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How many commentators will denounce GOP mosque strategy?

Mark Halperin has a great piece today in which he calls on Republicans to "do the right thing" and not make Obama's support for the Islamic center an issue in the midterm elections.

Which gives rise to a question: If Republicans do take this route, how many commentators will come out and unequivocally take sides on whether it's acceptable or whether it's wrong?

Halperin notes, crucially, that if the GOP adopts this strategy, it will be bad for America and good for the "Jihadists":

There are a handful of good reasons to oppose allowing the Islamic center to be built so close to Ground Zero, particularly the family opposition and the availability of other, less raw locations. But what is happening now -- the misinformation about the center and its supporters; the open declarations of war on Islam on talk radio, the Internet and other forums; the painful divisions propelled by all the overheated rhetoric -- is not worth whatever political gain your party might achieve.

It isn't clear how the battle over the proposed center should or will end. But two things are profoundly clear: Republicans have a strong chance to win the midterm elections without picking a fight over President Obama's measured words. And a national political fight conducted on the terms we have seen in the past few days will lead to a chain reaction at home and abroad that will have one winner -- the very extreme and violent jihadists we all can claim as our true enemy.

As I said, Republicans, this is your moment. As a famous New Yorker once urged in a very different context: Do the right thing.

I don't know if the GOP will adopt a concerted midterm election strategy along these lines or not. But many of the 2012 potential GOP presidential hopefuls have already gone down this road. A House GOP official told Mike Allen that the party would be using Obama's speech to make the case that he's insensitive to 9/11 victims and "out of touch."
And the NRSC has already seized on Hamas's support for the mosque to bludgeon Chuck Schumer for his silence and signaled more generally that Obama's speech makes it open season on Dem candidates.

If this does become a concerted strategy, the question then becomes: Who will take a stand and denounce it? It's one thing for Republicans to argue the case against the center on the merits. Fine. Agree or disagree, the same First Amendment that protects the right of the group to build the center also protect the right of conservatives to make a case against it.

But it's another thing entirely if Republicans adopt criticism of Obama's speech as part of a concerted electoral strategy. As Halperin notes, doing this strays perilously close to stoking anti-Muslim bigotry and religious intolerance in the quest for electoral gain.

This is a seminal moment that requires an accounting. As Josh Marshall noted today:

We're in a midst of a spasm of nativist panic and raw and raucous appeals to race and religious hatred. What effects this will have on the November election strikes me as not particularly relevant. What's important is compiling some record of what's afoot, some catalog for understanding in the future who was responsible and who was so willing to disgrace their country and their principles for cheap advantage.

I'd say the need for a "record" goes for commentators, too. Who will call this out? Halperin has already stepped up. He enjoys enormous respect from the Beltway commentariat. If Republicans take this route, who will follow his lead?

UPDATE, 11:42 a.m.: Sharron Angle tries to introduce the mosque issue into the Nevada Senate race, sending out this statement:

"Our forefathers made it very clear in the U.S. Constitution that people of all faiths have the right to practice their religion here in America. As with all religions, Muslims have the right to worship in New York or Nevada or any state in our nation.

However, by supporting the construction of a mosque at Ground Zero, President Obama has once again ignored the wishes of the American people, this time at the expense of victims of 9/11 and their families. They have said overwhelmingly that the location of this mosque is an affront to the memories of their loved ones who were murdered by Islamic extremists on 9/11. Their wishes should be respected.

As the Majority Leader, Harry Reid is usually President Obama's mouthpiece in the U.S. Senate, and yet he remains silent on this issue. Reid has a responsibility to stand up and say no to the mosque at Ground Zero or once again side with President Obama---this time against the families of 9/11 victims. America is waiting."

Angle's position, apparently, is that the group has the right to build the center but Obama is wrong to have voiced support for that right. After all, he didn't directly endorse the project anywhere, nor should he have. I would like to hear Reid break his silence on the issue, though.

UPDATE, 12:28 p.m.: Senator David Vitter has now dragged the mosque issue into his race.

By Greg Sargent  |  August 16, 2010; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Breaking: Hamas sides with Obama, endorses mosque!
Next: GOP Senate candidates drag Obama's mosque speech into their races

Comments

Greg,

You have flogged the Muslim Center topic to death.

I am out of here.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 16, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"I don't know if the GOP will adopt a concerted midterm election strategy along these lines or not."

Umm...if you didn't notice, Republicans and especially the right wing often paint Obama as a Muslim sympathizer.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 16, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

See, this is where the dynamic changes.

This (in a matter of days or weeks) is where the story dives underground, disappears from the mainstream and remains bubbling and boiling fervently just below the surface in the Republican/Neoconfederate xenophobic and race-based listservs.

GUARANTEED.

We need to expose these under-the-radar lists.

We need to show that these email listservs are actually just as important -- or moreso -- than Fox News in spreading the absurd myths and lies that dominate the Republican Tea Party.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, agreed, will be happening all over the place in districts across the country, under the radar.

Liam, I maintain that this is an extremely important and seminal episode. Ceding the debate to the other side on this is a huge mistake.

And Mike, I meant a concerted strategy in the midterms.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 16, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Question - is this this summer's Town Hall crazies story? It's August, Congress is out of session. Washington is dead as a source of stories so the media has to find something to blow out of proportion. Is this this years? Remember last year, only the crazy town halls were covered. The civil ones (the vast majority) were ignored. Now we hear about how everyone is against the Cordoba House (not true) and it is the flagged story of the day? Is this just the media having to fill space because Congressman are not right in front of cameras and microphones in Washington to say something and feed the wurlitzer? I mean where are the stories on this years COngressional Town Halls? It's mid August - where is the Town Hall coverage? No crazies means no coverage this year? Can't talk about the normal, sane stuff so we get this ginned up outrage? Am I wrong here?

