Good catch by Karol Markowicz. Who are the people Hillary has in mind at the end here when she refers to divided loyalties? I don’t think she means jihadis. Their loyalties aren’t divided, and even a Democrat would say it’s okay to hate ISIS, I hope. Is she talking about … Muslims generally? Because that’d be a seven-alarm media fire if Trump said it. It doesn’t sound like a calculated talking point either; it sounds like a slip, something she said just because that’s where her train of thought took her. Although with Hillary, you never know. Would a woman who once subtly cast doubt on whether Barack Obama is a Christian and presented herself as being adamantly against illegal immigrants casually question the patriotism of American Muslims if she thought it might earn her a second look from more right-leaning voters? Er, why not?
It’s not like this would be her only rhetorical shift on terrorism lately either. Ramesh Ponnuru contrasted what she said about radical Islam late last year with what she said about it this morning, now that Trump is jabbing at Obama for being too weak to call the enemy by their name:
Hillary Clinton, Nov. 19: “The obsession in some quarters with a clash of civilization, or repeating the specific words ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ isn’t just a distraction, it gives these criminals, these murderers more standing than they deserve. It actually plays into their hands by alienating partners we need by our side.”
Hillary Clinton, today: “From my perspective, it matters what we do, not what we say. . . . To me radical jihadism, radical Islamism–I think they mean the same thing, I’m happy to say either.” (More in this vein here.)
That’s the sound of a Democratic primary candidate metamorphosing into a general election candidate, especially one pitted against a right-wing authoritarian who’s on firm ground in mocking the left for its squeamishness in using the I-word in connection with terrorism. Even the new, tough-talking Hillary can quite bring herself here to say “radical Islam.” She says “radical Islamism.” That’s not technically wrong — “Islamism” refers to the belief that Islamic law should be the governing law of the land, and all jihadis do believe that — but she’s sticking to her strategy of not directly linking Islam itself to jihadi attacks.
In fact, that’s the best reason to think she misspoke somehow at the end of the clip here and meant to say something else. She’s embraced the Bush position that it’s a big strategic mistake to link Islam to terrorism since it alienates law-abiding Muslims and plays into the Salafist idea that radical Islam is true Islam. If you believe that, that we should keep the distinctions between Islam and Islamism clear and bright, why would you casually accuse Muslims writ large of divided loyalties? I assume the spin here will be that she was referring specifically to would-be jihadis like Mateen who are attracted to terrorism but who may resist the urge for many years for unknown reasons. Hating on Muslims generally may entice Mateen wannabes specifically into acting. Although, if you believe his father, it was the sight of two men kissing publicly, not anti-Muslim rhetoric, that may have inspired the attack by angering him. Does Hillary have any thoughts on whether that sort of activity should be reined in so that it doesn’t piss off a violent terrorist scumbag?
Since we’re talking about accusations of terrorist sympathies, I’m going to politely disagree with Ed and guess that Trump was indeed accusing Obama of that in what he said this morning. Ed’s right that Trump is usually blunt in attacking his enemies, but Trump’s also smart enough to know that directly accusing the president of supporting terrorism is no ordinary attack. If you’re going to make that move, you need to be oblique. That way you can plausibly deny that that’s what you meant when the media presses you on it even as your hardcore fans feel gratified that you seem to share their suspicions about O.
Clinton: We have to defeat radical jihadist terrorism or radical Islamism, whatever you call it. It's the same. https://t.co/b8jEReoycK
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) June 13, 2016