Obama to address Americans from the Oval Office tonight
For only the third time in his presidency, Barack Obama will commandeer the airwaves for an address to the American people directly from the Oval Office. I have to assume that Valerie Jarrett has become alarmed at the public reaction the his feckless response to the San Bernardino shootings, attempting to deny terrorism on the part of a couple one of whom posted her allegiance to ISIS.
So what will he say? Predictions are always risky, of course, so let me outline some of the alternatives he could choose from and assess their probability.
Alternative 1: Admit he underestimated the threat
He could start by admitting that ISIS is not a jayvee threat, and then note that by reaching within our border to slaughter innocents, they are indeed a mortal threat to as many Americans as can be reached by radicalized Muslims, present and future.
Probability: almost zero. Has anyone ever heard Obama utter the words “I was wrong”?
Alternative 2: Triple down on gun control
He could blame the San Bernardino attack on the ability of the weaponized Muslims to buy firearms. This would require studiously ignoring their pipe bombs that were not yet detonated at the time of their killing. He could announce executive actions to lmit the ability of law-abiding Americans to acquire scary-looking weapons that might be useful if attacked by radicalized Muslims.
Probability: highly likely. Gun control fires up the Democrat donor base, and as a man who loves the sound of his voice to begin with, words like “assault weapons” and “access” make for perfect harmony.
Alternative 3: Announce more
boots on the ground special operators in Syria and Iraq
This actually makes sense, but still has a chance. Special Forces are wildly popular and could guide bombing operations to enhance their effectiveness, cutting crucial supply lines, including the flow of petroleum that feeds the ISIS cash flow. Now that Ash Carter has announced that women will be permitted in all combat roles, Obama has the opportunity to salute the “brave men and women” of our Special Forces, bringing popularity and support from the feminists, normally not that concerned about Islamists that mutilate, rape and suppress women whertever they gain control.
Probability: reasonably high.
Alternative 4: Tout the “growing coalition” his leadership has mobilized to fight ISIS.
Frau Merkel’s government has announced that it is joining the fight against ISIS. Not actually fighting, of course, but conducing reconnaissance and other support functions. Good enough for Obama to claim a historic first.
Probability: pretty high
Alternative 5: Announce a crackdown on domestic supporters of ISIS and jihad and a suspension of Muslim immigration
OK, it is a theoretical possibility. An actual possibility after January 2017.