Commentary Magazine


How Bad?

How bad is the Ground Zero mosque story for the White House? Bad enough that Obama advisers are pointing fingers at the president and trying to absolve themselves of the fiasco. Politico reports:

Prior to the decision, [Rahm] Emanuel and Obama’s communications staff vividly — and presciently — predicted that Obama would be handing Republicans a weapon to batter Democrats as weak-kneed on terrorism three months before the midterms, according to several people familiar with the situation.

In other words, not our fault! Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, the president’s most devoted cheerleaders for the most extreme liberal positions, were all for it, you see. But not Emanuel and the communications team because they are smart enough — they remind us — to tell Obama what a harebrained idea this was. But it wouldn’t look good, especially for Emanuel, who had his own bout of “not my fault” media coverage early in the year, to look so blatantly disloyal. So he throws in an e-mail:

“Give me a break,” Emanuel e-mailed POLITICO when asked about a press report that he had opposed the move. “We all stand behind and support the president’s decision.”

But on background, you guys should know: “not my fault!” What is clear is that Axelrod and Jarrett, arguably the most powerful of Obama’s team, also possess the worst instincts:

No one supported Obama more forcefully than Jarrett, Obama’s close friend and the administration’s liaison to the civil rights community, who told people she thought the mosque issue was a matter of core Democratic principle, according to several sources familiar with her actions.

And Axelrod, a canny tactician with a keen sensitivity to political danger, didn’t dissuade his boss from jumping in, citing his own parents’ experiences with religious persecution as Jews in Europe.

Well, I guess his sensitivity to political danger was on the fritz. And his disgusting  invocation of the Nazi analogy — make no mistake, the American people get the role of the Nazis in this one, and the Muslims are awarded the status of potential Holocaust victims – suggests his undiluted leftism has rendered him tone deaf and a severe liability for a president who needs his worst instinct to be curbed, not accentuated.

But this is a reminder that the one responsible for the White House’s egregious political malpractice and who is hermetically sealed from the concerns and values of the American people is the president. He is the only one who matters — and it is his flawed judgment and estrangement from ordinary Americans that have landed him in a ditch.