Posted by: zattarra | August 16, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

You know the message I get from all of this hot air from the GOP and the right wing talks shows? It is succinctly: Rem,ember all of that talk we put out about wanting Obama to honor the Constitution? It was all bullsh!t!

Posted by: jaxas70 | August 16, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

It's good to see you transistion off the nontroversy of the actual building of the center, and moved to the actual story here: the manipulation and stoking of racial/religious hatred for political gain.

Marshall's quote is spot on.

I will continue to argue that the act of being ignorant is unfortunate, but the act of stoking that ingorance by those that know better is a far more sinister and detrimental flaw.

That's what we're seeing here, and that's what the story should be about.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 16, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

"And Mike, I meant a concerted strategy in the midterms."

I'd argue is a concerted ongoing strategy from hate radio and fox. From day 1 they try and paint him as some sort of radical foreigner that wants to change America into something else.

This is just one more issue that fits into their effort is all.

Now if you mean the RNC is coming out with a statement that they plan on painting Obama as a Muslim terrorist sympathizer, you'll never hear that but there is no doubt in my mind that is what they are thinking or would like to subtly portray to the public. Although talk radio and the idiots on Fox have no qualms about speaking openly about it.

Terrorist fist jab comes to mind. So does all the MacCarthyite associations to Farrakhan I hear of. All no doubt coming from the direction of Ailes who is basically a GOP operative.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 16, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

I would really like to see more coverage of this disgusting underbelly of the GOP.

The non-stop barrage of lies and smears ON THESE LISTS is what perpetuates these stories.

We really need to have the media start covering these chain email style messages as we would any Republican congressman's statements. They are important and are not just the ravings of a few lunatics, but WELL-CRAFTED, WELL-DESIGNED MESSAGES written and disseminated by the PROFESSIONAL RIGHT.

These are Republican Establishment Washington D.C. insiders promoting these ideas, not the fringe.

We need to expose these people and these lists or we will be doomed to constantly chase around these pathetic racist/bigoted stories rather than talk about the real issues.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Mike, Obama IS sympathetic to Muslims. I don't think he would even deny that.

Ethan, Underground email listservs? You mean like Journolist? Greg should know all about how those work. Trust me.

And Greg, keep it up. You're pathetic and hilarious at the same time.

Posted by: daveredhat | August 16, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

George Will? Broder?

Amazing Halperin did it.

I suspect many columists will not stand up to be counted.

Good post, Greg.

Posted by: TomP4 | August 16, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Mike, Obama IS sympathetic to Muslims. I don't think he would even deny that."

You're right. I meant to put in there a Muslim terrorist sympathizer. Nothing wrong with sympathizing with anyone.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 16, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

"Ethan, Underground email listservs? You mean like Journolist?"

No. Journolist members actually care about policy and about America.

The Republican lists don't.

Their sole purpose is to use fear and lies to scare Republican voters.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

Yes, it is a mainstream GOP attempt at religious bigotry under the guise of "sensitivity".

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | August 16, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, examples please? I can provide plenty of examples of vile, disgusting rants on journolist if you would like to continue down this path.

Posted by: daveredhat | August 16, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Add Michael Gerson and Mark McKinnon to the list of those who have stood up to the fear-mongers.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 16, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Which commentators will object? The same ones who (1) objected to the Swift Boat nonsense in 2004; (2) pointed out the absurdity of the death panels last year.

Unfortunately our country is being dragged lower with every season, and the rule of reason is being pushed aside just to feed irrational fear and bigotry.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | August 16, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

If we shred our right to freedom of religion to spite our enemy, our enemy wins. Republicans will lose if they ride this horse in the fall.

Posted by: willcu | August 16, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

@willcu, I agree with your first point, but not your second. Also I applaud you for at least acknowledging that our enemies are behind this mosque effort.

Posted by: daveredhat | August 16, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Here you go "daveredhat" from one of the most recent emails:

"""""71% of the people of Missouri said "NO" to ObamaCare at the polls, but Barack Obama's mouthpiece, Robert Gibbs, said it meant "NOTHING."

Of course, callously dismissing the American people is exactly what we've come to expect from Barack Hussein Obama and his lackeys.

He never cared about improving our health care system. Radically transforming our health care system was always a means to an end... an excuse to transform the United States into a third-world Socialist country.

And as far as Obama is concerned, the welfare of the American people means _(as Gibbs so eloquently stated) "Nothing.""""""

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

@daveredhat: Why don't you take your whining about Journolist somewhere else? Nobody here gives a cr*p.

Everyone on the right is so busy clutching their pearls over the fact that some left-leaning pundits talked about left-leaning policies....shocking. Where the h*ll were you when the Bush administration was secretly paying people to spew their propoganda over the airwaves? Where's your outrage about Grover Norquist's Wednesday coordination meetings? The only reason this even became a story is because Tucker Carlson got his fee-fees hurt.

If that's the best you all have then you're even more intellectually bankrupt than I thought.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 16, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

daveredhat, another section of the same email:

"""""On the campaign trail, Obama promised the American people "hope" and "change."

Barack Hussein Obama is certainly changing things... for the worse and, if he isn't stopped, he'll leave us a legacy of "hopelessness."

Karl Marx once wrote that the "working class is revolutionary or it is nothing." So it goes with Obama. The American people are either dupes... to be fooled and used to institute his radical schemes... or they are "nothing."

