The Corner

Politics & Policy

Enough Knee-Jerk Accusations About ‘Fearmongering’!

In response to My Marriage News

Fred, I concur with everything you say, and would just add that for all of their flaws, all of other threats that we’re told are more likely to kill us than a terrorist — other drivers, the ladder at home, the stove, the local swimming pool – aren’t deliberately trying to kill us. (Admittedly, at rush hour, it does seem that way with the other drivers.)

You may fall off your ladder while putting up the Christmas lights on the roof, but it’s not like there’s a sinister group, al-Laddera, plotting to wobble when you’re leaning over to put that last string up above the gutter. There’s not much the government can to to stop you from falling off a ladder, other than PSAs saying “be careful!” But there’s an awful lot the government can do to target terrorists and mitigate the threat they present.

We’re entering an era where just talking about terrorism garners accusations of fear-mongering. Hillary Clinton accused Republicans of fear-mongering; in the same speech, she’s emphasized that it’s not enough to “contain” ISIS — as President Obama has said in the past; she says we need to destroy it. Somehow it’s perfectly legitimate for her to argue that more needs to be done about ISIS, but when Republicans do it, it’s fear-mongering.

This week’s Saturday Night Live began with a faux Republican presidential debate, and featured Bobby Moynihan as Chris Christie, who began, “Wolf, I would like to answer that with a series of fear-mongering statements.” Faux-Christie continues, “Mothers are putting their kids on buses, and these buses are being driven off cliffs by terrorists! Today, in our great country, one in every three babies born are already in ISIS! They are here, folks, and I am the only one with the stones to take them on!”

Yes, yes, Saturday Night Live is satire, which relies on comic exaggeration. But look at Christie’s opening statement from the last debate, and see if it strikes you as genuine fear-mongering:

America has been betrayed. We’ve been betrayed by the leadership that Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton have provided to this country over the last number of years. Think about just what’s happened today. The second largest school district in America in Los Angeles closed based on a threat.

Think about the effect that, that’s going to have on those children when they go back to school tomorrow wondering filled with anxiety to whether they’re really going to be safe. Think about the mothers who will take those children tomorrow morning to the bus stop wondering whether their children will arrive back on that bus safe and sound. Think about the fathers of Los Angeles, who tomorrow will head off to work and wonder about the safety of their wives and their children.

What is it that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton done to this country? That the most basic responsibility of an administration is to protect the safety and security of the American people. I will tell you this, I’m a former federal prosecutor, I’ve fought terrorists and won and when we get back in the White House we will fight terrorists and win again and America will be safe.

The Los Angeles School District closure was frightening, because no one knew if the message was from some crank, some kid trying to get out of a test, or a genuine reason to fear a San Bernardino-style attack. (The shooter had pictures of a high school on his cell phone.) The closure reflected school administrators’ need take every threat seriously – even seemingly implausible ones. (If the administrators ever dismiss a threat that turns out to be a real danger, the outrage will be deafening, followed by the sound of lawyers filing paperwork to sue the district.)

Those who are scoffing at the public’s concern about terrorism are rolling the dice, and hoping nothing happens in the coming weeks, months, and year.

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