A new ad from the Democratic National Committee attacks Republican presidential candidates for using the term “radical Islam.” Entitled “Inciting fear isn’t presidential,” the ad argues that the use of the term is offensive to Muslims.
I’ve seen my share of nasty, bizarre, and over-the-top political ads. But this may be the first that I can honestly say is just plain stupid.
To begin with, the ad is horribly tone-deaf. I don’t doubt that the decision-makers in the Democratic Party are horrified by the phrase “radical Islam.” But a new poll released today on the issue found that a supermajority of Americans agree that the United States is at war with radical Islam, including 56% of Democratic voters. Only 24% of the country agrees with the president. So right off the bat, the Democratic Party is attacking Republicans for a stance their own voters agree with.
But of course, the ad attacked Republicans for just saying “radical Islam,” not saying we’re at war with it. Well, 92% of Americans also say “radical Islamic terrorism” is a serious threat to the United States. But hey, at least the DNC is making inroads with that 8%.
To say nothing of the timing behind the ad. Literally any other time of the year, voters might have just rolled their eyes at the unbearable PC-ness of it all. But the DNC ad comes after a series of major terrorist attacks across the globe… and after President Barack Obama gave a speech in response that left the impression that he was more fired up about attacking his domestic critics than taking on ISIS. To attack Republicans for “inciting fear” about radical Islam in the wake of nonstop news about radical Islamic terror is just an unbelievable misfire.
But setting aside the politics of it all, the ad is simply insulting to the American voter’s intelligence. “Equating Islam, all Muslims, with terrorists is oversimplification and wrong,” the ad reads as somber music plays.
I think we can all agree that’s true. But in all the clips of Republican candidates that the ad shows, they never once say that the religion of Islam is the enemy, or that “all Muslims” are terrorists. They’re literally just saying the words “radical Islam,” “radical Muslims” and “radical Islamic terrorism.”
The inference the DNC appears to making here is astonishing. To even allude to the fact that radical Islam exists is now “equating Islam, all Muslims, with terrorists”? Even the most politically correct among us would roll their eyes at that notion.
I’m going to go ahead and assume that the Democrats are being intentionally dishonest, because the alternative is that they are incapable of intelligent thought. The fact of the matter is that most Republicans, most Democrats, and indeed most Muslims are capable of understanding and believing two separate ideas, neither of which conflict:
- There are billions of Muslims in the world, the vast majority of which are peaceful, ordinary people and of no threat to the United States.
- There exists a fringe element of the Islamic religion that is oppressive and often violent, and many of its adherents have openly declared war on Western Civilization itself.
To treat the latter statement as a denial of the former isn’t just manifestly unfair, it’s throwing logic itself out the window.
What really irks me is that it would be soooo much easier to cut this ad using actually offensive statements about American Muslims from Republican candidates. But then it would just be an attack ad on Donald Trump, with a brief cameo from Ben Carson. In order to tar every Republican, the DNC overstepped and declared nearly every American a bigot.
To which this conservative says: I hope to see more ads like this from the DNC in future.
[Image via screengrab]
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This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.