When Obama and Pelosi and Reid initially tried to trick the American people into accepting their health care scam, they falsely claimed that they were looking out for you... the needy... the downtrodden... the little guy.

But when that the American people came to realize that they were being sold a bill of goods and rebelled against their authoritarian attempt to transform the United States... well... you saw what happened... they shoved it down our throats in the dark of night.

Why? Because, the American people are, as Gibbs so eloquently stated, "Nothing" to them.

And now... if you were to ask Obama what he thought about the fact that a clear majority of Americans don't want to be forced by the federal government to purchase something under penalty of huge IRS fines... he'd probably say... "Nothing."

If you were to ask Obama what he thought about the fact that the American people don't want to forced into a system that will make health care more expensive and lead to the eventual rationing of care for our nation's elderly and needy... he'd probably say... "Nothing."

If you were to ask Obama what, in heaven's name, led him to the idiotic conclusion that forcing tens-of-millions of people, against their will, into a system that already has a shortage of doctors and nurses, was somehow going to make the system better... he'd probably say... "Nothing."

Because as far as they are concerned... the American people are useful idiots... cannon-fodder for his plans to transform society... in other words, they're "Nothing." As far as Obama is concerned... you're "Nothing."

Well... today is the day we disabuse our elected officials of that perverse Marxist notion."""""

So that's two passages from just one email.

Believe me, I've seen emails on every single one of the Right's scare-mongering "conspiracies". That includes emails on race issues and on religious issues.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010, Which "Republican Establishment Washington D.C. insider" posted that? And which "Republican/Neoconfederate xenophobic and race-based listservs" was it posted on?

Posted by: daveredhat | August 16, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@daveredhat: "Mike, Obama IS sympathetic to Muslims."

Should he not be?

"Ethan, Underground email listservs? You mean like Journolist?"

No, he means the ones where us backwoods, racist conservatives talk about how we're all secretly members of the KKK and the Neo Nazis, and want to plan to get rid of Obama, not because we disagree with his politics or his policies, but because we're retarded and think he's a scary Mooselem and has dark complected skin, to boot. Which, because we're not card carrying Democrats, we're scare and frightened of, while simultaneous hating. Because skin pigmentation is all we think about. Probably because we're crazy.

Those lists. The one's run by Snidely Whiplash. You know the one's I'm talking about, right? We're all on them. The Hate-o-List, WhiteRage, GOPNazi. You are part of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy aren't you? If not, let me know, and I'll make sure you get signed up, right away.

"And Greg, keep it up. You're pathetic and hilarious at the same time."

I know I'm fighting a losing battle here, I know that. But can people disagree about stuff without the "pathetic" and "hilarious" stuff? Why does disagreeing with us have to be stupid, evil or pathetic? What can't it just be, "Well, I think you may be mistaken on that". Also, certainly Greg is right about many things. His opinion on the first Iron Man movie. His favorite color. How to best make poached eggs. People can have differences of opinion without us having to make them universally wrong, bad, or "pathetic".

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I double-dog-dare America's editors to let their professional journalists speak freely about the republican party's decision to see which way the wind is blowing on freedom of religion.

Posted by: willcu | August 16, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin. After that first paragraph, you call for civility in your second paragraph? Yea, you are fighting a loosing battle... with yourself.

Posted by: daveredhat | August 16, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Fanning th flames of religious and ethnic hatred is nothing new for the GOP. Go back and look at the election of 1928, when Al Smith (Catholic) squared off against Herbert Hoover. It was at least as ugly as today, which goes to show that economic hard times isn't always the excuse for stoking nativism--sometimes it is just a desire for power.

That said, we should give credit where it is due and I agree with Josh Marshall that George W. Bush did keep a lid on nativism and ethnic hatreds (both against Hispanics and against Muslims after 9/11) during his Presidency. He had many, many flaws but he was used Latinos from living in Texas, did appreciate the demographics, and was at least somewhat sensitive (after a few missteps) to not treating his wars or the GWOT as "crusades" against Islam as a religion. Much more than can be said about the current crop of moral pygmies leading the GOP.

Posted by: Mimikatz | August 16, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"I applaud you for at least acknowledging that our enemies are behind this mosque effort."

Someone isn't capable of grasping that the religious intolerance of the right is what our enemies want to see.

The mosque is irrelevant. It is the American right's desire for a crusade that our enemies cheer for.

Posted by: akaoddjob | August 16, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

"he means the ones where us backwoods"

There you go again with the "backwoods" lie.

You are not serious and should not be treated as if you are respectable and thoughtful. You are neither.

Read some of the email that I've posted in two parts. For example, Kevin The Thoughtful, do you agree with this statement:

"""[Obama] never cared about improving our health care system. Radically transforming our health care system was always a means to an end... an excuse to transform the United States into a third-world Socialist country."""

Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

How about this one:

"Because as far as [the Obama Administration is] concerned... the American people are useful idiots... cannon-fodder for his plans to transform society... in other words, they're "Nothing." As far as Obama is concerned... you're "Nothing."

Oh but there's nothing wrong with the GOP, they just disagree with the Dems, right Kevin?

Again, you and your ilk are NOT SERIOUS. Anyone who votes for the Republican Party either explicitly or implicitly supports the notion -- that is main stream in the GOP -- that Obama is a socialist and not from the USA. The fact that you ignore those things and still vote for the Republican Party is clear indication that you are not reasonable.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@BBQ You have hit the nail on the head several times this morning and also provide a great reason Greg feels the need to keep this story in front of us...

"I will continue to argue that the act of being ignorant is unfortunate, but the act of stoking that ingorance by those that know better is a far more sinister and detrimental flaw."

