When the New Yorker published the gospel according to David (Remnick), approximately part XIX, this past January, Remnick quoted his lord and savior’s assessment of jihadist groups “in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria” and “in parts of Africa.” (Here I am borrowing from Hunter Walker’s summary at Business Insider.)
“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”
Obama’s assessment of ISIS as the junior varsity of terrorism has become the subject of mockery as events have dramatically demonstrated its stupidity. Indeed, it has become notorious for its superficially sophisticated fatuity. White House flack Josh Earnest therefore sought to explicate Obama’s remarks at a press briefing today:
PETER ALEXANDER, NBC: Did the president underestimate ISIS when he referred to them in an interview only a couple months ago as a JV squad and making a reference to National Basketball Association basketball teams like the Lakers?
JOSH EARNEST, WHITE HOUSE: I thought somebody might ask this question today so I wanted to pull the transcript of the interview because it’s important to understand the context in which this was delivered. So let me just read the full quote and then we can talk about it: “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”o the president was not singling out ISIL, he was talking about the very different threat that is posed by a range of extremists around the globe. Many of them do not have designs on attacking the West or attacking the United States, and that is what puts them in stark contrast to the goals and capability of the previously existing al Qaeda core network that was led by Osama bin Laden.
Better? It’s actually more of a reiteration than a clarification. Even the earnest Mr. Earnest had difficulty keeping a straight face (video below).
UPDATE: Pete Wehner demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that Earnest was simply not telling the truth.