethnic loyalty is not very useful in a country like the U.S., because our loyalty is based on the constitution…a framework that has been weakened badly the progressives. How can the U.S. constitution compete with the Quran in the minds of Muslims? A man made document made by dead Christian men vs. laws from Allah to Muhammad, their founding father? A man made document that only half of the country follows anymore on a good day…

William Eaton on December 9, 2015 at 3:48 PM

hey are food to a people who are starved for real leadership.

Sunday night was a drought. Monday night was a flood. Neither are what the people need – or what they, at their best, want. But don’t be surprised that a people who are being misled by a political class in denial about the nature of this fight comes then quickly to desire very different, much more muscular words and utopian pledges.

You don’t have to support Trump himself to see that Sasse is correct about the genesis of that support.
If the establishments in both parties don’t wake up soon and address the problems as seen by the public, then both are going to be shaken up instead.

AesopFan on December 9, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Maybe it has to do with the fact that our last two Presidents have cared more about NOT OFFENDING muslims THAT MURDER AMERICANS than they are keeping AMERICANS FROM BEING MURDERED BY muslims?

ConstantineXI on December 9, 2015 at 1:24 PM

FIFY – ;)
The fear is that previously non-violent newly-offended Muslims will join the murderers; the prez were trying to keep the numbers contained.

AesopFan on December 9, 2015 at 4:01 PM

This isn’t about what outrageous things Trump says, it’s about which side of the line you stand on. Whose fault is it that Trump is one of the few, and the loudest, on the “Protect Americans” side of the line?

There are many who don’t agree with everything Trump says or how he says it, but at least he’s on our side of the line.

RockyMtnGirl on December 9, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Indeed.

AesopFan on December 9, 2015 at 4:02 PM

How do you modernize them to live peacefully in a non-Muslim state, or a secular state, within the Muslim world? That is the heart of the problem and if history is any guide we cannot.

William Eaton on December 9, 2015 at 3:48 PM

Islam creates these backward conditions where ever it reigns. It’s success would mean the destruction and imprisonment of all mankind.

DFCtomm on December 9, 2015 at 4:16 PM

Trump’s rise in 2015 is surely a reaction to Obama

The GOP have only themselves to blame for the rise of Trump.

TexAz on December 9, 2015 at 4:18 PM

http://www.frontpagemag.com/point/261062/carter-banned-iranians-coming-us-during-hostage-daniel-greenfield

Why wasn’t this the first reaction of the GOP?

Saw it referenced on page 1 but info at link spells it out.

1244 on December 9, 2015 at 4:19 PM

Here’s IMO a reasonable plan without the Muslim imigration ban:

All mosques must be classified and treated as “agents of foreign power,” in accordance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), a U.S. law (22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq.) passed in 1938.

The law presciently allows for application in gray areas such as Islam presents, as it states that any entity with a “political or quasi-political capacity” disclose their relationship with the foreign government and information about related activities and finances. The purpose is to facilitate “evaluation by the government and the American people of the statements and activities of such persons.” [Source]

Islam certainly thinks and behaves like a foreign power, is guided in America by the Muslim Brotherhood, the Saudis and other foreign Islamic groups, and has a definite political dimension.

Any and all mosques associated with Muslim terrorists must be investigated, and if found to be advancing jihad doctrine, sharia law, and Islamic supremacism over the United States, they should be prosecuted and closed, in accordance with the FARA act referenced above.

Stop all foreign funding of mosques, whether by FARA, new legislation, or executive power.

More at Jihadwatch

Chessplayer on December 9, 2015 at 4:28 PM

And, Ben Sasse is supposedly a conservative.

It’s not necessary to be a moron to be an elected Republican official, but it certainly helps.

Republicans are far more afraid of the media and not being politically correct than they are of the voters.

bw222 on December 9, 2015 at 4:41 PM

If Ben Sasse would like to see a good example of how the American people are “being misled by a political class in denial about the nature of this fight”, he should take a look at his own brain-dead apologia for the criminal “religion” of Islam. Here is Sasse, explaining his stance in the current misunderstanding;

“We are at war with militants or jihadis in Islam but we are not at war with people who believe in the American creed which includes the right of everybody of every religion too freely worship and to freely speak and to freely assemble and argue.”

A person who is a Muslim, by definition, does not believe in anyone’s right to do anything, other than the will of Allah. And if Ben Sasse doesn’t know that, he should shut his mouth and study up on the matter. We are not at war with fantasy Muslims who are actually principled Libertarian philosophers. We are at war with actual Muslims, who want to take over the world and force everyone to submit to their imaginary playmate.

Cation on December 9, 2015 at 6:13 PM

Disappointed in Sasse.

