In his interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press this past Sunday (transcript here), President Obama responded to a question regarding his notorious characterization of ISIS as the terrorist JV (i.e., junior varsity):
CHUCK TODD: Long way, long way from when you described them as a JV team.
PRES. OBAMA: Well, I–
CHUCK TODD: Was that bad intelligence or your misjudgment?
PRES. OBAMA: Keep– keep– keep in mind I wasn’t specifically referring to ISIL. I’ve said that, regionally, there were a whole series of organizations that were focused primarily locally. Weren’t focused on homeland, because I think a lot of us, when we think about terrorism, the model is Osama bin Laden and 9/11. And the point that I was–
CHUCK TODD: You don’t believe these people–
PRES. OBAMA: Not yet. But they– they can evolve. And I was very specific at that time. What I said was, not every regional terrorist organization is automatically a threat to us that would call for a major offensive. Our goal should not be to think that we can occupy every country where there’s a terrorist organization.
The video of this exchange is below.
Obama to the contrary notwithstanding, Obama characterized ISIS as the terrorist JV team in his interview with the New Yorker editor and Obama apostle David Remnick. The apostle David served up the gospel of his lord and savior in “Going the Distance.” When White House flack Josh Earnest first peddled the line Obama took in his Meet the Press interview, it was judged false by Glenn Kessler in the Washington Post (rating: Four Pinnochios) and PolitiFact (rating: False). (In case you want to revisit the analysis, Kessler and PolitiFact both pull the relevant quote from Remnick’s gospel.)
Everyone who follows Obama knows that Obama was lying baldly when he peddled this line to Todd. Although Todd showed no sign of it, Todd himself is a leading example of the knowledgeable observer who knows Obama was lying. And Obama knows they all know he is lying.
One wonders why he would let himself be seen to be lying by all such observers. What is going on here? Here some speculation is required. Obama would prefer to be seen lying by the knowledgeable than admit to a significant mistake or misjudgment in an admission to be heard by all, for this is (at best) a spectacular misjudgment.
I think that Obama’s flagrant misjudgment in this case is a defining moment. It is a misjudgment consistent with his 2012 campaign themes in which he declared victory over al Qaeda (“decimated” and “on the run”). It indelibly marks Obama himself as the JV president and he therefore flails away against it.