Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has joined forces with the voices of hyperbole -- Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani -- in demonizing a community center in New York City. Yes, Reid is singing in the Republican chorus, mouthing the words of "Strip Clubs and Bars As Hallowed Ground" and "It's An Election Year, Stupid."
Reid, of course is "locked in a tight race" for re-election. His Republican opponent called on him to respond to President Obama's comments about religious tolerance. Someone help me understand why the citizens of Nevada should (a) care and (b) have a say in what happens on private property in New York City? How would Las Vegas feel if the southern Bible-belt could have its way with Las Vegas, hmmm?
But it's an election year and politicians pander, maybe because that's what the consultants tell them that they have to do to get elected. In today's environment, it's unlikely a consultant would advise someone to actually speak like a leader! Could Eisenhower be elected today? (I digress.)
Don't believe me? Responding to President Obama's remarks about religious tolerance, The Fix reports:
A senior Democratic consultant offered this: "He is right on substance but wrong on politics and right now we need to focus on politics."
"We needed this right now like a hole in the head," said a senior Democratic consultant. "At a time when we need to be playing offense on economics, this puts us back on defense."
And you wonder why the average citizen cares not one whit for politics?
I've read the polls: 6-in-10 Americans think there it's not "appropriate" to "build a mosque and Islamic Center near Ground Zero" (pdf). Little reported: 6-in-10 Americans also believe that the group has a right to build "a mosque there."
Recognize that most people (4-in-5) aren't following this issue closely. Given the media coverage of political rantings -- soundbites as the basis of opinion -- as well as the fact that most folks polled have probably never set foot in Manhattan (and thus cannot visualize the neighborhood), the wonder is that public opinion is this divided.
I'm old enough to remember when some politicians were willing to do the right thing: think LBJ and the Civil Rights Act, for example. But today, rather than try to counter propaganda with reason, "leaders" pander.
But you don't have to listen to them. You can learn the facts, even if too many of our political leaders seem dismissive of them.