Didn’t the House just pass an immigration bill? Isn’t that exactly what Trump was talking about? Stop all Muslim immigration until the government gets their act together on immigration.

huckleberryfriend on December 9, 2015 at 6:26 PM

Ben quit your Sass! You are acting PC which will get us all killed.

For 3000 years Muslims have been on a march which calls for eliminating infidels. Do you really thing they are going to stop doing what they have been doing for 3000 years for a 200 year old Country?

What they do may be right for them , but it is incompatible with American Values.

Nat George on December 9, 2015 at 8:47 PM

It sure as hell isn’t fear that has us disgusted with the GOPe, and a failure to answer the question of how does Islam modernize (when in fact hey have no interest in such a thing themselves)is not even close to being the driving force either.

The GOPe has been in abject failure mode on almost any topic one might care to choose for a long, long time.

Anyone likely to upset the DC apple cart is going to be the front-runner all the way to next November as a result.

This does not minimize the Islamic problem, but the current attitudes do not in any way require it either to explain what is going on.

They…still…do…not…get…it.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on December 9, 2015 at 10:14 PM

not just on terror [email protected] Ben.

WryTrvllr on December 9, 2015 at 11:12 PM

I can’t believe what I’m hearing from the Republican party these days. I truly cannot.

I certainly understand that Islam, in and of itself, is the problem but the only solutions that many Republicans, namely Trump supporters, rally around are some of the most anti-freedom, government-centered solutions possible. Certainly, we can restrict immigration from muslim-majority countries, but we cannot prevent poverty-stricken Latin Americans from wandering across our southern border let alone well-heeled drug dealers. We can ban any muslim from immigrating to America but government bureaucrats rarely do anything well – least of all, determine whether someone is “faking it” just to jump through whatever hoops we have in place to prevent impostors from entering the country. We can shut down mosques but the First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” Would you folks really sacrifice your freedom or the principles by which we live in order to enact a faulty and likely overbearing government-centered solution to the problem?

The real irony here is that NO ONE – not even the great Donald Trump – in the Republican presidential field has given the speech that Republicans and the majority of the rest of the country needs to hear: Safety and freedom cannot co-exist. Freedom is inherently dangerous because the People prosper or perish through their self-determination. If we want to be a free people, we must take responsibility for ourselves. Every responsible American should own a firearm, every responsible American should carry their firearm. Every responsible American should shoot back if a terrorist or other murdered starts shooting. Some will die but most will live. That’s freedom.

Now, I know we cannot count on the left to champion freedom but the Republican candidates should rally around this ideal. Instead we have Marco Rubio championing a surveillance state and Donald Trump championing some sort of neo-fascist muslim control ideal. Ted Cruz – who I support for the moment – is trying to balance the two (wrong idea Cruz; frankly, you should know better).

While I agree with many who post here that Islam a big part of the problem, I cannot stand with you in your anti-muslim fervor. As much as you may not want to admit it, these policies – whether they originate with Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Jeb, or any other Republican candidate – are neo-fascist and anathema to freedom.

Speakeasy on December 9, 2015 at 11:22 PM

Were all Germans Nazis or were all Nazis German…? Complex….?

d1carter on December 9, 2015 at 1:48 PM

Neither were all Germans Nazis, nor were all Nazis German.

Gelsomina on December 9, 2015 at 11:43 PM

Ben Sasse is a prime example of why people are turning to Trump.

Brock Robamney on December 10, 2015 at 5:04 AM

Certainly, we can restrict immigration from muslim-majority countries, but we cannot prevent poverty-stricken Latin Americans from wandering across our southern border let alone well-heeled drug dealers.

More talking points brought to you by the WE CAN’T DO ANYTHING caucus. We certainly can prevent these people from wandering across our southern border very well, build a damn wall and actually enforce the security of it, like our Constitution demands the federal government do in charging them with the enforcement of securing America from foreign incursions.

We can shut down mosques but the First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

Yeah, I have been seeing a lot of this being posted in defense of unlimited Muslim immigration here too. Mosques have been breeding grounds for terrorists and should be shut down when those activities are occuring.

The real irony here is that NO ONE – not even the great Donald Trump – in the Republican presidential field has given the speech that Republicans and the majority of the rest of the country needs to hear: Safety and freedom cannot co-exist.

Speakeasy on December 9, 2015 at 11:22 PM

Yeah, so let’s just open the borders and let every person into the country who wants to come in, especially if they are a “poverty stricken” Mexican. Because freedom or something…

And why have a police force or military, because freedom and safety cannot coexist?

The last few days have been utter lunacy here with these absolutist anarcho-libertarian viewpoints, now suddenly, in vogue.

NWConservative on December 10, 2015 at 5:50 AM

Excuse me, Mr. Sasse, but we have had a demagogue in office since 2009.

