'George W. Bush was right': Democrats find unlikely ally to counter Republicans

WASHINGTON -- Taunted by Republicans to declare war on "radical Islamic terrorism," Democrats are turning to an unlikely ally: George W.

See Full Article

Bush.

President Barack Obama, under pressure to be more aggressive on terrorism, regularly cites his predecessor's refusal to demonize Muslims or play into the notion of a clash between Islam and the West. It's a striking endorsement from a president whose political rise was based on opposition to the Iraq war and Bush's hawkish approach in the Middle East.

As Hillary Clinton put it, "George W. Bush was right."

Clinton reminded voters earlier this month of Bush's visit to a Muslim centre six days after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001. She even quoted his words from that day about those who intimidate Muslim-Americans: "They represent the worst of humankind, and they should be ashamed of that kind of behaviour."

Leading Republican candidate Donald Trump has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the U.S. Fellow candidate Ben Carson deems traditional Muslims unfit for the presidency. Marco Rubio warns of a "civilizational struggle against radical, apocalyptic Islam." Ted Cruz berates Clinton and Obama for refusing to declare war on "radical Islamic terrorism."

Clinton and Obama argue that rhetoric just helps the Islamic State group and like-minded extremists, whose recruitment pitch is based on the narrative of an apocalyptic battle between Islam and the West. The Democrats warned that proposals like Trump's Muslim ban jeopardize national security, drawing a contrast with Bush.

"I was very proud after 9-11 when he was adamant and clear about the fact that this is not a war on Islam," Obama said recently. His message to today's Republican leaders: "They should follow his example. It was the right one. It was the right impulse."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton's top challenger for the Democratic nomination, visited a mosque this month in a show of solidarity that evoked Bush's after 9-11. And the Democratic National Committee released an ad contrasting comments by the 2016 Republican contenders with footage of Bush declaring that "Islam is peace."

Bush's example has become particularly poignant for Democrats following recent attacks in Paris and California that have left people more preoccupied with terrorism than at any time since 9-11. Both Clinton and Obama have sought to deflect the critique that they're too soft on the domestic terrorism threat.

Not all Republican candidates have been as harsh about Muslims as Trump has been. Jeb Bush has joined his challengers in describing the enemy as "radical Islamic terrorism." But he's also said the U.S. should follow his brother's lead, arguing in the last party debate that "we can't dissociate ourselves from peace-loving Muslims."

The former president has stayed mostly silent throughout the recent debate. His spokesman, Freddy Ford, recently said Bush wouldn't comment on "Trump's bluster" but repeated Bush's insistence that "true Islam is peaceful." Ford declined to discuss what Bush thinks about Democrats quoting him now.

Muslim groups have called on Obama to follow Bush's example by visiting a mosque, a move that would be risky for a president who has faced longstanding but false claims that he is a Muslim. White House officials didn't rule out the possibility Obama would visit a mosque, but said there were no imminent plans to do so.

"Bush sent a very powerful message to the world and American Muslims that backlash and attacks on this faith community will not be tolerated," said Ibrahim Cooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. "We would hope President Obama would make a similar gesture."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Jail for man who bit off part of fellow mourner's nose at drunken wake

    Canada News CTV News
    PICTOU, N.S. -- A Nova Scotia man convicted of biting off part of a fellow mourner's nose in a drunken brawl at a wake has been sentenced to six months in jail. Randall Edwin MacLean was convicted of aggravated assault last October. Source
  • 'A feral cat is better off dead'; Hunter blasted over his war on felines

    World News Toronto Sun
    Sam Wood has been a proponent of hunting and killing invasive species, such as wild hogs, that can threaten the native ecosystems for years. His Facebook page is filled with photos showing the 48-year-old outdoorsman taking down sparrows and starlings, pigeons and rats. Source
  • Zoo: Live video of giraffe giving birth was labelled explicit

    World News Toronto Sun
    HARPURSVILLE, N.Y. - The owner of a New York zoo planning to live-stream a giraffe giving birth says the video feed was briefly removed from YouTube because animal rights activists labelled it sexually explicit. Animal Adventure Park started streaming video Wednesday of 15-year-old April in her enclosed pen at the zoo in Harpursville, 130 miles northwest of New York City. Source
  • South Korea blasting news of Kim Jong Nam's death across border

    World News Toronto Sun
    Hey, North Korea, have you heard the news? In case anyone from Kim Jong Un’s hermit nation hasn’t heard that Kim Jong Nam, the exiled half-brother of the despot, had been whacked, South Korea is making sure the news travels north. Source
  • Off-duty LAPD officer's fight with teens sets off protests

    World News CTV News
    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- An off-duty California officer who didn't want teens walking across his lawn fired his gun during a struggle with a 13-year-old boy and other youths, igniting unruly protests after video of the fight surfaced and two boys were arrested. Source
  • Conservative activist James O'Keefe has tapes accusing CNN of misrepresenting polling data

    World News Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK - Conservative activist James O’Keefe has released what he says are 119 hours of raw audio secretly recorded inside CNN’s Atlanta headquarters in 2009. The audio was recorded by what O’Keefe’s website, Project Veritas, describes as an anonymous source identified only as “Miss X. Source
  • Two-storey playhouse on the line in Calgary dad's bylaw appeal

    Canada News CTV News
    A Calgary father is worried he'll be forced to tear down a $5,000 play structure he built for his kids, less than a year after the city assured him it would be OK to build it. Source
  • Australian man jailed after beating kangaroo to death

    World News Toronto Sun
    Beating a kangaroo to death with a metal pole will cost one Australian man nearly a year of freedom. Craig House was jailed for 11 months after pleading guilty to the disgusting attack, even though he wasn’t the one to bash the ‘roo, according to Metro U.K. Source
  • Malaysia: North Korea embassy should assist about death of leader's exiled half brother Kim Jong Nam [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Malaysia’s police chief said Thursday investigators want to question a North Korean embassy official about the death of the exiled half brother of Pyongyang’s leader, saying he should co-operate if he has nothing to hide despite having diplomatic immunity. Source
  • Toronto police probing alleged anti-Muslim protest outside mosque

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police say they're investigating a complaint about a small anti-Muslim protest held outside a city mosque last week. Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu says police received a complaint this week about the incident, which took place last Friday. Source