@Kevin If you are still here after Ethan's diatribe against you. I love Ethan but in this instance I'm afraid I must disagree him. I simply think you are misguided Kevin. Your observation about voting against "liberals" no matter what does seem a bit "kneejerk" given the choice of the other party.

And Kevin IMHO ignorance is ignorance. I don't have to respond as Dan Akroyd did to Jane Curtain on the old SNL's with "Jane you ignorant sl&t" but at some point you must draw the line.

So when a professional acquaintance of my wife and I were discussing the Mayor of our city and he says..."he's ok but he wants to give everything to the n&ggers" are you suggesting that I'm simply not feeling his side of the story or giving respect to his viewpoint if I call him an ignorant racist. If Sarah Palin gets caught in an OBVIOUS lie (bridge to nowhere stuff etc.) is it not feeling her side or her viewpoint to point out that she has just told a lie? I don't have to call her a lying scumbag..and in honesty using BBQ's protocol I give her a pass because she is ignorant..literally not pejoratively. But folks like Newt and Rush should know better...Lindsey Graham KNOWS better when he talks about redoing the 14th Amendment...instead of actually working to solve the problem Graham is actually contributing to it. When Sarah Palin and Grandpa Grassley talked about "death panels" and "pulling plug on granny" it was bad enough that they were pandering for votes...but the worst part is that they were being traitors to their country. This nation desperately needs a rational discussion on health care not months spent trying for Obama's "Waterloo"

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 16, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@daveredhat: "After that first paragraph, you call for civility in your second paragraph? Yea, you are fighting a loosing battle... with yourself."

You may be right, although I'm hoping to give myself a little leeway for parody. However, I might be trying to make a distinction without a difference (it would not be the first time, unfortunately).

To be clear, the point is that there are no serious right-wing list-servs serving up talking points for the great unwashed to take their marching orders. Indeed, conservatives generally discuss all their ideas in public--The Corner, RedState, etc.

Not that I have a problem with Journolist--liberals being liberals--because I didn't and I don't. Nor would I have a problem with such a thing on the right, if it existed, which it doesn't seem to.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin: What can't it just be, "Well, I think you may be mistaken on that".

I understand the point your trying to make but you're languishing under the false impression that one can have a reasonable debate with someone who thinks there was a secret plot 50 yrs ago to smuggle a Kenyan born AA baby into the US so that he could grow up to turn the country into a socialist, fascist, marxist, utopia administered under sharia law.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | August 16, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

As a commentor, I respect the right of the property's owners to build their Muslim Healing Center. The clarification on whether or not they should build it will come in several hours.

At least they're not trying to build a Wal-Mart.

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | August 16, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@schrodingerscat...

"but you're languishing under the false impression that one can have a reasonable debate with someone who thinks there was a secret plot 50 yrs ago to smuggle a Kenyan born AA baby into the US so that he could grow up to turn the country into a socialist, fascist, marxist, utopia administered under sharia law."

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 16, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

@schrodingerscat:"I understand the point your trying to make but you're languishing under the false impression that one can have a reasonable debate with someone who thinks there was a secret plot 50 yrs ago to smuggle a Kenyan born AA baby into the US so that he could grow up to turn the country into a socialist, fascist, marxist, utopia administered under sharia law."

Well, granted, but who here thinks that? I don't, and presumably you don't. I'm guessing BBQ and Ethan and Liam and Greg, none of those folks think that. Does ScottC3? I haven't seen enough from daveredhat yet to say, but I'm guessing he's not a birther.

You also probably couldn't have a civil discussion with David Koresh, but that's not the most relevant point, as he isn't in this conversation. ;)

And I've said some uncivil things--just a few comments up, I think I really pushed it, in the same post, as daveredhat says. So, I really shouldn't be throwing stones. Perhaps I'm just projecting. I need to work on my civility, thus I'm saying things that obligate me to try harder.

Yeah, that's the ticket. ;)

I think most of the folks who call Obama a socialist and Republicans retarded (or soulless) could, potentially, find a way to a more useful dialog with folks they disagree with. Birthers and truthers and flat-earthers and John Birchers, probably not.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

All, more GOP Senate candidates are now dragging the mosque issue into their campaigns:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/gop_senate_candidates_drag_oba.html

...and I promise that's the last mosque related post of the day :)

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 16, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

"At least they're not trying to build a Wal-Mart."

Wow Troll Mac...something we agree on! :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 16, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Waiting for Kevin's response to my post.

Here are the two comments I hope you will respond to Oh Kevin The Thoughtful One:

"""[Obama] never cared about improving our health care system. Radically transforming our health care system was always a means to an end... an excuse to transform the United States into a third-world Socialist country."""

and

""""Because as far as [the Obama Administration is] concerned... the American people are useful idiots... cannon-fodder for his plans to transform society... in other words, they're "Nothing." As far as Obama is concerned... you're "Nothing.""""

Kevin, that's YOUR Republican Party.

YOU support them, not me.

Do you contribute money to the GOP?

Do you vote for the GOP?

Yes, you do. And so you support these types of messages, and to my point, you are not thoughtful and not serious, you are just another sheep.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: ".'he's ok but he wants to give everything to the ******' are you suggesting that I'm simply not feeling his side of the story or giving respect to his viewpoint if I call him an ignorant racist."

No, just to be clear. At that point, I gotta admit, he's brought any judgements on himself. I mean, I would respect an attempt at a rational dialog with such a guy immensely, but completely understand if you're life is too short and your time too valuable, and you just told him to jump in a lake and take his racism along with him.

"If Sarah Palin gets caught in an OBVIOUS lie (bridge to nowhere stuff etc.) is it not feeling her side or her viewpoint to point out that she has just told a lie?"

