This weekend, President Obama pulled a John Kerry. First, he supported building the Ground Zero mosque. Then, trying desperately to distance himself from his own words, he claimed he was only dealing with the vague constitutional generalities of the case. He implausibly insisted:
My intention was to simply let people know what I thought, which was that in this country we treat everyone equally, in accordance with the law, regardless of race, regardless of religion. I was not commenting, and will not comment, on the wisdom of making a decision to put a mosque there. I was commenting very specifically on the right that people have that dates back to our founding. That’s what our country’s about, and I think it’s very important that, 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.
Ah, he wasn’t dissecting the 9/11 mosque’s “wisdom.” This sudden reticence strikes me as strange. This is practically the only issue whose wisdom our blogger-in-chief has not publicly evaluated.
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He had no trouble saying the Cambridge police were “acting stupidly” by arresting Henry Louis Gates last summer, although he acknowledged he did not have “all the facts” before he spoke. He had no problem calling the Gulf oil leak “the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced” more-or-less the instant it erupted. (We should hope he was right, since the vast majority of spilled oil has been dispersed, evaporated, or removed with minimal reported damage.) He found great wisdom in passing a stimulus bill that would never allow unemployment to reach the rate…it already has reached. His administration accused GM officials of playing chicken with the government in order to get a better bailout deal, with Obama advising them, Chicago-style, he was making an offer they couldn’t refuse.
He has certainly not shied away from controversies involving the wisdom of our relations with the Islamic world in the past. He cemented his national political career with a 2003 antiwar speech that called the invasion of Iraq a “dumb” war (certainly a wisdom-based claim). He said that alleged, undocumented excesses at Guantanamo Bay did not meet our national security objectives and accused his own country of torture. Publicly stating interrogators tortured innocent Muslims could subject U.S. soldiers to the International Criminal Court, an international institution he supports.
Meanwhile, he thought it wise to remove the word “terrorism” from the federal lexicon altogether, replacing it for some time with the phrase “man-caused disaster.”
Somehow, the idea of building a skyscraper mosque on Ground Zero is the only topic whose wisdom Obama has not addressed, the only topic that has not outraged him to the point of speaking out against it.
With his legendary thin skin, history of lashing out at everyone who crosses him, and passive aggressive defense of those hostile to the United States, one can only guess why.