- - Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Donald Trump is a creature of the Republican establishment, and the establishment doesn’t know what to do about him. They’re adding two more debates to gain time to beat up the Donald, which is likelier only to give him more time and opportunity to thrive and prosper.

Mr. Trump says what nearly everybody thinks, but is too fearful or polite to say. He says it in a rough and coarse way, which deserves rebuke, but rebuke wouldn’t be necessary if other, housebroken politicians had the courage to say the things he says in a softer way.

Mr. Trump is correct that security problems lurk in admitting hundreds of thousands of largely unvetted Syrian refugees and economic migrants from the Middle East and South Asia. ISIS and other Islamic terrorist groups have infiltrated the waves of migrants, all welcomed by President Obama as if welcoming prospective Democratic voters.

By turning the issue into a stadium-rousing shouting match, Mr. Trump has made it difficult to examine this extraordinarily complex problem with serious and quiet consideration. He has joined those who argue that merely examining the Islamic origins and connections of the terrorist threat constitutes “Islamophobia.”

The elites won’t rebuke the president for his assertion, without any evidence, that there’s a backlash against innocent Muslims in our midst. There is no backlash against Muslims, beyond isolated incidents of bad manners, and the president knows it. America is a robust nation, and people say what they think. Newly arrived immigrants should get used to it. Earlier immigrants did, and prospered.

If the growing threat of homegrown, foreign-inspired and foreign-directed terrorism is to be dealt with successfully, its origins in radical Islam must be examined carefully. Muslims of good will, who know better than any outsider how the law-abiding Muslim becomes a deadly radical, must be enlisted for the long struggle.

Mr. Trump’s call to eliminate Muslim immigration is both wrong and wrong-headed. It violates the spirit of the Constitution; American law and tradition insists there can be no favorite religious faith, not even prevailing Christian belief and the customs of most Americans.

But that does not mean immigrants cannot be examined and those deemed unworthy told to go home. There is currently no effective way to properly examine all immigrants, a method to sort out authentic refugees from economic migrants and terrorist suspects. A “pause” until order can be imposed at the border may be necessary, and if necessary it needs no apology.

President Obama must share the responsibility for creating Donald Trump. He has refused to recognize the threat to the stability and culture of America that invites so many immigrants to come here. He calls out his fellow Americans as bigots and ignorant hayseeds because they want him to do what he won’t do. Thousands of Americans died on Sept. 11 and dozens have died since, none inspired by jeremiads in Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or other pulpits. Americans have noticed this even if their president has not.

Nov. 8, 2016, is still a long distance in the future, and the heat of the current “exchange of views” suggests that the debate will quicken with fire and no doubt brimstone. President Obama once thought of himself as peacemaker and uniter, and he could contribute to peace and order now if he finally accepts the job he was elected to, and abandons his position as disturber of the partisan peace.

The Republican elites should step up to the challenge of confronting the issues that terrify them, and quit trying to play a gentleman’s game by ladies’ rules.

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