No, in fact, I was critical of the Bridge to Nowhere lie, because the lie is that it was a bridge to nowhere--it was a bridge to an airport that really needed a bridge, and would have been a net positive for the area, even if it would have taken a long, long time to pay for itself. That's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is that there is no difference between saying "Democrats are nefarious" and "Republicans are nefarious". I think we can criticize political cynicism without saying "Republicans are retarded", just as my side could criticize Obama and his side without calling them Obamunists, or Communists, or even socialists.

You're pointing out examples of accurate analysis, which is 180° out of phase with "republicans are retarded" or "the GOP is based on nothing but hate". Those are gross generalizations that do nothing, that make no larger points, and address no specifics.

Saying Sarah Palin was wrong (or even "she lied") about the bridge to nowhere is at least a specific fact, addressing a real event, and not a global indictment of all Republicans or conservatives, which would make about as much sense as a global indictment of all Muslims, Alaskans, or women.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

30% of the country views this as the pinnacle of American tolerance and virtue.

70% views it as a "kick me" sign.

Posted by: sold2u | August 16, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

See?

Kevin mocks me when I bring up the right's lies that they propagate around the internet through email lists...

...and yet doesn't have the stones to acknowledge their glaring lies when they are put directly in front of him.

Kevin is not a serious person. He is a Republican partisan just like Rush Limbaugh. He just tries to mask it with non-confrontational words. But they are just words. When time comes to decide what party he stands with, he prefers to stand with the party of shockingly inflammatory rhetoric and innuendo about our President being a socialist and not caring about Americans.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Here are the two comments I hope you will respond to Oh Kevin The Thoughtful One"

Man, you really need a big bear hug, dude.

"Do you contribute money to the GOP?"

No.

"Do you vote for the GOP?"

Technically, I vote against liberals.

"And so you support these types of messages, and to my point, you are not thoughtful and not serious, you are just another sheep"

If you say so. Although I don't understand why you, as an Obama voter, opposed having a public option in our healthcare plan. Why do you oppose the public option? Or why you want to surrender to the Republicans on tax breaks for the rich, and enlarge our deficit? Why don't you want to stand and fight, Ethan?

Since you have to 100% support everything the party or person you vote for does, all the time. Heck, I voted for Bush, and the list of things he did that I opposed was about as long as the list of things he did that I supported. I just don't see how your absolutism works in the real world, Ethan. If, based on my careful, thoughtful analysis (because I am awesomely reasonable and rational, and everybody here can clearly see that except *you*--no, I'm just kidding, big hugs) I decided that the Republicans are 95% stank but the Democrats are 98% stank, who am I supposed to vote for in that scenario? Or vote against?

I could do the protest vote. Trust me, I've thought about it, and more than once.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Actually, it is pretty ironic that a mosque can be build near Ground Zero, but a Wal Mart couldn't. A Wal Mart strikes me a more of a Capitalist symbol, which in turn, reminds me of what the World Trade Center stood for. The mosque will remind me of the lunatics who killed thousands, plus the happy Muslims who were dancing in the streets when this tragedy occured.

Posted by: rlmdirect | August 16, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "Kevin is not a serious person. He is a Republican partisan just like Rush Limbaugh."

Someone has a crush on me. Awww.

Yes, I was a little mocking (apologies, I should have dialed it back), but that's because you're wrong about conservatives and Republicans taking their talking points from secret underground hate-lists. For good or for ill (and, believe, sometimes it's ill), we do our discussing and planning and plotting in full view of the public. Ala, RedState. The Corner. Ace of Spades. Etc. There's not secret, and there are no conspiracies.

I am entirely serious person, Ethan. Although I enjoy a bit of levity, so, if that makes me unserious in your eyes, then . . . oh, well. I don't think I'll be able to convince you otherwise.

Other than go away, or announce I'm voting for Democrats, I don't think I'd be able to change your mind about me (given that, by definition, anyone who votes differently than you has to be unserious), so . . .

Believe it or not, I'd really like to get along with you. I apologize for the tone of some conservatives on some emails. I disagree with the tone. I don't think Obama is a socialist. I don't think he wants to destroy America. I don't think he sides with our enemies. I support the right of Muslims to build a community center at the scared site of the old Burlington Coat factory. I think the birthers are fruitcakes. I also thought the "Friends of Bill Clinton" (like Jerry Fallwell) who serious asserted Bill Clinton was having people killed off like a Mafia don were crazy.

What more do you want me to say? That I'm not going to vote against Democrats?

Sorry. We all have to draw the line somewhere.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Americans wake up! Here we have the president, like him or not, fulfilling his oath to defend and uphold the constitution and the sheople of America are led by the nose by a group of opportunistic propagandists to believe he has done something disloyal. Can all Americans be so ignorant? I surely hope not. If anything it should awake us to the fact that these same propagandists will be coming after our rights next if we are so easily hoodwinked. We should be wary of these opportunists who would love to take away our freedoms one at a time or in one fell swoop. Maybe when we start to lose our right to read what we want to, associate with whom we like and think what we want we will snap out of our trance of television, Xbox and MTV and stand up for the principle this country was founded on. Freedom!!

Posted by: rocknwroll | August 16, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

@sold2u: "30% of the country views this as the pinnacle of American tolerance and virtue. 70% views it as a 'kick me' sign."

Why can't I see it as both? Why are you all trying to make me color inside the lines? Well, it's not going to happen! Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Replace the word “Muslim” with the word “Catholic” or the word “Jew.” Replace "mosque" with "church" or "synagogue." What you would have is the kind of rhetoric consistent with that of the Ku Klux Klan at its height in 1923, infamous for all of its out-and-out bigotry.

