Marco Rubio Says ISIS is Too Scary For the First Amendment at GOP Debate

Florida senator calls threat from radical jihadists "unprecedented."


At tonight's Republican presidential debate,

Too scared for free speech.
Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly reminded Florida Senator Marco Rubio that he had previously told her he supports closing down mosques and diners (presumably ones frequented by Muslims) if they are suspected of being meeting places for radical jihadists.

Kelly reminded Rubio, "The Supreme Court has made clear that hateful speech is generally protected by the First Amendment. In other words, radical Muslims have the right to be radical Muslims unless they turn to terror." She then asked, "Doesn't your position run afoul of the First Amendment?"

Rubio responded:

That's the problem. Radical Muslims and radical Islam is not just hate talk, it's hate action. They blow people up. Look at what they did in San Bernardino, look at the attack they inspired in Philadelphia…where a guy shot a police officer three times, told the police 'I did it because I was inspired by ISIS.'

The threat we face from ISIS is unprecedented. There has never been a jihadist group like this. They have affiliates in over a dozen countries now. They are the best-funded radical jihadist group in the history of the world. And they have shown a sophisticated understanding of the laws of other countries on how to insert fighters into places…

When I am president of the United States, if there is some place in this country where radical jihadists are planning to attack the United States, we will go after them wherever they are and if we capture them alive they are going to Guantanamo.

The GOP contenders are all fond of mocking the sentiments of the mainstream media, left-wing eggheads, and the idea that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are constantly looking to Europe as their model for America. But by hyperventilating over a jihadist group that has not yet been able to orchestrate an attack on the US that even remotely matches the devastation caused by ISIS' forbear on 9/11/01, Rubio unwittingly apes the very "elitist" entities so despised by the Republican base. 

You know who else thinks ISIS is an "unprecedented" threat far too scary and sophisticated to allow for constitutionally-protected free expression? Notorious First Amendment nemesis and University of Chicago professor Eric Posner, as well as the veritable boogeyman for American conservatives, The New York Times, which recently expressed similar "second thoughts" about the First Amendment.

Rubio supports extralegal spying on American Muslims? The New York Values of the NYPD just had to settle a lawsuit over that.

And what nation of Old Europe drives Republicans crazier than France? Well, their recent draconian crackdown on civil liberties, including the shuttering of mosques and warrantless searches of Muslim-owned business, should warm Rubio's security hawk heart and send chills down the spines of anyone who believes in due process and the protection of unpopular speech.