Littwin: Tremble Republicans: Anti-Islam Trump is still soaring

The polls are in, and now we know for sure that Donald Trump didn’t go too far when calling for a moratorium on all Muslims entering the country.

Not unless you’re among those who think that the very idea of an un-American, unenforceable ban is bad for the country, not to mention the Republican Party.

But the polls, the polls …

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the Donald, it’s that, despite what Nate Silver might have taught us, polls are everything.

And in the latest New York Times/CBS News version, we learn two things: More Americans are worried about a terrorist attack than at any time since 9/11. And that that is good news for the Donald, whose campaign is based almost entirely on either anger or fear.

In a previous poll – before Paris, before San Bernardino —  only four percent listed terrorism as their major concern. Now, 19 percent do. And you thought Trump had finally gotten himself into real trouble. He was already on the anti-Muslim bandwagon, a natural successor to his cart-Mexican-immigrants/rapists-to-the-other-side-of-the-Trump-sized-wall bandwagon. Now he’s out there way in front, saying no more Muslims coming to America until we get this whole terrorist thing fixed. Otherwise, he says, there will be more World Trade Centers. And presumably – in TrumpWorld – more already-in-New Jersey Muslims celebrating.

The terrorist concern is hardly surprising. The math may suggest that you’re unlikely to ever be anywhere near a terrorist incident, but it’s hardly unreasonable to worry that someone will be, particularly if the partly homegrown terrorism in San Bernardino represents anything more than one disturbed couple with a giant arsenal.

But what is surprising – and more than unreasonable – is that 70 percent of Republicans say they believe Trump is suited to handle the situation. I’m serious. You have to ask yourself whether this is a Trump problem or a Republican problem. Just do the Google on what percentage of Republicans still think Obama is a Muslim, and that might help with the answer.

And then there’s this: In what world does a phony bid to ban all Muslims at the border – as if would-be terrorists would say, man, you got me, I’m as Muslim as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — show strength? And yet, as the would-be GOP strongman, Trump leads the Republican primary poll with 35 percent, more than double his nearest competitor. Remember when the predictions were that Trump would inevitably fade? Is the inevitability clock still running?

What’s also unsurprising — but doubly frightening to the Republican establishment – is that Ted Cruz is running second to Trump, with 16 percent. Yes, that Ted Cruz — the same Ted Cruz who, in jumping from the middle of the pack, has said that he opposed allowing Muslim refugees from Syria, but would happily welcome Syrian Christians.

And though Cruz does say he disagrees with Trump’s all-purpose moratorium — and, according to The Times, privately says he wonders about Trump’s judgment — he is on record saying it is time to “carpet-bomb” ISIS and apparently whoever else might be in the way and to see, in the process, whether we can make “the sand glow in the dark.” You gotta like the imagery, right?

The Times poll was conducted, in the main, before Trump’s border-patrol gambit. But if you were still thinking Trump might have gone overboard, there’s an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that was taken after Trump announced his plan and shows Republicans backing the policy by a 42-36 margin (although overall, it’s 57-25 against, meaning you can breathe out).

I’ll confess I don’t necessarily trust these polls. It’s not as if everyone being polled on the Republican side has thought through the ramifications of Trump-speak — both the un-American aspect and the obvious point that the anti-Muslim rhetoric would only assist ISIS recruiting. And if history is any guide, early polls – and mid-December is apparently on the outer edge of early — aren’t any guide at all. Which isn’t to say that Republican leaders aren’t in full panic that Trump might actually win, and, if he doesn’t, that he might run as an independent. If either happens, they’re sunk.

And we are in a tricky place just now. All at once, the culture wars are blazing on so many fronts — religion, guns, abortion, terrorism — and Trump is the leading voice for one of our major parties. But if it’s a tricky time, it’s also a perfect time for a Republican debate, and the next one happens to be this coming Tuesday. It will have been more than a month since the last debate, and it seems as if the whole world has changed in the meantime, if you don’t count the fact that Trump was leading in the polls then and he’s leading now.

The war against ISIS and terrorism at home will be at the center of the debate, as will, of course, Trump and his plan. It’s pretty clear where most Republican leaders stand, but that would hardly worry Trump. Paul Ryan has ripped the ban. Even Dick Cheney has ripped it. Most of the people set to share the stage with Trump have criticized it. It’s almost, as the Donald might say, as if they’d never seen a poll.


Photo credit: Sara, Creative Commons, Flickr.


  1. “The math may suggest that you’re unlikely to ever be anywhere near a terrorist incident, but it’s hardly unreasonable to worry that someone will be, particularly if the partly homegrown terrorism in San Bernardino represents anything more than one disturbed couple with a giant arsenal.” Mike Littwin

    The slender thread connecting Mr. Littwin to reality has apparently broken.

    He wants to downplay the threat of terrorism because the “math suggests” you’re unlikely to be affected.

    Even worse, he now wants readers to believe that the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11 represents little more than the act of “one disturbed couple with a giant arsenal.”

    You can’t make this stuff up!

    Nothing to see here, folks. Just a “disturbed couple with a giant arsenal” and a twisted desire to kill innocent Americans at a Christmas party. Really? Is that all it was?

    For the family and friends of the 14 Americans who were killed and the 21 Americans who were wounded by the Islamist extremists in San Bernardino it was much, much more than that.

    But signs that the slender thread connecting Mr. Littwin to the real world had been unraveling were apparent for a while.

    For example: Mr. Littwin has written only one column on the San Bernardino massacre—as compared to three columns in five days on the tragedy in Colorado Springs—and in that sole column failed to mention:

    – the names of those thought responsible: Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.

    – that Tashfeen Malik is a Pakistan national

    – that receiving the K-1 visa required Pakistan national Tashfeen Malik to be vetted by a process described by Mr. Littwin as “major” and “rigorous.

    – that Jihadism or Islamist extremism may be involved

    Worse yet, he failed to express any sympathy for the 35 victims of the San Bernardino massacre, 14 of whom died. Do politics trump ordinary sympathy?

    In fact, in that one solitary column on the terrorist attack on San Bernardino, Mr. Littwin seemed more interested in changing the subject. He talked about gun violence, Syrian refugees, the NRA, an amendment that would not have stopped the terrorist attack, Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and anything but the massacre carried out by an Islamist extremist couple that killed 14 and wounded 21 Americans.

    Of course, we know now why he so desperately wanted to talk about something else. Anything else.

    And the news continues to get worse for Mr. Littwin who recently mocked as an “anti-Syrian-refugee bill” a bipartisan Congressional effort to further tighten the vetting process .

    This from the New York Times:

    “Ms. Malik faced three extensive national security and criminal background screenings. First, Homeland Security officials checked her name against American law enforcement and national security databases. Then, her visa application went to the State Department, which checked her fingerprints against other databases. Finally, after coming to the United States and formally marrying Mr. Farook here, she applied for her green card and received another round of criminal and security checks.

    Ms. Malik also had two in-person interviews, federal officials said, the first by a consular officer in Pakistan, and the second by an immigration officer in the United States when she applied for her green card.

    All those reviews came back clear, and the F.B.I. has said it had no incriminating information about Ms. Malik or Mr. Farook in its databases.”

    Islamist extremist Tashfeen Malik was cleared by a vetting process described and defended by Mr. Littwin as “rigorous” and “major”.

    He has yet to write a follow-up San Bernardino column and in the face of recently uncovered facts is unlikely to.

    “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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