Barack Obama may have figured that he would catch political lightning in a bottle by belittling concerns over the prospect of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees just after the attacks in Paris, but his fellow Democrats aren’t exactly jumping to back his play. With his usual impeccable timing, Obama sneered at Republicans for being afraid of widows and orphans just before a female jihadist blew herself up in an attempt to stave off a raid in Paris. Not long afterward, Turkey announced that it had arrested eight men suspected of being ISIS terrorists, attempting to infiltrate Germany by posing as — wait for it — refugees. ISIS bragged in response that they’re just the tip of the iceberg:
Police sources said one of the suspects had a hand-drawn picture of a planned route from Turkey to Germany, via Greece, Serbia and Hungary.
It is believed the group are Islamic State militants planning to make their way to Germany posing as refugees.
The arrests come after an ISIS terrorist bragged about how easy it was to smuggle thousands of covert jihadists into Europe under the guise of being a desperate refugee.
The Syrian operative claimed more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen had made it into western nations, hidden among innocent refugees.
He said members of the blood-thirsty group were following the well-trodden route taken by refugees and migrants fleeing Syria, travelling across the border of Turkey then on to boats across to Greece and through Europe.
The man claimed there are now more than 4,000 covert ISIS gunmen “ready” to strike across the European Union.
Is that true? Who knows? Turkey caught these eight suspects, but only because of heightened scrutiny in the wake of the attacks, and perhaps some serendipitous stupidity by the infiltrators by keeping evidence of their plans on them. Even if this is 99% boast, that leaves dozens of potential sleepers ready to lead terror attacks with local recruits.
Even before these developments, high-ranking Democrats in Washington and elsewhere seemed reluctant to take up Obama’s straw-men and ad hominem arguments. In fact, as the Washington Post’s Amber Phillips notes, they’re a little worried about admitting Syrian refugees too:
But as the debate intensifies, higher-ranking Democrats appear slightly more concerned than their rank-and-file counterparts and liberal supporters about letting Syrian refugees into America. And their public comments indicate they’re at least leaving the door open to pausing it too.
Here’s what Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Democrats’ No. 3 and the Senate Democratic leader-in-waiting, said on Tuesday afternoon:
Longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the Senate intelligence committee, warned in a statement Tuesday “we need to be very careful about Syrian refugee admissions.”
The Hill reports that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) signed a letter to President Obama calling on him to not allow any more Syrians into the country “unless federal authorities can guarantee with 100 percent assurance they are not connected” to the Islamic State.
Even Harry Reid, who normally marches in lockstep with Obama when it comes to smearing Republicans, balked at endorsing Obama’s plan until after a security briefing last night. “Let’s wait until tomorrow,” he suggested when asked whether a pause was in order, which Phillips points out is not exactly a no.
Speaking of the ad hominem smear campaign, some Democrats and liberal pundits want an immediate pause on that campaign as well:
Influential liberal columnists and Democratic strategists say Obama came off as condescending and scornful during his press conference in Antalya, Turkey — missing an opportunity to show strength and leadership in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“I don’t want him shooting from the hip and making empty threats, but I think he could have done a better job in articulating the anger that many people feel toward what happened in not only Paris but Beirut as well,” said Democratic strategist Jim Manley, a former adviser to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
“What happened in Paris and in Beirut is going to require an aggressive response.”
Those comments echoed Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson’s assessment that Obama’s tone “was all wrong” in addressing the Paris attacks.
Typically an Obama ally, Robinson in a column published on Tuesday wrote that “at times he was patronizing, at other times he seemed annoyed and almost dismissive.”
Not to mention disconnected from reality. The man who sneers at his critics from podiums in Turkey and the Philippines is the same Commander in Chief who insisted that ISIS had been “contained” and was declining in strength just hours before the Paris attacks. He now seems disconnected from the political reality that selling a refugee program that has apparently produced one major attack in Europe is a bad call, especially when Obama can’t offer anything more than platitudes in support of the program when Americans are worried that they will be next on the ISIS list.
In the hours after a major terrorist attack, the proper response is to review and enhance national security, not offer policies that will immediately complicate it. And the manner in which those proposals should be offered in that aftermath is by honest engagement with all constituencies to find consensus, not act as Divider in Chief from overseas. Obama couldn’t possibly be more tone-deaf and behind the curve if he tried.
With that in mind, Nate Beeler captures this moment perfectly today for the Columbus Dispatch:
Obama’s in a bubble of his own making — and Democrats are increasingly looking for ways out of it.