Did the internet play a role in the radicalizing of the San Bernardino terrorists? Of course it did. A role among other factors, like their ties to Pakistan and perhaps, within Pakistan, other connections that may have led pushed them towards terror.

Do we shut down the internet in response to the growing threat of lone wolf attacks? Like Trump has suggested? How? Ask Bill Gates. As if Bill Gates understood better than anybody else. For example, better than a 26-year old mid-level manager at an ISP.

It isn’t that ISIS-inspired lone wolf attacks are not a clear and present danger across America and much of the rest of the world. They clearly are. And it’s not that social media and other online forums don’t play a vital role. They do.

But that kind of decision making: Get Bill on the phone and let’s solve this! seems a little clumsy to be charitable. If not outright silly. Of course, if Trump actually did call Bill Gates (perhaps the other Gates would be a much better call to make) he might learn something. And he might listen to Bill who would explain what’s feasible and who to actually ask and why, Mr. President, it’s a really dumb idea.

There won’t be that call – at least not with the words Mr. President in it – if Trump continues to throw out suggestions like this. Not because they are blunt and aim squarely at a very real concern. They do, and that’s fine. But rather because they flub the job by sounding off base and foolish.

It is very hard to kill an idea. Tyrants have tried for ages immemorial and those ideas often come back from whatever grave they have been violently assigned to. That can be inspiring.

Or it can be terrifying when the idea is an atavistic barbaric delusion. Like the vision of a worldwide caliphate that shimmers like a dehydration-induced hallucination in the brains of converts to the ISIS creed of vengeance and submission to the brutal edicts of their self-appointed prophets.

If Trump had said we need better intelligence and that means careful monitoring of online activity, that at least would have the merit of being focused and relevant. Even if it borders on being unconstitutional. And it would put Trump in Rubio’s camp. Not an objective of The Donald.

It is unlikely, of course, that Trump is that silly. He almost certainly has people who are advising him on a coherent intelligence strategy. But his shots across the bow are getting a little sloppy. Will they begin to damage his numbers in a serious way? Or is Trump in fact a genius at prodding voters on issues that matter to them? Even if the way he does it borders on the ridiculous.

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