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“This is not a subject on which ‘Obama the explainer of Islam’ wants to opine,” says Commentary magazine’s Jennifer Rubin.

“He either agrees with the finger-wagging left - certainly, it’s precisely the sort of thing the Cairo-speech author would cheer - which would cement the public’s sense that he is not on the same wave length (planet?) as the rest of us, or he agrees with those whom the left vilifies,” she continues. “[I]n which case, down-in-dumps liberals would be depressed to an even greater degree than they already are. So Obama takes the courageous route and votes ‘present’ - that is, ‘no comment.’ “

Ms. Rubin adds, “It’s no surprise that a president soaked in the juices of the left should find himself sidelined when the issue is squarely presented: is American civilization worth defending? The question seems too hard or too politically inconvenient for the commander in chief and current leader of the Free World to answer.”

FOR THE LEXICON

There’s a new name for political, religious or ethnic extremists: “fused” people. They have extremely strong ties to their countries or groups and are both willing and eager to sacrifice themselves to save their compatriots, says new research from the University of Texas at Austin.

Psychology professor Bill Swann found the majority of fused people - those who view themselves as completely immersed in a group - would commit extreme acts for the cause: 75 percent, in fact, are wiling to “jump to their deaths,” he found.

“Fused group members believe that through suicide, their lives will achieve tremendous significance. Their strong sense of moral urgency drives them to see not only that justice is done, but to also take an active role in its implementation,” Mr. Swann says.

“In an era in which the act of sacrificing one’s own life for the group has had world-altering consequences, it is critical to learn more about the psychological underpinnings of such activity.

POLL DU JOUR

  • 77 percent of Americans say a nuclear arsenal is important to national security.
  • 15 percent say nuclear weapons are not important to our security.
  • 57 percent say the U.S. should not reduce the number of nuclear weapons in its arsenal.
  • 27 percent say the nation should reduce the number of nuclear weapons.
  • 55 percent say it is unlikely that other countries will reduce their nuclear arsenals.
  • 46 percent say the U.S. should continue developing new nuclear weapons.
  • 31 percent say development should be halted; 24 percent are undecided.

Source: A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults conducted Aug. 8-9.

Tipline always open at jharper@washingtontimes.com. Follow her at twitter.com/harperbulletin.