In the wake of yet another deadly bombing spree carried out my Muslim terrorists, Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Tuesday that the U.S. must step up its surveillance of Muslim neighborhoods around the country.
This will surely elicit the typical kneejerk reactions and screams of bigotry by all the usual suspects.
Cruz also mirrored rival Donald Trump's call to tamp down the flow of refugees hailing from Islamic countries -- particularly those where ISIS has had a strong presence.
"We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized," Cruz said in a statement. Stars & Stripes provides more of the back-and-forth between our presidential candidates and the predictable reaction from groups like CAIR:
The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, condemned Cruz's call for surveillance, saying it sends "an alarming message to American-Muslims who increasingly fear for their future in this nation and to all Americans who value the Constitution and religious liberties."
Trump, who spoke to Fox News as developments in Brussels were unfolding, said he had warned about such attacks. "Brussels was a beautiful city, a beautiful place with zero crime, and now it's a disaster city. A total disaster," he said.
Both Cruz and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton criticized Trump for saying Monday that NATO "is costing us a fortune" and the U.S. should diminish its role in the coming years. Cruz said the suggestion of withdrawing from NATO is a "pre-emptive surrender."
Speaking to CNN, Clinton called NATO "the best international defense alliance, I think, ever." She reasserted her view that the U.S. should embrace, rather than alienate, Muslim communities, saying "we want them to report it; we want them to be part of protecting the United States."
Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders, campaigning in Arizona on Tuesday, said boosting national security and protecting civil rights must go hand-in-hand. He said he strongly disagrees with calls by some Republicans for heightened domestic surveillance of Muslims.
"That would be unconstitutional - it would be wrong," Sanders said.
Fortunately, none of the half-dozen House Republicans interviewed about Cruz's comment dissented.
"Nearly every neighborhood is patrolled. That's what local law enforcement does," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp, as if Cruz's call was a moot point.
"We need to do everything that makes good common sense, that's in the best interests of national security, but obviously it needs to be done in a way that's consistent with the Constitution," added Republican Congressman Jim Jordan.
Virginia Republican Dave Brat criticized reporters for not asking Democrats what plans they have to keep the country safe.
Well, that's because we already know Democrats' plan. It involves tweeting out a slew of solidarity hashtags and calling for sensitivity and dialogue with the Muslim world.