Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Obama’s Ground Zero Hoorah Unmatched

Democrats and their media enablers have fallen into the habit of using George W. Bush (when not bashing him) as a shield to deflect Obama’s inanities. Sometimes the comparison is factually deficient (as with civilian trials for terrorists), but it’s a childish game that only succeeds if their rhetorical opponents insist on defending everything Bush ever said or did. Conservatives need not play that game.

Dear conservatives, here’s a demonstration of how one disarms those taunting the “Bush did it too! line”:

The practice of hosting an annual iftar was established by George W. Bush in November of 2001. It was an extremely ill-conceived effort to persuade the world in the period immediately following the Islamofascist slaughter of 3,000 Americans that we were not Islam-allergic, and it remains so today, almost a decade later. Islamofascists are still trying, and succeeding, to kill Americans, and no amount of genuflecting at White House dinners will make it otherwise.

The same, I would suggest, is true of the dopey idea of appointing an envoy to the Organization of Islamic Conference. It was a bad idea for Bush to do it; it’s a disaster in an administration addicted to apologizing to and for the Muslim World.

And, as with so many other things, the Bush error with regard to Iftar is made much worse by Obama’s stomach-turning tendency to laddle out the obsequiousness on all matters Islam (“the Obamic endorsement of the Ground Zero Mosque project, an act of appeasement on the order of his Cairo speech and his flirtation with the despots of Iran”). Really, was it necessary for Obama to doff his cap to the Ground Zero mosque from the Iftar fest — as if to emphasize just how deep is his concern for the Muslim World and how critical it is to shield them from the whiff of criticism or scrutiny? And how brave the president was — you know, to put this out as the ultimate Friday news dump, after lawmakers and many pundits had scampered away for the weekend.

Then to top it off, when the howls of protest went up, Obama retreated (sort of) – no doubt, to the dismay of his comrades on the left — and claimed he really wasn’t offering anything but a legal analysis:

“I was not commenting and I will not comment on the wisdom of making the decision to put a mosque there,” Obama continued. “I was commenting very specifically on the right people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country is about. And I think it’s very important as difficult as some of these issues are that we stay focused on who we are as a people and what our values are all about.”

But his comments Friday night were widely interpreted as an endorsement of plans to build a mosque a few blocks away from where nearly 3,000 Americans perished at the hands of Islamic terrorists on 9/11 – an interpretation the White House hadn’t disputed, up until Obama’s comments in Florida.

This is how one goes about alienating conservatives, liberals, and everyone in between.

All in all, this is as unseemly a performance (and there have been plenty) as this president has given. Well, maybe it’s a tie with his “condemnation” of Israel for — oh yes — building in the Jewish state’s own capital. Because while Obama believes that Muslims have “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,” regardless of who it annoys and offends, he considers it an unacceptable affront to him and his Palestinian clients for Jews to build apartments in their eternal capital. Funny, how that works out. (And notice how in consecutive paragraphs Obama goes from “hallowed ground” to “private property in Lower Manhattan.”)

Conservatives infuriated (but not surprised) by the president’s remarks might ponder three comforting thoughts. First, all the Democrats on the 2010 ballot — and maybe 2012 — will face the question as to whether they buy into Obama cheerleading for the Ground Zero mosque.

Second, in the speculation department, perhaps this shows just how indifferent Obama is to the notion that he, to earn a second term, will have to bridge the chasm between his core beliefs and those of the voters. (Could he have been serious when he said he wasn’t much concerned with a second term?)

And finally, if Obama tries an “oh never mind” defense (is he simply trying now to confuse everyone about what he thinks?), he’s going to manage to further depress and infuriate his own base, who understood him to be championing for the mosque builders but now see what a mess he’s made of the entire affair. (Former Democratic Rep. Martin Frost: “I would prefer the president be a little more of a politician and a little less of a college professor. … While a defensible position [which one of his positions is Frost referring to, I wonder], it will not play well in the parts of the country where Democrats need the most help.”)

In sum, this is the low point (so far!) of the Obama presidency, an embarrassment to his supporters (whatever their stance on the Ground Zero mosque) and another dollop of bad news for the Democrats. But, most important, it is a tragedy that we should have such a president at such a time. We will have to muddle through in spite of him.