Obama Goes Full Pogo

In a private meeting Wednesday (2/4), closed to the press, President Obama met with prominent U.S. Muslims. Did the president point out forcibly that it was important for the U.S. Muslim community to come out strongly against ISIS and against militant terrorist Islam? No. Based on what information could be obtained, the president focused on the tendency of ignorant U.S. citizens to use the heinous, genocidal terrorist acts of ISIS and “lone wolf” terrorist attacks to indulge in bigotry against Muslims in general. The real problem facing the U.S. is protecting American Muslims from “backlash.” The president reiterated that his administration was committed to “safeguarding civil rights through hate crimes prosecutions and civil enforcement actions.” And now we learn that the Countering Violent Extremism Conference later this month will focus on "home-grown (Islamic) extremists."

At the National Prayer Breakfast (2/5) President Obama again got the chance to channel his inner Pogo and he made the most of it:

Unless we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

And here is Governor Jindal’s response to the President's self-righteous PC pieties of self-blame:

It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast. Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.

One can only conjure up visions of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza (Kerry) tilting at the demons of the 12th century. Governor Jindal’s rejoinder is a brilliant putdown of the president’s bizarre belief that public displays of remorse for the evils of the Western world will somehow mollify and make chums out of hardcore ideological adversaries. Even the NYT editorial writer, Ross Douthat, makes the same point:

The second problem is that self-criticism doesn’t necessarily serve the cause of foreign policy outreach quite as well as Obama once seemed to believe it would. Early in his administration, especially around his 2009 speech in Cairo, there was a sense that showing Muslims that an American president understood their grievances would help expand our country’s options in the Middle East. But no obvious foreign policy benefit emerged, and since then Obama’s displays of public angst over, say, drone strikes have mostly seemed like an exercise in self-justification, intended for an audience of one. (Meanwhile, our actual enemies can pocket his rhetorical concessions: The alleged relevance of the Crusades to modern politics, for instance, has long been one of Al Qaeda’s favorite tropes.)

It is not violent terrorist states and organizations and their “bankrupt” ideology or Iran’s growing nuclear power that are the real threat -- the Obama administration with their policy of “strategic patience” has all that under control. The real problem is to stem Christian extremism in the U.S. while heading off a domestic backlash against mainstream Islam over atrocities committed by the Islamic State. Pogo would be proud. Or maybe not.