Littwin: On Trump’s Muslim ban and why ‘proto-fascism’ is winning

Littwin writes: “Donald Trump has brilliantly exploited white working class unease, with Obama, with immigration, with ISIS, and now with homegrown radical terrorism and the horror they produced. It’s the perfect time for a strong man who would tell a crowd Saturday night that there would be no San Bernardinos in a TrumpWorld.” Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons, Flickr

 

The most obvious, and most disturbing, thing anyone can say about Donald Trump’s latest outrage is that it will probably work.

I mean, why not? All his previous outrages have.

It’s no coincidence that Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the country — just until, you know, we get this stuff straightened out — came on the heels of a Monmouth poll showing Ted Cruz creeping (I think that’s the apt word) ahead of Trump in Iowa.

And it can’t be a coincidence, either, that Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown” came a day after Barack Obama’s Oval Office speech warning that defining the war against terrorists as a war against Islam would only benefit ISIS and its ability to recruit disaffected Muslims.

Obama’s speech was being roundly panned for not being sufficiently passionate in explaining, just days after the San Bernardino terror attack, how to confront ISIS. No one was going to pan Trump for that. He would offer passion and only passion.

As Trump put it the other day, “Every time things get worse, the better I do.”

The people, Trump explained, “want strength.”

And when Trump went to South Carolina Monday night to confirm that he was serious about his altogether unserious plan to stop Muslims at the border — presumably meaning immigrants, refugees, tourists, businesspeople and maybe even American citizens, none of whom actually have “Muslim” stamped on their passports — he got a standing ovation from the strength-hungry crowd.

Yes, things were worse.

[pullquote]”Every time things get worse, the better I do.” — Donald Trump[/pullquote]

“We have no choice,” Trump said. “We have no choice. We have no choice.”

Jeb!, just as one example from the Republican field, called Trump “unhinged,” which presumably wouldn’t make him the best choice. All day Monday Trump was being variously slammed by nervous GOP competitors, gleeful Democrats and, of course, White House spokespeople.

In other words, it was everything Trump could have hoped for. After all, Trump is no more unhinged than he ever was. And it’s the same thing people were saying when Trump was calling Mexican immigrants “rapists.” That was back when he began surging in the polls. All he has done with his latest appeal to America’s worst instincts is to further raise the stakes in demagoguery. Won’t the polls follow?

No one can be surprised by Trump’s latest move. We know how he got there. After the horror of the Paris attacks, there were the 30 governors who said they would refuse to accept Syrian refugees. And then there was Chris Christie who took it a step further and said he wouldn’t even accept orphan toddler Syrian refugees. And then there was Jeb! saying we should put the Christian refugees first. That’s how we got there.

And then, of course, there was Cruz calling for a religious test for refugees and Cruz saying of ISIS that in his administration, “We will carpet bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.”

Cruz didn’t mention that in the past 15 months, in an Obama administration, the Air Force had hit ISIS with 20,000 bombs and missiles and, according to CNN, had fired off so many that they were starting to run low. But Obama is weak and won’t say “radical Islamists.” Cruz is strong and wants to make the sand glow.

So, of course, Trump is going to ban Muslims. He had already said there’s “something going on” with Obama, suggesting, well, you know what the birther guy was suggesting. Trump was in front saying he would bomb the bleep out of the terrorists. And torture them. And round up their families. He had already said he was going to monitor American mosques and maybe force Muslims to sign onto a registry.

All that was before San Bernardino. He would have to go bigger. Much bigger. So, why not a completely unenforceable, unworkable, unimaginable ban? And if people call you a xenophobe, you can call them weak and craven and, if comes down to it, even politically correct.

Meanwhile, conservative pundits who had been trying to explain Trump’s months-long standing atop the polls were now starting to wonder whether Trump was, in fact, a fascist. Ross Douthat wrote in The New York Times that he didn’t think Trump was exactly a fascist – more like a proto-fascist, which seemed close enough.

In The New Yorker, John Cassidy wrote that Trump was America’s version of Marine Le Pen, whose ultra-right National Front Party won the early round in France’s regional elections. Others were settling for George Wallace. Or Joe McCarthy. I like the local favorite, Tom Tancredo, who just wrote a piece for Breitbart calling for 100-million-strong, state-based militias to battle “Islamists” in our country. In a nice Tancredo touch, he would have the government subsidize insufficiently-armed, low-income Americans with “gun stamps.” I kept waiting for him to propose carpet-bombing Mecca.

It’s obvious that something is going on. Trump has brilliantly exploited white working class unease, with Obama, with immigration, with ISIS, and now with homegrown radical terrorism and the horror they produced. It’s the perfect time for a strong man who would tell a crowd Saturday night that there would be no San Bernardinos in a TrumpWorld.

“We’re going to be so vigilant,” he said. “We’re going to be so careful. We’re going to be so tough and so mean and so nasty.”

No one should doubt when Trump says he’ll be nasty. It’s just a matter of guessing now how much nastier he can go.

