Well, it sure wasn't the result of a bunch of “focus groups”... or polls... or huddles with political advisors, election committees, re-election committees, or platform committees. And it doesn't seem like the result of any sort of “coordination” with Israel or its American lobby. And that's more than you can say about anything Bill Clinton ever did. No, Obama's stand – OK, “stance” -- on the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque” most definitely flies in the face of... just about everything and everyone. Except “tolerance” -- taken to what some would consider an extreme (but which the ACLU would have been willing to go to court for – at least in the old days).
And yet, the question has to be asked, as with everything else about Obama, “What's his game?” Because nothing – absolutely nothing – is done by him or his administration without painstakingly considering all political ramifications – present and future (or, at least as far into the future as the next election, which is coming up in less than 3 months). Now, given that their idea of “political ramifications” is predicated on, basically, ignoring everyone in “flyover country” and concentrating on the coasts and the urban elite... and based on their worldview that the main thing wrong with this country is that it's not yet collectivized enough, and the government is not yet big enough... it still took a bit of chutzpah to stand up and say that, to quote the article, “opposing the project is at odds with American values.” And – direct quote -- “Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as anyone else in this country.” Which, of course, goes directly against the opinions of all Christian fundamentalists and, I suspect, many Jews. See, when it comes to American history and American tolerance, just being a monotheist is not enough. They have a different holy book! So that right there is grounds for deep suspicion... although the Mormons seem to have passed that hurdle without much difficulty. (But they have an entire state all to themselves... which brings up the possibility of an all-Moslem state in the U.S. Think the American public would go for that? We may get a chance to find out.)
So right away you have to expect a revival of the theory that Obama is a “crypto-Muslim”... although I suspect “crypto-non-Christian” is closer to the truth. (And don't be confused by his erstwhile church attendance; those urban “black churches” are more like political clubs than what the rest of us have come to expect. Think: liberal Episcopalians with toe-tappin' music, and you've about got it.) And to further aggravate the matter, he made the statement “at a White House dinner [iftar} marking the holy month of Ramadan”. Yikes! When's the last time the White House hosted an Islamic celebration? I think “never” might be the correct answer. I mean, we're used to all sorts of (Protestant) Christian and Jewish goings-on in the White House... but this is beyond the pale. And of course, there were – as there had to be -- “other religious leaders” present, including, I'm sure, at least one rabbi, who is probably right now in intensive care at George Washington University Hospital.
Another quote from Obama: “Our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable.” Well – that commitment has been “shaken” plenty of times throughout American history; anyone remember the anti-Catholic riots in the pre-Civil War era? And the persecution of the Mormons (and I don't think it was just about polygamy)? Plus, the problem is that we are now engaged in the first bonafide religious war in our history – and don't give me that “but it's just against the violent radicals” business. Even if that were true, the Moslem world does not buy it – as far as they're concerned we're engaged in a new crusade... a war against all of Islam and all of its adherents. And this may, in fact, provide a clue as to what Obama is up to. We have, at this point, made enemies, or potential enemies, of the vast majority of all Moslems on earth – and that is a substantial number. “Foreign fighters” continue to pour into Iraq and Afghanistan to take up arms against our troops... and many Islamic countries are holding their breath, waiting to see where we'll strike next (Iran and Yemen being at the top of the list, according to most calculations). So what better time to throw the Moslems a bone than right now, and in connection with a controversy that has – say it with me – absolutely no bearing on national security, and which is highly unlikely to erode any of Obama's core support. Plus, not to forget, many American blacks (the core of the core) are either Moslems or Moslem sympathizers, so this could help keep them on the reservation as well. And as far as the fundamentalists are concerned, Obama didn't get a single vote from them in 2008 and is unlikely to want or need their votes in 2012. But this does leave, let's admit, “moderate Democrats” (i.e., mere socialists as opposed to communists) a bit in the lurch, since they depend more on that mysterious voting bloc called “independents” -- and some of those (again, in flyover country) might not take too kindly to this apparent appeasement of the Moslems. And then we have, last but far from least, the Jews – and they have been strangely silent on this issue from the start... and I refer to both American Jews and Israelis. They are one group that doesn't seem to care one way or the other about the “Ground Zero Mosque”, preferring to leave the heavy lifting to their Christian Zionist friends. It seems that they've chosen their battles wisely in this case... and that they're going to let Obama do, and say, whatever it takes to advance the larger agenda, without busting his chops. And this, to me, is a very important data point – because if the Jews don't mind, then they might as well be in favor, since they are never known to be neutral about anything. And if they did mind, they'd be raising a stink, just like the fundamentalists are doing. So what I'm saying is that not only are Obama's statements not “anti-Semitic” -- they're likely to be part of an overall strategy that has been thoroughly vetted by the Jewish community, the Israeli lobby, and Israel itself. Throw the Moslems a bone (a halal bone, of course) and defuse some of that anger, but stay the course, foreign policy-wise and militarily. It's really a masterpiece of triangulation if that's what's going on, and I'm willing to bet that it is.