For the GOP to take an anti-mosque position would definitely satisfy what Osama Bin Laden has sought for Al Qaeda recruitment – a publicly stated contempt for the Muslim religion by a person or persons who appear to represent the will of the US by saying that Muslims are the enemy of America.

The unofficial GOP spokesperson Sarah Palin, appearing to represent people other than herself, has already launched that trial ballon on Twitter. Her words made Muslims victims of the terrorist attacks of September, 2001.

So let the GOP make it an issue. Bin Laden will be pleased.

Posted by: teamac | August 16, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

"""Technically, I vote against liberals."""

Actually, technically, you have to press a lever FOR SOMEBODY, not AGAINST somebody.

So TECHNICALLY, you vote for and support Republicans.

Nice try. You should stop playing these games and then pretending that you are a serious person.

"""""I don't understand why you, as an Obama voter, opposed having a public option in our healthcare plan? Why do you oppose the public option? Or why you want to surrender to the Republicans on tax breaks for the rich, and enlarge our deficit? Why don't you want to stand and fight, Ethan?"""""

Right, as expected, there you go again with false equivalences.

Clearly Obama and the majority of Dems wanted the PO, but there were enough who didn't to block it when they joined the GOP.

Clearly Obama and the majority of Dems want to extend the cuts for the Middle Class but not for the rich. And that issue is far from decided, but you apparently know more than everyone else.

That you continually present these false choices just adds evidence to the fact that you are not serious.

"""""I decided that the Republicans are 95% stank but the Democrats are 98% stank, who am I supposed to vote for in that scenario? Or vote against? I could do the protest vote. Trust me, I've thought about it, and more than once."""""

That's not the issue.

The issue is that you ignore the obvious pattern of racism, xenophobia, and fear-mongering in the GOP.

You KNOW they use racism and lies as a political weapon.

And yet you still consider yourself a thoughtful person.

You are NOT a thoughtful person if you support those tactics that are rampant in the GOP. It's not just a fringe. Those thoughts are RAMPANT in the GOP. You don't care. And you don't care because that's what it means to be a Republican. It doesn't MATTER what reality is. It just matters that they win elections. And you are supporting that notion. It is obviously not a thoughtful position. It is a position born of extremism and lies that you associate yourself with.

Where are the responses to the portions of that email, Kevin?

Here they are AGAIN:

"""[Obama] never cared about improving our health care system. Radically transforming our health care system was always a means to an end... an excuse to transform the United States into a third-world Socialist country."""

and

""""Because as far as [the Obama Administration is] concerned... the American people are useful idiots... cannon-fodder for his plans to transform society... in other words, they're "Nothing." As far as Obama is concerned... you're "Nothing.""""

You have ignored them now TWICE.

Let's see if you are "THOUGHTFUL" enough to address the paragraphs I have posted.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"""What more do you want me to say? That I'm not going to vote against Democrats?"""

This has nothing to do with who you vote AGAINST.

It has everything to do with who you vote FOR.

You vote FOR racism and xenophobia.

Period.

"""you're wrong about conservatives and Republicans taking their talking points from secret underground hate-lists"""

Oh really? That's funny. Because I've been on no less than 3 Republican/Conservative email lists for more than TWO YEARS.

Again, you are not willing to deal with reality.

All you do is excuse yourself for your implicit support of all the things you say you don't like. But at the end of the day, you DO support those things or you wouldn't vote in favor of the people who promote them.

In other words, you are not thoughtful and not serious, you are deluded just like the rest of the Republican Tea Party.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

@Greg Sargent:

"I maintain that this is an extremely important and seminal episode."

***************************

I agree. It might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back when it comes to a nation that is run by a small, insular, Ruling Class Elite that not only do not understand America and its people, but loath them both.

Keep the ratio 2-to-1 in mind. Americans support the Arizona immigration law 2-1 yet the Elites stop it. Americans oppose Cordoba House 2-to-1 yet the Elites support it. Wall Street bailouts? The federal deficit? Approval of Congress? The war in Afghanistan? Invading Iran? It's all 2-to-1.

There is a gathering storm. Average Americans are waking up to the fact that they are ruled by people from an alien culture who don't care what they think or what eventually happens to them. This Ruling Elite controls both political parties, the media and finance.

When the Ruling Elites create a political/social/financial system that is impervious to change yet is outnumbered 2-to-1, what do you think will eventually happen?

Posted by: pmendez | August 16, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

pmendez, please show us your papers.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | August 16, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan: "Actually, technically, you have to press a lever FOR SOMEBODY, not AGAINST somebody."

Whose fault is that? If our voting system allowed me to vote directly against which ever candidate I felt was the worst, I'd be happy to do that.

I work with what's available to me.

"Nice try. You should stop playing these games and then pretending that you are a serious person."

Well, I think I'm a serious person, even if you don't. And you're not likely to convince me that I'm wrong about that. This is a point on which, I think, we're unlikely to agree. Too bad.

"Right, as expected, there you go again with false equivalences."

Well, except, I think they are entirely legitimate. But, I'll put it this way: I don't agree with 100% of what any candidate says or does. If I am going to vote, I have to vote for somebody. If I wait for the 100% candidate, I'll never vote for or against anybody. So, I work with what I've got, as, I suspect, do you.

"That you continually present these false choices just adds evidence to the fact that you are not serious."

You sure like that phrase. I respectfully disagree: they aren't "false choices", and I'm as serious as anybody else in this discussion. I know you disagree. Not much to be done about it.

