The rise in the belief that Pres. Obama is a Muslim is due to a concerted effort from the right. Barack Obama and his team should have learned this lesson from the ’90s, but instead they were too busy running from that reality. It’s why conservatives have jumped on the Corboda House issue, and why the White House political team’s bungling of it is so deadly. Like health care last August, we’ve got another festering issue out there when the public’s mood is set on fume. Pamela Geller, Newt Gingrich 9/11 rally against the mosque planned for September is going to set the stage for an emotional engine that will drive November elections. Numbers on the economy make it worse, but the bonfire hasn’t begun to blaze.
Long before President Obama waded into the vociferous debate over a mosque near Ground Zero, a group of conservative writers and bloggers critical of Islam had seized on the issue and helped transform it into a national political spectacle.
While some have dismissed them as bigoted attention-seekers, their attacks on the proposed Islamic center in Lower Manhattan have gained currency in recent weeks among some Republican leaders. And their influence appears to be growing.
They are organizing a Sept. 11 rally against the mosque that will feature former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich. They advise the FBI and other government security agencies on the threats posed by Islamic radicalism, headline “tea party” events and attract millions of readers concerned or curious about Islam to Web sites with names such as Jihad Watch, Creeping Sharia and Stop Islamization of America. [...]
Back in 2006 I took on Pamela Geller, when John Bolton made her his favorite wingnut stenographer. The graphic at that link is a parody of Geller’s own, which the Washington Post mentions today.
This is how the right fights: dirty, relentlessly and they take no prisoners. Obama’s presidency could actually rest in the fact that Republicans go for broke, while Democrats turn the other cheek. The Democratic majority’s unwillingness to make an issue of Bush-Cheney malfeasance on foreign policy and many other matters once again illustrating that as much as Obama talked about bringing a gun to the fight, all the American people have seen so far is words and capitulation to conservatives that is not only dangerous, but to Obama’s presidency may prove deadly.
John Kerry slept while the swift-boaters worked one lazy August summer, because he doubted they could cement their message; now Pres. Obama goes on a 10-day vacation, while the right revs up their base, trusting the fortunes of his political future to the hot summer wind. No doubt he needs and has earned the vacation, but like Kerry it could come at a cost.
See, Newt, Geller and their gang would love to rev things up for the midterms, but they have a loftier target in their sights, which the Cordoba House issue simply allows them to amplify. They’re already plotting for 2012, hoping to plant their anti Obama hatred deep enough to wrench Jewish voters away from Democrats, a goal that has been on their minds from the start.
Whether the Cordoba House is moved or not hardly matters at this point. The rallying cry on 9/11 this year will be the funnel through which the right’s fury will be lit for the midterms. There isn’t a similar fire on the Democratic Left, which is no one’s fault but Pres. Obama, who chose to listen to a team of triangulating, concession fetishists, who believed that courting conservatives was more important than listening to his base and movement progressives who know how to wage a fight.
The Ides of August could fell the Democrats again.