Monday, August 16, 2010

The 70-30 President

I am not one to usually parse over every single word our Presidents say. I mean when you make comments every single day for a few years occasionally you will make a gaffe here or there, some of them humorous. The problem Obama finds himself in more often than not is that his statements find him contravening American opinion on a hot button issue, and usually in a situation where his interference is not necessary. Long to short, these are self-inflicted political wounds. He should be worried about greater issues, like spiraling deficits, Iran getting nukes, etc. Much like his clumsy response to the Cambridge police last summer this similar tap dancing, or as Jim Geraghty at NRO called it this morning "[the] hokey-pokey", is creating unneeded distraction and erosion of political capital. The reaction to the police acting stupidly remark is eerily similar. It goes something like this: He makes an off the cuff statement of his position, then back tracks off it after seeing that he is out of the mainstream of American opinion. Why would he hand his political opponents such a layup? Especially when you are on the short end of an overwhelming majority opinion as it was during Cambridge.

The first problem with his comments on Friday at an iftar dinner was his tone. Often he is lecturing, his numerous "Let me be clear" statements, as if we don't understand. The condescension is a habit with him and don't think that it goes unnoticed by the great unwashed massses. The main problem is that he really stated the obvious by saying this,
"As a citizen, and as president I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country. That includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances. This is America, and our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable."
I mean I hate to say it but, uhhh no s*it Mr. President. Then after that statement he props up the usual strawman arguments and prattles on. The question over this has never been the right of the Imam to build this 13 story "cultural" center and mosque on private property, our laws protect that right. Everyone on the right and left can agree on that. Ironically the controversy has been over what the Imam's stated purpose has been; sensitivity and tolerance and then who deserves it. The decision to build this there is extremely insensitive to the families of loved ones who died on 9/11 and to American sensibilities in general. If this guy packed up and moved this a mile north, that would speak volumes for sensitivity and brotherhood with our fellow Americans that happen to be Muslim. I have said it in this space before, Imam Feisal Rauf has to answer to why he speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Why was his book titled What's Right with Islam: a New Vision for Muslims and the West here in the U.S. and then when it was translated into Arabic it became A Call to Prayer from the WTC Rubble: Islamic Dawah from the Heart of America Post 911. A dawah is a call to Islam, nothing about tolerance and coexistence there. Why did he say publicly that Muslims did not perpetrate 9/11? The list goes on and on and like I said I went over this back in May here.

When you do not have leaders of the Muslim faith (outside of a couple of organizations, namely the AIFD who does a great job) speaking out consistently against terror and crimes committed in the name of Islam, it is hard for most Americans to feel comfortable and very "brotherly". Look no one would care where a mosque is built, but many people view this area of Manhattan as a sacred battlefield much like Gettysburg and other national protected parks. Couple this with the perception by some that this may be a typical Islamist move to construct a house of worship over "conquered" land you have a recipe for feeding intolerance against the religion. The more this drags on you may see other communities across the country oppose mosque construction and that is NOT what this country is about, but the percieved provocation of the Ground Zero mosque may foment the exact opposite of its stated intent. Not only that but instead of really talking about religious tolerance and our founding principles we are talking about an increasingly inept President.

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