The reaction of President Obama and his aides to his own speech on the Ground Zero mosque has been, and continues to be today, a disgrace and an outrage.
Bill Clinton has been spending lots of time dealing with Obama lately, and it shows. Obama is getting himself squarely on both sides of the issue while shirking his responsibility to directly address it.
It’s excusable if you believe that Obama was for the Ground Zero mosque before he was against it.
Speaking to Muslims leaders attending the White House Iftar Dinner Friday night, the president patted himself on the back for supporting freedom of religion and said Muslims have the “right” to build a mosque at Ground Zero. The remarks were widely interpreted as supportive of the project.
But wait a second, the next day Obama proclaimed that he wasn’t commenting on whether the mosque was a good idea, only that there exists a “right” to build it.
Well what a revelation. If it’s legal, there’s a right to do it. Nobody really contests that. Obama ascended a grand White House stage and with high theatrics said essentially nothing. And then he clarified the next day that he was saying nothing.
And then he said he would continue to say nothing – that is, not take a stance on the correctness of building the mosque. Because it’s his job to defend Constitutional principles from troglodytes who would trample them, his aides exclaim.
“The president thinks it’s his obligation to speak out when issues of the Constitution arise,” said White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton aboard Air Force One today. Saturday, as the uproar rippled outward over Obama’s amendment to his original remarks, Burton said, “It is not his role as President to pass judgment on every local project. But it is his responsibility to stand up for the Constitutional principle of religious freedom and equal treatment for all Americans.”
This is about as fatuous as it gets from presidents and their spinmeisters. In fact, it is an outrage.
This is NOT JUST SOME LOCAL PROJECT. It something that thousands of Americans directly affected by the 9/11 attacks and millions of the rest of us view with sincere emotion and deep gravity.
This is not the Chicago School of Law, or the Chicago School of Politics. This is the presidency, and it is Obama’s job to lead the country. And that includes commenting and offering guidance on difficult issues.
When Obama called the Arizona immigration law “misguided” and said it showed “irresponsibility,” was he delivering a lecture on the Constitution, or was he weighing in to an emotional and contentious debate?
And why did he say anything at all if IT IS NOT HIS ROLE AS PRESIDENT TO PASS JUDGMENT ON EVERY LOCAL PROJECT.
Because, he decided it was important enough to him. And in the case of those aggrieved by the sight of a mosque towering over the place where three thousand Americans were killed by terrorists proclaiming their allegiance – however warped – to Islam, it is not important enough. Or it could offend someone on Martha’s Vineyard, where he will begin vacationing Thursday.
Presidents are both the Constitutional and moral leaders of the nation. Obama knows it. Where are the notions of “hope” and “change” in the Constitution? He and his aides need to stop dressing up a craven failure to lead as high Constitutional principle.