Since 1945 Republicans have not won the popular vote unless national security was the primary issue. But security issues were virtually absent from the 2008 and 2012 elections. This gave victories to Barack Obama, the most anti-military president in American history. Fortunately, the prospects for 2016 are looking marginally better because Republicans are now actually focusing on the fact that an anti-military presidency has ominous consequences for the 300 million Americans whose safety is the primary responsibility of the commander-in-chief.
That said, there is much to be desired in the Republican message, which is tepid, diffuse and easily missed. When Politico wrote a story about the recent change in Republican strategy it was all about the shift away from the tax-cutting emphasis of recent years, rather than towards the national security issue.
So let me describe the reality we are actually facing, which is a necessary preface to the way the Republican Party should be framing its strategy and should be emphasizing the dangers of having a Democratic president like Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton – or for that matter a Democratic Congress – leading us in wartime.
I will leave out of this wartime equation the threats from Russia and China, which Obama and the Democrats have done so much to foster. I will focus only on the threat posed by Islamic jihadists, who at this moment can easily penetrate the borders that Obama and the Democrats have done so much to wreck. And carry with them chemical and biological weapons, and – if Iran builds the bombs which Obama the Democrats have made almost inevitable – nuclear weapons as well.
This is easily the greatest terrorist threat in our history, far greater than what transpired before and after 9/11. ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and other Islamic terrorist armies now control territory (and attendant resources) from Afghanistan through Iraq Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Somalia and other regions of Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Why has this happened? Because Obama and the Democrats have waged a ten-year war against the war on terror, against American military strength, against an American presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, and against the very idea that Islamic forces have declared war on us. For ten years Democrats have been determined to treat terrorists as individual criminals, arrest them and try them in American courts where they will have all the protections of the American legal system that they are seeking to destroy. So hostile has Obama been to the very notion of a “War on Terror” that he has purged the very term from the official government vocabulary and replaced it with “overseas contingency operations” which describes exactly nothing.
To create the power vacuum which Islamic jihadists have filled, Obama had to defy the advice of his Secretary of Defense and his intelligence advisers. He did this in part by absenting himself from nearly half his daily intelligence briefings, and in part by saying no to absolutely crucial measures that his military staff proposed for countering the threat from ISIS and other terrorist groups. Obama saw to it that America would relinquish its military base in Iraq (a country that strategically borders on Afghanistan, Syria and Iran) or to keep the 20,000 American troops stationed there as his Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs of Staff urged him to do.
Obama hated the Iraq War so much that he was willing to betray all the American soldiers who gave their lives to keep Iraq out of the clutches of Iran and safe from the terrorist threat. If Obama had just listened to the advice of his military staff, there would be no ISIS today. Obama’s deliberate, calculated surrender of Iraq (and soon Afghanistan) and failure to stop Syria’s Assad when he crossed Obama’s red line is the greatest and gravest dereliction of duty in the history of the American presidency.
And make no mistake, Obama was not alone. For ten years the Democrats have been sabotaging the war on terror, beginning with their disgraceful scorched earth campaign against President Bush and the War in Iraq and continuing with their full-throated cry for the abandonment of Iraq after Bush had won the peace and contained the terrorist threat. Their support for Obama’s appeasement of Iran and Hamas, his support for the Muslim Brotherhood, and his diplomatic assault on Israel, America’s only true ally in the Middle East, is not only a national disgrace but the heart of the crisis that is looming on the international horizon.
If Republicans fail to articulate the sources of this crisis, and specifically to indict Obama, Hillary and the Democrats for their betrayal of America’s interests and their failure to protect the American people then Republicans electoral prospects will be dim, and with them, their country’s future.
David Horowitz is the author of Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan For Defeating The Left (Regnery 2014)