Moral clarity seems to be in short supply within the Obama administration. Following the simultaneous terrorist attacks at Charlie Hebdo's editorial offices and a kosher deli, the White House failed to send a high-level American representative to a powerfully defiant march through the streets of Paris the following weekend. Team Obama later conceded this was an error, admitting that they didn't realize the protest was going to be such a big deal. It turned out that the administration hadn't even given preliminary consideration the president's attendance; the Attorney General was in France that day, but declined to attend the march, citing dubious scheduling conflicts. Last week, the president set off a firestorm of criticism by admonishing Christians at the annual National Prayer Breakfast not to ride a "high horse" regarding ISIS because terrible acts had also been carried out in the name of Christianity in the past. Jonah Goldberg -- not a Christian, I might add -- dissected Obama's facile comments in a very strong column. Even some prominent lefties felt compelled to knock the president for his tone deaf and strange moral equivalency -- in which he refused to identify ISIS with Islam, but happily pinned last sins on people purporting to act in the name of Christ. The fiction that radical Islamists having nothing to do with Islam is a recurring, politically-correct theme within administration talking points. Then came Obama's propaganda session with the liberal blog Vox, in which the president characterized terrorists' decision to target a Kosher deli as "random:"
This inelegant description could have been dismissed as a slip of the tongue, but the White House and State Department are doubling down, arguing that patrons of a Jewish deli weren't targeted on purpose. The victims "were killed not because of who they were, but because where they randomly happened to be," Josh Earnest said with a straight face today:
He followed up with the non-sequitur that those murdered weren't selected "by name." The State Department's Jen Psaki regurgitated the party line, performing parsing torture on her answers. When asked if the Kosher deli was chosen by flaming, murderous anti-Semites because of the incandescently obvious Jewish connection, Psaki declined to "speak on behalf of French authorities," or something:
Bizarre, useless moral confusion and evasion. Of course this was an anti-Semitic attack. Of course anti-Semitism is a huge problem within Muslim communities, both in the Middle East and throughout Europe. What is the purpose of American authorities dancing around those realities? The administration seems so fixated on promulgating the fairy tale that Islamist radicalism is entirely divorced from Islam that they're willing to make fools of themselves in doing so. Yair Rosenberg points out that Obama actually has labeled this attack an act of anti-Semitic in the recent past, so at least part of this ridiculous spectacle is an effort to rescue Obama from a potentially damaging rhetorical slip-up a la ISIS-as-a-JV-squad. I'll leave you with two entirely random observations: (1) More Democrats are announcing their intention to skip Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address to Congress next month, despite their professions of support for Israel and a backdrop of growing fears over Iran's nuclear program and rising global anti-Semitism. By the way, the White House's "blindsided!" excuse for freaking out over the speech has fallen apart. Netanyahu defends accepting the invitation HERE. (2) In the same press conference, Josh Earnest affirmed that President Obama believes climate change poses a greater risk to the American people than terrorists. Just think of the environmental impact of this:
UPDATE - Walking back an unforced error:
We have always been clear that the attack on the kosher grocery store was an anti-semitic attack that took the lives of innocent people.— Jen Psaki (@statedeptspox) February 10, 2015