"We have an extraordinarily successful, patriotic, integrated Muslim-American community," Obama said. "They do not feel ghettoized, they do not feel isolated." "Any approach that would target them for discrimination is not only wrong and un-American, but counter-productive," he said.
Of all the domestic political reactions to yesterday's deadly terrorism in Brussels, Ted Cruz's rhetoric stood out as uniquely misguided. The Republican presidential hopeful said he would, among other things, respond to the attacks by empowering law enforcement to "patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods" in the United States.
The intention of the discriminatory policies, Cruz said, would to be prevent radicalization, though the effect would likely be the opposite.
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The president, referencing the historic visit to Cuba that he wrapped up yesterday, added, "As far as the notion of having surveillance of neighborhoods where Muslims are present, I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance -- which, by the way, the father of Sen. Cruz escaped for America, the land of the free. The notion that we would start down that slippery slope makes absolutely no sense. It's contrary to who we are."
Just to twist the knife a bit, Obama has also apparently heard about Cruz's plan to "carpet bomb" ISIS targets in Syria -- a phrase the senator has used more than once, though he apparently doesn't know what it means.
"What we don't do, and what we should not do, is take approaches that are going to be counterproductive," the president said today. "So when I hear somebody saying we should 'carpet bomb' Iraq or Syria, not only is that inhumane, not only is that contrary to our values, but that would likely be an extraordinary mechanism for [ISIS] to recruit more people willing to die and explode bombs in an airport or in a metro station. That's not a smart strategy."
I can't help but wonder whether or not Cruz knows how foolish his rhetoric is. It's possible he recognizes how ridiculous his pronouncements are -- the senator may say absurd things because he expects voters will like it -- and as president, he'd be far more responsible. It's also possible Cruz actually believes his own nonsense.
We may never know for sure whether the Texas Republican is foolish or whether he simply believes the rest of us are foolish, but I believe it's one or the other.