President Obama’s position on the Ground Zero mosque, and how he expressed that opinion, is a sign that Obama still apparently operates (even after so many teachable moments to the contrary) under the impression that his opinion moves mountains. Jonathan Last makes this point better than I could:
In any event, no matter what the event: the Chicago Olympic bid, the climate-change summit, the healthcare legislative process, Martha Coakley’s campaign, Jon Corzine’s campaign, people were always trotting out the line that, “Hey, things aren’t going so great for him right now, but once he gives a cracker-jack speech, public opinion will turn around.”
Mind you, public opinion never did.
But what’s amazing about this morning is that Obama has finally weighed in on the Ground Zero mosque with exactly the position everyone expected from America’s first secret Muslim Pacific president. (I kid!) Yet so far as I can tell, no one, anywhere is even bothering to pretend that Obama might turn public opinion on the mosque around. When even the courtiers stop pretending that the emperor looks fly, the emperor has a problem.
The opinion itself is a ludicrous and shameful one. It accepts a storyline about the Cordoba group which has already been roundly disproven (the silly truth about this whole incident is that it has more to do with sinking Manhattan property values than any religious demands), a view of religious freedom and of property rights Obama himself has previously rejected (see his nonresponse to Kelo, though don’t worry, he’s still opposed to same-sex marriage), and vacuous words about 9/11 that indicate a profound disconnect with what this mosque means for thousands of people. And, of course, this little fact.
For the first time, I wonder if Obama even wants more than one term.
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