The headline of this Rasmussen poll sounds (for the age in which we live) like war fever:
Americans are beginning to sound the call for a war on ISIS — unhappy both with Barack Obama's response to the Islamic terrorists' attacks in Paris and his strategy to defeat them, new polls show.
In one Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday, 49% think the nation should formally declare war on the Islamic State, 28% disagree, and a significant 23% are undecided as yet.
So of those Americans who are paying attention, war is the choice by a margin of 64%-36%. Pretty conclusive.
But the rather gaping caveat is that a quarter of the country isn't paying attention. That's the first symptom that this poll isn't the gung-ho "We will fight them on the beaches; we will fight them on the hills; we shall never surrender" call to arms that it appears to be on the first-glance surface.
The details tell a very different tale:
Still, the survey finds only 25% of respondents think America should be taking the lead in a war against ISIS, with 65% saying the United States should be part of a broader coalition.
That tells you straight away that there isn't really any public will or determination to take on the Islamic State, because every "broader coalition" of which the United States has "been a part" is 95%+ composed of American forces. Not since the Second World War has such a "coalition" been worthy of the term, and even then America was decidedly the "senior partner". There is, in short, no practical, on-the-ground difference between "America taking the lead" - or going it alone - and being "part of a broader coalition". The latter is a couple of nipple pasties for the former. Which means that two-thirds of Americans crave phony semantics, or else they tacitly endorse Barack Obama's ISIS policy. And according to Rasmussen, respondents claim to rate his ISIS policy at 36%/45%.
I guess President Contained isn't waving his magic putter hard enough.
A CBS News survey delivers somewhat more encouraging results:
[H]alf the country now supports the use of ground troops in Syria and Iraq to battle ISIS. The poll found 50% are okay with ground troops — 66% of Republicans, 43% of Democrats and 45% of independents — while 42% are against using ground troops, including 48% of Democrats, 46% of independents and 29% of Republicans.
50/42 is a considerably narrower majority for the only means of actually defeating and destroying the Islamic State than the alleged 49/28 margin that wants a less specific "declaration of war". With the most overwhelming majority being in favor of our continuing to "lead from behind," that strongly suggests that whatever public support their is for actually fighting ISIS would quickly collapse at the first wave of casualties.
And Barack Obama knows this. Which, in addition to his stubborn, cosmic ego, is why he will not, and has no intention of, changing his ISIS policy, but will continue to ride it out indefinitely, or until ISIS pulls off its improvement on 9/11 and his hand is truly forced - if then.
In the mean time, the RNC asks a toe-curlingly pertinent question....
That's the best GOP War On Terror ad I've seen since the Bush 2004 "wolves" spot.
Funny how the other side keeps making them so easy to produce.