August 16, 2010

Ugh. Why is it so difficult to find Democrats not eager to bow to the craven fear-mongering of Republican rivals? TPM:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has now spoken out on the Muslim community center in New York -- saying that while the organizers are free to construct the project, it should be moved somewhere else.

"The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else," said a statement from Reid spokesman Jim Manley. "If the Republicans are being sincere, they would help us pass this long overdue bill to help the first responders whose health and livelihoods have been devastated because of their bravery on 911, rather than continuing to block this much-needed legislation."

Fer cryin' out loud. Reid is running scared because of rival Sharron Angle's taunts that Reid is Obama's waterboy by the lizard brains who want to equate all Muslims with terrorism and 9/11.

"As the Majority Leader, Harry Reid is usually President Obama's mouthpiece in the U.S. Senate, and yet he remains silent on this issue. Reid has a responsibility to stand up and say no to the mosque at Ground Zero or once again side with President Obama---this time against the families of 9/11 victims. America is waiting."

And of course, he caves. Saying that they have a First Amendment right to build it isn't that revolutionary a stance to take. One would hope that the Majority Leader of the Senate has at least a cursory understanding of the Constitution (which is, by the way, more than we can say for Angle). But to say that they should move it is to play into the irrational hatred and bigotry of the lowest common denominator and something for which Reid should be wholly ashamed. Greg Sargent:

Despite Reid's reaffirmation of this right, his response is still weak and indefensible. And it leaves the President hanging after he took a big risk to do the right thing. Obama did not explicitly endorse the decision to build the center. But Obama did say that if the group does proceed with that decision, we must respect that decision, in accordance with American values.

Reid is not willing to say that. Rather, he's saying, in effect, that even if he supports the group's right to build the center, he's not willing to respect the decision to do so. That's unacceptable, and leaves Obama isolated at a very sensitive moment.

What's more, it's unclear why coming out against the plan in the manner Reid did is even good politics for Democrats at this point. Reid basically threw the whole Dem caucus under the bus: With the Senate leader at odds with the president, the media will press every Senate Dem to declare which side they're on.

Dumb, Harry. On every level. Even Republican advisers like Mark McKinnon think that pursuing this is a loser for Republicans. Why do you need to be a loser too?

Want to tell Harry that he needs to smarten up? Contact him here.

UPDATE: Haaretz is claiming that the Cordoba House has decided to move, something Cordoba House representatives are denying.

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