"You have ignored them now TWICE. Let's see if you are 'THOUGHTFUL' enough to address the paragraphs I have posted."

Dude, I don't, and I'm not going to, respond to every little thing you say. It's not a personal affront, there are just some things were I don't think there needs to be further clarification. But, since you want it so bad:

"""[Obama] never cared about improving our health care system. Radically transforming our health care system was always a means to an end... an excuse to transform the United States into a third-world Socialist country."""

Hyperbole, and inaccurate. Unfair. Not helpful to any kind of dialog. That being said, racist or xenophobic? Maybe you see that, I don't. Worse than the stuff liberals said about Bush? Or the GOP now? No. Same sort of stuff. And, to save you the trouble, I realize you will consider that a false equivalency. The fact is, I don't.

""""Because as far as [the Obama Administration is] concerned... the American people are useful idiots... cannon-fodder for his plans to transform society... in other words, they're "Nothing." As far as Obama is concerned... you're "Nothing.""""

Well, this may put me in the camp of the frothing-at-the-mouth rabid right wingers in your mind, but I think that's a fair statement. Could be more nuanced, but I generally don't think politicians care that much about the individuals who they are supposed to serve, and I don't think individual citizens are of any particular concern to Obama. Useful idiots and cannon-fodder are too strong terms, I think, but I think political success will trump the good of the citizenry, every time. And I don't think he, or the Democrats, are alone in that. I think the GOP demonstrates a similar tendency.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010:

"This has nothing to do with who you vote AGAINST."

Au contraire, it does indeed, whether you agree or not.

"It has everything to do with who you vote FOR."

The person I have to vote for to vote against the Democrat, you mean?

"You vote FOR racism and xenophobia."

I disagree with your analysis of the GOP, generally, on that issue. So I'm not voting for racism and xenophobia, because Republicans aren't a party of racists and xenophobes, even though I know you really believe that to be true.

"Oh really? That's funny. Because I've been on no less than 3 Republican/Conservative email lists for more than TWO YEARS."

How'd you join the secret, underground right-wing conspiracy mailing lists? Your membership sort of immediately disqualifies them from being super-secret underground for-right-wing-racists-only mailing lists, doesn't it?

Though, if true, I'm hurt. Nobody has ever asked me to join the secret right wing cabal!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

See there you go again.

When you are confronted with an uncomfortable reality about the party YOU support, you LIE.

Where did I say these lists were SECRET?

Nowhere!

So stop LYING that I called the lists SECRET.

The facts are that:

1) you cannot recognize your own total failure of logic in making an argument based on false choices

2) you vote for Republicans, and thus support them

3) you agree with their extremist rhetoric.

How you can have those three facts presented to you and for you to consider yourself 'thoughtful' is beyond me.

You are just as delusional as anyone else in the GOP.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

This column sounds like a Journolist call=-to-arms.

Posted by: drjohn3 | August 16, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

@Ethat2010: "We need to expose these under-the-radar lists"

Why do you need to expose non-secret lists?

"The facts are that: 1) you cannot recognize your own total failure of logic in making an argument based on false choices"

You don't ever actually have to convince anybody of anything much, do you?

"You are just as delusional as anyone else in the GOP."

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, although I wonder why, given your opinion of me, you bother to engage me at all. It would seem to make more sense to ignore me.

Well, anyhoo, delusional though I may be: best to ya, and have a great day!

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 16, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

drjohn3 and the rest of you kool aid drinkers sipping at the Fox watering hole.

Nobody here gives a rat's arse about journolist!!!

This country is ready to throw out the first amendment...the 14th and the 19th amendments and it isn't because of a cabal of journolisters Jeez buy some new tin foil for your hats please..talk about irrelevant points but that's pretty much what all your drivel is...irrelevant.

Posted by: rukidding7 | August 16, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"Why do you need to expose non-secret lists?"

Because they are filled with lies and distortions, and because these lies and distortions about the President of the United States of America and the government of the United States of America DAMAGE our country. They should be repudiated by every single American, including you, but they are not because people like you are somehow able to TOLERATE these lies and TOLERATE the damage they cause to our country because you are a political partisan and a liar.

"best to ya, and have a great day!"

You're being sanctimonious, but thank you. You too.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | August 16, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Sargent: You keep drawing lines in the sand. First, you disparaged mosque opponents who made the distinction between recognizing the right to place Cordoba House on Park Place and the endorsing the wisdom of their doing so. When President Obama availed himself of the same distinction, you dropped that argument.

Now you make a new distinction. It is fine, you say magnanimously, "for Republicans to argue the case against the center on the merits," since "the same First Amendment that protects the right of the group to build the center also protects the right of conservatives to make a case against it." However, "it's another thing entirely if Republicans adopt criticism of Obama's speech as part of a CONCERTED ELECTORAL STRATEGY."

How is the latter entirely different from the former? Opposing Cordoba House is legitimate but opposing it in a politically coordinated, systematic fashion is illegitimate? The same First Amendment that protects the freedoms of religion and speech also protects the freedom of association. If Republicans have your permission to say that the mosque location is a bad idea, why can't they say so to anyone, including campaign consultants, in any manner, including speeches and campaign ads? And if it's something one Republican can say, why can't scores or hundreds of Republicans say the same?

Posted by: dufffy98 | August 16, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Quislings in both parties (from Bloomberg to Obama) have already politicized this issue. They've trotted out smears of racists, fascists, Islamophobes, xenophobes, Neanderthals-- the whole Star Wars cantina of boogeymen and cranks standing opposed to poor, innocent Imam Rauf.

