That’s what Ron Fournier would like to know.
After dismissing ISIS as al-Qaida’s “JV” team last fall, the president has awakened to the bloodcurdling threat. Last week, he ordered air strikes and air drops in northern Iraq to prevent genocide and to protect U.S. assets. The CIA is reportedly arming Kurds to fight the emerging Islamic state. The world is focused on whether the United States needs to do more, despite the reluctance of Obama and most Americans to recommit troops.
But I can’t shake another, darker, question. What if we get hit again with a 9/11-sized attack?More to the point, hypothetically, would a crisis pull us together or drive us apart? It’s a morbid question worth asking before the worst happens, because there’s reason to worry about the durability of what Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”
Fournier goes on to note that we’re more divided now than we were in 2001, that Bush and the GOP had a strategy to “defang” Democrats who criticized him after 9-11 (but Fournier does not explore what, if any, strategy the Democrats might have deployed to “defang” then then very popular Bush), and so forth.
The one player who all but escapes Fournier’s attentions is, incredibly, Barack Obama — the man who would have to do the rallying if we got hit again. Fournier devotes one paragraph — the following one — to Obama’s six years in the presidency.
Third, the Obama White House has proved to be self-generous and ruthless in its defense. When critics said his refusal to aid Syrian rebels helped embolden ISIS, Obama tartly called the analysis a “fantasy.” But it wasn’t just Republicans who made the case against him. Obama’s former secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, warmed up for a potential presidential bid by calling the Syria policy a failure.
The Obama White House, and Obama himself, has gone much farther than that. It began by running a DHS study positing that veterans and small-government activists might be terrorist threats. It moved from there to dividing the country neatly over its handling of Obamacare, and then added to the divisions by using Obamacare’s regulations to create the “war on women.” Along the way, Obama has told Hispanic voters to “punish” their “enemies,” by which Obama meant anyone who disagrees with him on immigration.
When his administration got caught in the IRS scandal, Obama at first expressed outrage, while fake-firing the acting IRS commissioner, and then declared the scandal “phony.”
Just this past weekend, as chaos erupts all over the world, Obama proffered that the greatest threat to America is conservative Republicans. The president continues to golf while the border is overwhelmed, and despite the administration’s rhetoric, not all of those who are crossing the border illegally are kids. The majority are teenagers and adults, and some of them have strong gang ties.
After six years of behaving in an intentionally, usually dishonestly, divisive fashion, yes, Barack Obama would have a very hard time rallying the country if any crisis struck.
That’s not necessarily the fault of the American people. Well, other than being the fault of those who elected Obama. Barack Obama is and always was a divisive and polarizing figure, because of the choices he has made and continues to make. And going by how he continues to behave, being divisive is exactly what he wants. He could stop saying divisive things anytime he wants to.
The United States is perfectly set up right now for a disastrous attack. The border is all but erased. Our military is being cut to the bone. ISIS is on the march, and nothing would be a finer coup for them than staging an attack here, while Obama continues to be his divisive self and while he continues to insist that no matter what, American troops will not be going back to combat in Iraq.
If they attacked us here, now, Obama would have to break a promise just to counter attack. He doesn’t seem to have any trouble breaking promises, but he would find it difficult to rally the country on a premise of “I was wrong” or “It’s somebody else’s fault.” In fact, he is never even going to utter the first of those. The second comes as naturally to him as breathing, but it’s hardly the stuff of pep rallies.
Some of us would rally anyway, because the nation’s defense is our first concern. But Barack Obama would find himself on extremely weak footing overall, because of the choices he has made and continues to make.
Chickens, roost, you know the rest.