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Mitch Perry Report for 12.7.15 -Obama speaks on threat of Islamic State. GOP reacts

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

There’s a lot of angst in the country and in the political world about how we are dealing with domestic terrorism, five days after San Bernardino.

Well, that’s what the media tells us.

I’m not so sure. There were a lot of big football games over the weekend with sellout crowds. Restaurants and bars seemed to pretty full in parts of Tampa that I observed and/or visited over the weekend, but hey, we’re all “on edge.”

President Obama tried to deal with that by giving a prime-time speech to the nation last night.

“In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are taking out ISIL leaders,” he said. “In both countries, we’re deploying special operations forces who can accelerate that offensive. We’ve stepped up our effort since the attacks in Paris.”

He also called on Muslim leaders here and around the globe to reject the hateful ideology that groups like ISIL and al-Qaida promote, “to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those interpretations of Islam that are incompatible with the values of religious tolerance, mutual respect, and human dignity.”

That was new, but his discussion of his strategy in fighting ISIS/ISIL didn’t appear to be. And that’s a problem, say his critics.

“I think not only did the President not make things better tonight, I fear he may have made things worse in the minds of many Americans,” snarled Marco Rubio, who took exception to the fact that the president mentioned the fact that it shouldn’t be so easy for criminals/American terrorists to get guns, and said specifically that no one on a no- fly list is able to buy a gun.

“This is not a time for ideological silliness, this is a time for serious action because the future security of our country is at stake.”

“This is the war of our time,” said Jeb Bush. “It should not be business as usual. We need a wartime Commander-in-Chief who is ready to lead this country and the free world to victory.”

“President Obama’s speech tonight demonstrates one troubling reality: the Islamic State specifically, and the global jihad generally, will continue to be on the march until we inaugurate a new Commander-in-Chief,” Congressman Ron DeSantis said. “The President’s strategy has failed and the American people will remain at risk as a result of his failure.”

Most alarming is a report by Kimberly Dozier in today’s Daily Beast that says that a new U.S. intelligence report on ISIS, commissioned by the White House, “predicts that the self-proclaimed Islamic State will spread worldwide and grow in numbers, unless it suffers a significant loss of territory on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria.”

There will be more raids in Iraq and Syria, but Dozier reports that alone won’t solve the problem, “but may damage ISIS enough to make the group less popular and buy time for other necessary steps like the political deal-making underway to try to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down. “

In other news …

Tomorrow the Hillsborough County Legislative Delegation meets at the Amalie Arena, where there will be a host of “local” bills related to the county’s Public Transportation Commission. Victor Crist and Jeff Brandes will be on hand.

And some private citizens have filed ethics complaints against county commissioners Ken Hagan and Sandy Murman, the latest fallout from the Go Hillsborough transportation saga.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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