The Corner

National Security & Defense

The ‘Never Mind, I Was Being Sarcastic’ Candidacy

From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

The ‘Never Mind, I Was Being Sarcastic’ Candidacy

There are a ton of strong arguments against President Obama’s policy on handling ISIS. You can justifiably mock his “jayvee team” comments. You can point to the complaints from Central Command that the White House didn’t want to hear the truth about the rise of ISIS. You can ask whether the military that could do enormous numbers of sorties a day in the Iraq wars is really doing everything it can against ISIS now. You can ask whether this president chooses to not talk about ISIS often so that the public will not worry about the threat. You can point out that ISIS is inspiring “lone wolf” attacks on American soil more than al-Qaeda did, and ask why this administration doesn’t act like this country is at war. You can point out that there’s no point to containment against a state that

rejects peace as a matter of principle; that it hungers for genocide; that its religious views make it constitutionally incapable of certain types of change, even if that change might ensure its survival; and that it considers itself a harbinger of — and headline player in — the imminent end of the world.

You can mock Obama’s declaration that ISIS can’t win because they “can’t produce anything” when they obviously produce American-born mass killers. A Republican candidate really ought to be tearing into the revelation that “Obama believes that the clash is taking place within a single civilization, and that Americans are sometimes collateral damage in this fight between Muslim modernizers and Muslim fundamentalists” because the American president shouldn’t think of the citizens as “collateral damage.” The Republican candidate needs to emphasize that there’s no reason to think Hillary Clinton’s approach to the threat will be any different than Obama’s.

But the Republican candidate shouldn’t be insisting that President Obama is the founder of ISIS, because it’s not literally true, it only works as an exaggerated metaphor and it allows his opponents to paint him as unhinged and uninformed.

Hugh Hewitt, interviewing Donald Trump Thursday:

HH: I’ve got two more questions. Last night, you said the President was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.

DT: No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.

HH: But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.

DT: I don’t care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?

Hewitt and Trump go back and forth about the word “founder”, and it concludes:

DT: I mean, with his bad policies, that’s why ISIS came about.

HH: That’s…

DT: If he would have done things properly, you wouldn’t have had ISIS.

HH: That’s true.

DT: Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.

Duane Patterson, Hugh Hewitt’s producer, writing at Hot Air:

Donald not only did not board the life raft Hugh threw him, he deflated it out of spite. He went on several other media outlets throughout the day and held firm on his assertion.

This morning, the world was greeting with the following tweet from Donald Trump: “Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) “the founder” of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”

Donald Trump is like Minnesota weather – if you don’t like it the way it is, just wait an hour and it’ll change completely. As for the sarcasm, sarcasm means saying the opposite thing. So if Mr. Trump was being sarcastic, does that mean he actually is praising Obama and Hillary’s role regarding ISIS?

If Trump had a split personality, it would explain a lot.

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