epublicans have stepped up their criticism of President Obama's anti-terrorism policies in recent weeks, saying it could be a winning issue for them in November congressional elections. In his State of the Union address, Obama said it was time to "put aside schoolyard taunts about who’s tough," and that his administration was busy plugging security holes exposed by the failed Christmas airline bombing attempt. Is Obama making Americans safer? (Watch Sen. Susan Collins say that Obama has a terrorism "blind spot")
Americans want protection, but Obama is "tone deaf" on terrorism: Almost nothing Obama does about terrorism "makes me feel safer," says Richard Cohen in The Washington Post, from guaranteeing captured terrorists they won't be waterboarded to reading terror suspects their rights. Obama needs to "wake up" and recognize that "the ultimate civil liberty is a sense of security."
"Obama administration is tone-deaf to concerns about terrorism"
The real threat to America isn't terrorism. It's fear: Obama's handling terrorism well, says Adam Serwer in The American Prospect. It's the "teeth-chattering" of Richard Cohen and other "elite opinion makers" that's really scary. If they have their way, we'll "disregard all the freedoms that make America what it is in order to make them feel 'safe.'"
"Richard Cohen begs for Fascism"
Even liberals are questioning Obama: You know President Obama's in trouble, says Jennifer Rubin in Commentary, when not even a "generally sympathetic liberal columnist" like Richard Cohen "buys the hooey that the administration didn't 'lose anything' when it Mirandized the Christmas Day bomber." Obama will have to reverse his approach fast or permanently lose "the trust of not just pundits but the vast majority of voters."
"Cohen vs. Obama"
Take Cohen's alarm with a grain of salt: Richard Cohen's fear is nothing new -- he's a "habitual pants wetter," says Nick Gillespie in Reason. But if the only thing he cares about is "the message sent to Americans themselves," he should "call for longer airport wait lines and other aspects of security theater that may or may not enhance safety but will make us all feel more secure."
"Terrorism and civil liberties"
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