The front page of Saturday's New York Times, next to the paper's already infamous front-page gun-control editorial, claimed that "Shootings in California Reshape the Campaigns." The language used by reporters Michael Barbaro and Trip Gabriel was quite revealing. See how the Republican presidential candidates "angrily demanded...[rode a] rising tide of bellicosity... seethed with disgust for Democrats...Their language was almost apocalyptic..." Meanwhile they missed the "nuance" of Democratic gun-control proposals. And the paper's religion reporter Laurie Goodstein seemed to fear "Islamophobia" more than Islamic terrorism, though FBI stats show that anti-Semitic attacks are far more common.
From Saturday's front-page report by Barbaro and Gabriel:
The Republican candidates for president angrily demanded on Friday that the United States face up to a new world war, one that has breached its borders, threatened the safety of Americans and brought the menace of Islamic terrorism deep into the homeland.With striking unanimity, they accused President Obama and his fellow Democrats of shrinking from a long-overdue assault on the Islamic State and its frighteningly effective tools of global recruitment.
The rising tide of bellicosity gripped the Republican presidential field, as the initial restraint and calls for prayers that followed the shootings gave way to revelations that the massacre may have been inspired by the Islamic State.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seethed with disgust for Democrats, declaring, “This nation needs a wartime president.”
“Whether or not the current administration realizes it, or is willing to acknowledge it,” he added, “our enemies are at war with us.”
Their language was almost apocalyptic. Jeb Bush described the looming threat of “Islamic terrorism that wants to destroy our way of life, wants to attack our freedom.”
That, too, was the focus of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who on Friday clamored for expanded background checks and the closure of gun-purchasing loopholes.
Republicans showed little patience for such nuance. In Greenland, N.H., Senator Marco Rubio of Florida mocked the president and the Democratic candidates.
“Forty-eight hours after this is over they’re still out there talking about gun control measures,” Mr. Rubio said, evoking the terror attacks in Paris three weeks ago. “As if somehow terrorists care about what our gun laws are. France has some of the strictest gun laws in the world and they have no problem acquiring an arsenal to kill people.”
For all the heated expressions from Republicans, there emerged no real detailed consensus among them about how to destroy the Islamic State or stop it from inspiring future adherents in the United States.
They favored symbolism over specific policy prescriptions. Mr. Cruz on Friday appeared at a shooting range in Johnston, Iowa, emphasizing Americans’ right to bear arms in these newly dangerous times.
Only hours after news broke that a suspect in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., had a Muslim name, the well-practiced organizations that represent American Muslims to the broader public kicked into action, as they routinely do after each terrorist attack attributed to Muslim extremists.
They issued news releases condemning the attacks as inhuman and un-Islamic, posted expressions of grief on Facebook and held news conferences in which Muslim leaders stood flanked by American flags alongside clergy of other faiths and law enforcement officials.