Ezra Klein is stumped. (There’s a lot of that going on at his paper.) The man who couldn’t figure out the motive for the Times Square bomber — the mortgage crisis was his best guess — can’t figure out why Republicans are “trumpeting” the Ground Zero mosque issue. You mean like giving a speech from an iftar dinner at the White House? Oh, that wasn’t the sinister GOP. But, really, he’s supposed to be some sort of political pundit, and he can’t figure this out? Well — aside from it being the right position in the eyes of conservatives — 68 percent of the country is with the GOP. The issue highlights the chasm between liberal elites and the majority of Americans, and it has the Democrats tied up in knots. It’s so obvious that even Ezra Klein knows what is going on. So why the play-dumb routine?
It’s about keeping hope alive — giving liberals comfort (albeit, false comfort) that the issue is actually a loser for the GOP. (“It loses them long-term votes that they just don’t need to lose. It paints their party as intolerant and opportunistic. And it’s unnecessary: It’s not like they’re hurting for things to talk about.”) Well, it’s true that the GOP has an embarrassment of riches — the non-recovery, ObamaCare, the unemployment numbers, Obama’s anti-Israel stance, etc. — to talk about. But that would suggest the Ground Zero mosque is an issue that ranks up there with historic high dissatisfaction with president’s’ handling of the economy.
Moreover, it is odd to lob the Ground Zero mosque and immigration reform (“And why, a week or two ago, did they start talking about the 14th amendment?”) into the pot labeled “social issues.” Ah, but if you are trying to rile up the liberal base using “social issues” and “conservatives” in the same sentence, it may be quite effective. And don’t get me wrong: I’ve made clear my opposition to mucking around in the 14th Amendment, but I can understand why they are doing it and backing the Arizona bill. (These are popular positions, to my dismay.)
This is the problem with the Post’s offering of Klein as a political pundit. He’s not engaged in any serious analysis; rather, he’s using the Post to gin up his base. He is pretending to be confused about the phenomena the Post is paying him to cover. He ends with this missive to the home team:
Is the mosque — and the social issues more generally — driven by elites? Or by rank-and-file? Does the GOP want to talk about the social issues because they prefer it to talking about the economy or because they don’t feel like they have a choice?
No one other than a Democratic flack thinks the Republicans don’t want to talk about the economy. There’s nothing wrong with opining analysis (I of all people acknowledge that) — even for a publication that pretends to be a straight-news outlet. But when it becomes the very thing that Klein’s JournoListers were criticized for (partisan politics in aid of the Obama team under the guise of “journalism”), isn’t it time for the Post to rethink its jump into the leftist blogosphere?