MsYoung on December 10, 2015 at 7:30 AM

Ben Sasse is a prime example of why people are turning to Trump.

Brock Robamney on December 10, 2015 at 5:04 AM

I sent money to Sasse…twice. And this is the return on that investment? Apparently people like Sasse see nothing wrong with the behavior of Ryan Rubio Boehner Cantor McCain Graham Goodlatte Toomey…oh heck…the list is too long.

With few exceptions GOP officialdom has governed against the wishes of the people who put them there, enabled the anti-American in the WH, cut back room deals, and lied to us all the while.

Only one candidate is saying what I want to hear….and it has nothing to do with what Sasse thinks it does.

EastofEden on December 10, 2015 at 7:57 AM

“(Western society…)They live in a world where Christianity and the political parted ways a long time ago.” W. Eaton, above.

It does seem as if until the 1990’s American Muslims were living a 20th century, sophisticated, “reformed,” islam. Our freedom of religion in our country would have allowed for them to set up all kinds of Muslim sects, each with their own focus and themes the way that Christian churches have done. Religious freedom would have said that you don’t “get to look on your friends plate and criticize what he is eating,” spiritually.

This morning I heard one of those defending islam groups as guests on talk radio, (83 WCRN) young people who were born and raised in the US, under this “reformed” islam, and they don’t have a clue. They think this is still the 1990’s, and don’t see that the new muslims are coming for them, and want to return their faith culturally and secular-ly, back to the era of Mohammed. “There is a lack of leadership at the mosque, no one is responsible” was all the girl could say. She said they don’t allow anti- American or promote violence…she does not see it pubicly. Basically her feelings are hurt that her religion is blamed and we need to adjust so we don’t blame all muslims. But she was not without some awareness, she said …something like…she would feel safer in a Christian church…that American Christians would not harm her…but not in a…(sorry the qualifier was unintelligible…) a mosque, I think she meant in the middle east. And referred to the old standby: Muslims kill more muslim victims than Christians.

But the real solution is for the muslims that are here and want to be American, to join in a ban against new people coming to ruin what they had. Their Pretty, Reformed, Sophisticated, 20th century religion is going away and it is someone else’s problem, it is Trumps problem or it is the Pentagon’s problem or it is your local police’s problem when the 10th century element goes on an emotional tirade.

Therefore, if islam wants to stay in America, the older generations who came here for freedom need to let the scales fall from their eyes and stop being “insulted” and direct their representatives that they want to stop the influx. If “more muslims kill more muslims than Christians,” the muslim community needs to say to shut the door now, for a time, like The Donald.

I am more conservative than The Donald, and I am fascinated but still not planning to cast my vote that way, but I am defending him, he has been sound Bitten the way Romney was bit with the “47%” comment and it’s a lot like the media campaign against “legitimate rape,” which was plainly misinterpreted….But He Said it!!!!! The Donald did not say to Ban Muslims from our country forever, he also did not say to round them up and deport them. And I have heard that from the liberals, Donald said to Ban them. No qualifiers, just Ban them once and for all. And that message went around the world, and my fav Bibi was tricked into condemning it.

For that I am so sad.

Fleuries on December 10, 2015 at 9:38 AM

Duh…..YES!

Another Drew on December 10, 2015 at 10:40 AM

Ben Who????
His initials say it all……….
When dealing with liberals and other mental deficients in discussing Islamists and other Muslims, use this website; http://www.thereligionofpeace.com . The website keeps track daily of the Islamic terrorist attacks, killings and woundings by Jihadis. It also shows the reality of history (not what Oblama sez) regarding Islams past. For example, Islamic terrorists killed more people on one day, Sept 11, than in all 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition.

Islam is not compatible with our Constitution. Period. End of story. Anyone thinking we can allow Islamists into our country are either on drugs or should be……………..The Constitution is not a suicide note…………..

colonelkurtz on December 10, 2015 at 10:49 AM

Is there something about Ted Cruz that is under AP’s skin?

GaltBlvnAtty on December 10, 2015 at 10:57 AM

The fear is that previously non-violent newly-offended Muslims will join the murderers; the prez were trying to keep the numbers contained.

AesopFan on December 9, 2015 at 4:01 PM

He said, repeating CAIR’s talking points and lies.

earlgrey on December 10, 2015 at 12:48 PM

We simply don’t deserve such real MEN of the incredibly HIGH caliber of Ben Sasse & Tom Cotton. If only McConnell and the GOP had the smarts permanently to hand over the majority leader’s gavel to either of these great ones things would improve radically, but he & they are far too corrupt and spineless for such a wise move.

russedav on December 10, 2015 at 6:35 PM