President Obama played the “religion card” during his news conference this morning by accusing some Republicans of “feeding the notion” that the War on Terror as a “war against Islam.” It was a clear attempt to sidestep the Saturday Democratic presidential debate in which all three candidates declined to name “radical Islam” as the enemy even after CBS News moderator John Dickerson made it very clear he wasn’t referring to all Muslims.
This approach didn’t impress the Morning Joe panel on liberal MSNBC. Co-host Joe Scarborough was scathing: “How stupid do they think we are? How stupid? Nobody’s calling all Muslims terrorists. Nobody’s suggesting the majority of Muslims are terrorists . . . We ask Democrats, top Democratic leaders to come on and everybody was busy today. Nobody wanted to talk about what poses a real threat to Western civilization and you have Democrats . . . Why can’t you call radical Islam radical Islam?”
His liberal colleague Mike Barnicle agreed that the Democratic argument that using the term would inflame Muslims didn’t pass muster. “How is use of the phrase radical Islam going to inflame ISIS anymore than it’s already inflamed? Radical Islam is basically just an aspect of the truth of what’s going on. No country in the world has reached out to Muslims and Muslim communities around the world more than the United States.”
Former John McCain strategist Steve Schmidt chimed in to say Democrats would pay a political price for their stubborness. “You look at the fecklessness of these answers by these candidates, simply shocking. . . . they are not willing to say at least even what General Sisi, the leader of Egypt has said in confronting the nature of the threat in talking directly, to talking directly about it. And so we have to name the name. We have to communicate clearly who it is that we’re fighting in order to understand directly what it is that we are fighting.”