Posted by on August 16, 2010 in Blog
We were pleased to report on President Obama weighing in on Friday at a White House iftar dinner about the controversy surrounding the Islamic community center near ground zero. Then came the next day and the attempt to politically negotiate his initial remarks, followed by the Sunday morning talk shows and more political pandering. Media Matters provided an excellent fact check on the false claims made on Sunday morning and Jim provided his take on it today as he correctly noted the need for adults to step into this debate.
It is disappointing that the President's hedge has left the door open wide enough for opponents of tolerance and opportunists who prey on fear to enter.
This entire situation has become unreal. I listened to some of the Sunday shows (as much as I could take) in near total amazement. How could we have come to the point where the head of the NRSC is warning that where you stand on building a Muslim community center will be an issue in November? It's like a nightmare, except we're all in it.
Imagine how this sounds to the rest of the world? The bizarre bigoted tweets of Ms Palin or the more intellectualized sounding rants of Mr Gingrich and all comparisons to Nazi Germany etc. As a recruitment tool for extremists, this is going to be better than Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo combined. The President had the opportunity to step into this embarrassing situation and provide some adult supervision. It seemed as if he did, and then he hedged.
Just now, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) joined the shameful chorus of 'we are not bigots so we don't oppose it in theory, just in practice.' Guised in the 'is it wise?' reflection, the end result is the same whether it comes from Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin or Senator Reid and President Obama. At times like this, we need leadership. Sometimes during election season, politicians will get silly or engage in ugly pandering but this has gone on well past that. Today, as more print continues to be devoted to a non-issue, we find ourselves even more grateful for Mayor Michael Bloomberg's leadership. If only everyone else would leave this to him.