 

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons, Flickr

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hey, Mike! Nice to see a face from the Old Country (Denver) here in Southern Colo. nspr.
    Why is Trump working for the Dems? Must be something in it for him to be smearing himself and the GOP so badly. He’s not looking to be POTUS, obv. to me. What is he really up to?
    Karen, PW

  2. “(Ted) Cruz didn’t mention that in the past 15 months, in an Obama administration, the Air Force had hit ISIS with 20,000 bombs and missiles and, according to CNN, had fired off so many that they were starting to run low.” – Mike Littwin

    The intent of that quote is to suggest that President Obama is doing much more militarily against ISIS than the American public is aware of and more than he gets credit for. After all, if the military is running low on bombs it must be because the US is dropping bombs on ISIS faster than they can be replaced.

    Right?

    The truth, as is usually the case with Mr. Littwin, is far different.

    This from the Washington Times:

    “Although the average sortie rate is orders of magnitude below the operational tempo in the Gulf Wars or in Kosovo, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force says the service is running out of munitions.”

    “We’re expending munitions faster than we can replenish them,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said Friday. “We need the funding in place to ensure we’re prepared for the long fight. This is a critical need.”

    So the reason the Air Force is running short of ordnance is not from an intense bombing campaign against ISIS but because of a lack of funding from, wait for it………… the Obama administration.

    And if the military isn’t funded at a level necessary to fight ISIS (a group President Obama called the JV) how would America fight a sustained war against a foe like Russia or China?

    I’m sure Mr. Littwin will answer that in a future column. Or not.

    =========================================

    “The American people should feel confident that, you know, we are going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that, you know, we have a good holiday and go about our lives,”
    President Obama

    “Well, no, I don’t think (ISIS are) gaining strength. What is true is that from the start our goal has been first to contain (ISIS), and we have contained them”

    President Obama

    “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”
    Hillary Clinton Really?

    “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”
    Hillary Clinton Seriously?

    “Isn’t it odd, then, that in Nigeria (70 percent Muslim) and Lebanon (54 percent Muslim) large majorities say they are “very worried” about Islamic extremism in their countries? The presence of Boko Haram in Nigeria and Hezbollah in Lebanon has a way of concentrating the mind. People around the world are worried about Islamic radicalism, too. Perhaps they are mindful of 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting (2009), the Boston Marathon bombing (2013), the bombings of trains in Madrid (2004), the three-day siege of hotels and a Jewish center in Mumbai (2008), the bombings of a bus and trains in London (2005), the attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse (2012), the slaughter of students at a Kenya university (2015), the attack on high schoolers in Peshawar, Pakistan (2014), the shootings at a Mali hotel (2015), the stabbings in Israel (2015), the Bali bombings (2002), the Jakarta bombing (2009) and so very many more, to say nothing of the treatment of religious minorities, homosexuals, and women in many Muslim societies.”

    Mona Charen

    “As for whether Muslims are tolerant, there’s no doubt that some are, but as a 2013 Pew survey of global attitudes found, 88 percent of Egyptian and 62 percent of Pakistani Muslims favor the death penalty for apostates.”

    Mona Charon

    “Before we go any further, I should say that I’m opposed to capital punishment in all cases.”
    Mike Littwin

    “Nor did (President Obama) seriously address the other approach that could make a difference: more aggressive psychiatric intervention. These massacres are almost invariably perpetrated by severely disturbed, isolated, often delusional young men.”
    Charles Krauthammer

    “On Sept. 6, 2012, Obama boasted at the Democratic National Convention that “al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat.” Five days later, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists attacked two U.S. diplomatic compounds in Benghazi, Libya, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

    “On Jan. 7, 2014, Obama dismissed the Islamic State as the “JV” team in an interview with the New Yorker, adding that the rise of the Islamic State was not “a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.” That same month, the Islamic State began its march on Iraq, declaring a caliphate, burning people alive in cages and beheading Americans.

    Then on Thursday, Obama did it again, telling ABC News, “I don’t think [the Islamic State is] gaining strength” and promising “we have contained them.” The very next day, the Islamic State launched the worst attack on Paris since World War II, killing at least 132 people and wounding more than 350 others.

    How many times is this sad spectacle going to repeat itself?” – Marc A. Thiessen Washington Post

    “Democrats who debated in Iowa last night were very, very concerned about the Paris terror attacks and the growing evidence that ISIS—or Da’esh, as it is called in the region—has metastasized into a true global threat. Very concerned. Bernie Sanders even thought that this barbaric challenge to civilization should be “eliminated”…although it was not as great a threat as global warming, he allowed, which—hold on, here—causes terrorism. You know, droughts and floods set people in motion and…well, never mind.

    Indeed, political correctness makes it impossible for Democrats to face, head on, by name, the essential problem: the rise of Islamic radicalism—or jihadi-ism, as Hillary Clinton tried to call it (and almost succeeded). This is not just a word game.” – Joe Klein Time

    “The irony of those (Democrats) unwilling to call the threat of radical Islam by its name is that in endeavoring to be intelligent and understanding, in trying to avoid painting with “too broad a brush,” they are in reality betraying their ignorance or inability to grapple with the true nature of today’s foe

    Our leaders do us no service when they fail to recognize that the threat the so-called Islamic State and its allied terrorists represent is a civilizational not a geopolitical conflict, and can only be understood through that lens. The radicals who perpetrated the Charlie Hebdo attack were not motivated by Western Imperialism, but by members of a free society violating Islamic law.” – Daily Beast

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Memorial Day – May 30, 2016

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