Now they shriek full-throated about (*gasp*) "a spasm of nativist panic". Does that (alleged) "panic" include "nativist" Muslim-Americans opposed to sharia vendors of Cordoba House?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/06/AR2010080603006.html

But when patriotic Americans object to stealth jihadists-- and (yes) that accurately describes the Cordoba House cabal-- opening a 9/11 snuff porn vendor emporium (and jihadi recruitment center) on the hallowed graves of Ground Zero-- Leftist hypocrits shriek with indignation!

American Muslims may be the very soul of moderation. But I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Americans to ask for more from (allegedly) “peaceful” Cordoba House jihadists than insincere bromides and disingenuous whitewashing of uncomfortable elements of Islamic sharia law, as practiced by the Cordoba House cabal and their financial sponsors.

A genuine tiny minority of anti-jihadist Muslims may be found @
http://secularislam.org/blog/post/SI_Blog/21/The-St-Petersburg-Declaration

Americans remain breathless in anticipation of the sharia law vendors of Cordoba House supporting this genuinely tiny minority of their co-religionists-- but don’t hold your breath.

When will areligious Leftists support Secular Islam advocates' right to live free from the sharia law intimidation of Cordoba House Islamo-supremacists?

Be advised these sharia-fascists have their eyes on your throat, too.

"Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!" [Matthew 23:24]

Greg (and his ObaMedia ilk) created this delusional demonization campaign against patriotic Americans opposed to the mosque-- yet now they have the temerity to climb up on their hind legs and howl about politicizing the debate?

Patriotic Americans can always tell when you're hitting all the right notes-- when the Quislings start warning you to shut up.

Booga-Booga!

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 16, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Gregs words should be regarded as an open threat from the Obamedia to intensify their slander war.

Be prepared to be tarred by these neo-Pravda mouthpieces as racists, fascists, Islamophobes, xenophobes, Neanderthals, etc., ad nauseum.

They sense that they can't win the argument on the merits; so it's time to fling the smears and slanders.

Go to hell, Greg.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 16, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Greg's campaign to "denounce" (DENOUNCE!) political opponents of Cordoba House has chilling echoes of the Moscow Trials during Stalin's Great Purge. After being denounced by their comrades, many of those defendants were executed.

This naked reflex to ideological purges from the paranoid Left is shocking.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 16, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Yea, it is all about the rights of private property, correct?

BS.

Please tell me why they are able to stop Walmart from building in NYC on PRIVATE PROPERTY but they cannot stop this atrocity from occurring?

Why, because LIBS hate Walmart and aren't opposed to Man-Caused Disasters apparently.

You LIBS make me nauseous and I CANNOT WAIT until November when the whole country is going to show you how sick and tired we are of your destroying this country with your junk.

Posted by: TerpAndy | August 16, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

It seems to my that all of you Social-Liberals will not rest until you have ruined America. This Mosque is nothing more that a Trojan Horse. It can not be permitted to be built in the selected location, and this has NOTHING at all to do with the Constitution. The Freedom of Religion Right always permits Free Worship (Or not to worship) but it does not give anyone the right to build churches, temples, mosques wherever anyone wants them. Zoning Laws have set aside the places where these things can be built. It seems to me that bowing to the Islamic Radicals by allowing them to erect what will been seen around the Muslim World as a Monument TO the Jihadists who attacked us on 9/11 would be a huge mistake. But one you and your ilk would love to see America make. Read more on my two blogsites. unitedfederation (dot)blogspot (dot) com, or temporal-reality (dot)biz

Posted by: Berezan | August 16, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Examine the authors’ “overheated rhetoric” charge in light of these sentiments;

“Muslims are the vilest of animals…”
“Show mercy to one another, but be ruthless to Muslims”
“How perverse are Muslims!”
“Strike off the heads of Muslims, as well as their fingertips”
“Fight those Muslims who are near to you”
“Muslim mischief makers should be murdered or crucified”

Hate speech? Incitement to violence? Sounds like it to me; but a knowledgeable Muslim would have to disagree.

Why would Cordoba House Muslims not consider this to be hate speech? How is it that I can post these quotes with full certainty that Cordoba House won’t be contacting WaPo Editors (or Congress) with wild-eyed accusations of Islamophobia?
http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Articles/Quran_Hate.htm

Don’t be an open advocate for Islamo-supremacism your whole career, Greg.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 16, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

ROTFLMAO! Gee, Greg. Who knew Harry Reid (D-NV) was a member of the GOP?

"Reid: Build mosque elsewhere"
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hHYUXhXg36rpzKeUva55Llvea41AD9HKOTM04

The Senate's top Democrat says a mosque should not be built near the site of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada on Monday became the highest profile Democrat to break with President Barack Obama, who on Friday backed the right for the developers to build a mosque near ground zero.

"In a statement, Reid said the first amendment protects freedom of religion and he respects that, but the mosque should be built somewhere else..."

[Let the Obamedia's Soviet-style show trial denunciations begin!]

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 16, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Interesting commentary from Religious Freedom Coalition chairman William J. Murray:

"President Obama's statement in favor of a mosque at Ground Zero is in deep contrast to ignoring the plight of St. Nicholas, the only church destroyed on 9-11. It has still not been rebuilt because of government red tape."

http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/7476714703.html

Nine years have passed and a Christian church is still not allowed to be built near Ground Zero.

Okpulot Taha
Choctaw Nation

Posted by: PurlGurl | August 16, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Greg, man, if I were you'd I'd be hiding under a rock after your serial pratfalls. It's been embarrassing watching you.

To answer your question: 400 of your fellow JournoListers will predictably denounce the GOP.

Posted by: happyacres | August 16, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

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