The Republican candidates for president angrily demanded on Friday that the United States face up to a new world war, one that has breached its borders, threatened the safety of Americans and brought the menace of Islamic terrorism deep into the homeland.You know you're succeeding with your partisan memes when campaign journalists parrot them as if they're objective fact. Republicans succeed at that a lot. Here's what Barbaro and Gabriel say about Hillary Clinton:
With striking unanimity, they accused President Obama and his fellow Democrats of shrinking from a long-overdue assault on the Islamic State and its frighteningly effective tools of global recruitment....
“Our nation is under siege,” Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said at a cafe in rural Iowa. “What I believe we’re facing is the next world war. This is what we’re in right now, already.”
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seethed with disgust for Democrats, declaring, “This nation needs a wartime president.”
... Their language was almost apocalyptic. Jeb Bush described the looming threat of “Islamic terrorism that wants to destroy our way of life, wants to attack our freedom.”
He gravely added: “They have declared war on us. And we need to declare war on them.”
As the Republicans spoke of the deadly shooting by a Muslim husband and wife as a clarifying moment, Democrats seemed to offer a more muddled response....Oh, I see -- she "called for fighting 'terrorist networks' from the air and from the ground" but "spoke not of war." How does that work exactly? Oh, right -- I guess she called for aerial bombardment and boots on the ground but SHE DIDN'T SAY 'WAR'!!!1!1!1!1!" It's sort of like not saying "radical Islam" or "Islamic terrorism" or "Islamic extremism" or "radical Islamic terrorist extremism" or whatever magic phrase Republicans insist that Democrats utter to prove they're not appeasers. (Gabriel and Barbaro also retransmit Republican that talking point, saying that Clinton was "avoiding the phrase 'Islamic terrorism' and urging sensitivity toward Muslims" in Sioux City.)
In Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday, Hillary Clinton spoke not of war but of the need to ferret out “those folks who are on the Internet radicalizing people” and called for fighting “terrorist networks” from the air and from the ground, avoiding the phrase “Islamic terrorism” and urging sensitivity toward Muslims.
But on Thursday in the Times, Patrick Healy told us that voters on the trail seem to be looking for a tough candidate -- and Hillary qualifies:
With the Islamic State suddenly rivaling the economy as their top concern in recent polls, many voters are looking for wartime strategies from the 2016 presidential candidates. But after seven years of a cerebral President Obama, there is no denying that some also want a leader who radiates gutsiness and a take-charge resolve. Not simply the “strong leader” that pollsters ask about, but someone who makes them feel safe on a visceral level....Exactly what Gabriel and Barbaro said wasn't enough to make Clinton seem tough impresses Healy as a sign of her toughness.
[Donald] Trump and Hillary Clinton, and to a lesser extent Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, were the candidates most mentioned as likely to strike fear into the hearts of America’s adversaries during interviews with about 20 voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, which hold the first nominating contests in February.
“We need someone who understands that ISIS is 10 times more dangerous than Al Qaeda was,” said Dean Nason, a Republican in Wakefield, N.H. “Movie presidents make you feel good. Trump makes people feel good. And Hillary Clinton, she may have problems, but she knows how to survive.”
... While Mrs. Clinton denounced Mr. Trump last week for “trafficking in prejudice and paranoia,” she is calibrating her own gung-ho style of leadership to people’s insecurities.
She has proposed more aggressive actions in Syria -- like imposing a no-fly zone and ordering more airstrikes -- than Mr. Obama has taken. And while some voters see Mr. Obama as weak because he is unwilling to risk American troops and avoids blunt language like the Republican catchphrase “radical Islamic terrorism,” Mrs. Clinton is open to more Special Operations troops in Syria and has been using the phrase “radical jihadism” to try to counter the buzzwords of the right.
Well, if Hillary can impress some of the journos on the campaign trail with her "resolve," that's something.
It seems likely that terrorism is going to be one of the main issues of this election, so if we want to keep Trump, Cruz, or Rubio out of the Oval Office, given all the damage they can do in so many areas, it might be necessary to have a Democrat who's widely seen as bellicose as the nominee. You can tell me that the Democratic electorate will show up and guarantee defeat for the Republican no matter who the nominee is, the evidence being that Democrats have won the popular vote in four of the last five presidential elections, but the one recent presidential election Democrats didn't win was the one in which there was the greatest fear of terrorism. I don't want 2016 to be a repeat of 2004.
I think Democrats are going to need a candidate who inspires at least some journalists to write what Healy wrote on Thursday:
Many Democrats now say they believe that Mrs. Clinton would be a more formidable commander in chief than any of the men running in either party....So she may turn out to be the right nominee for the times -- and if it upsets you that I'm saying that, consider that the alternative will be a Republican president and GOP Congress who'll restrict abortion rights and voting rights, slash taxes on the rich, expand access to guns, gut Medicare and Social Security, repeal Obamacare, further deregulate Wall Street and the energy industry, deny human involvement in climate change, and fight every war we thought Hillary would fight, plus a couple more. "Lesser of two evils"? Yeah, a lot lesser.
“I get the sense that Hillary hates backing down, that she really believes in fighting, and I think our enemies would realize that she would make life harder for them,” said Darlene Nulk, a teacher and Democrat in Lee, N.H.
... In a poll released last week, Quinnipiac found that among Democrats, 94 percent saw Mrs. Clinton as a strong leader.