The furor over the mosque being built near Ground Zero has exposed the "pretensions" of politicians on both sides of the aisle, says Peter Beinart at The Daily Beast. It has revealed the GOP to be "a party seething with hatred towards vulnerable religious and ethnic groups." But it has also proven the Democrats to be utter cowards at best, and opportunists, if not "actual bigots," at worst. Faced with an "anti-Muslim stampede," they stand mostly silent. In 2008, Obama promised that a party under his leadership would stand up for what was right, and not consult opinion polls to decide what it ought to believe in. What happened? Here, an excerpt:
"[Obama's] initial statement in support of the mosque was laudable; his subsequent efforts to deny that that's what he meant have been pathetic. Yes, the polling is bad; standing up for a religious minority being made to feel like a pariah in its own land might cost Obama a few approval points. So what. Core convictions are worth losing approval points over.
...In the end, it doesn't much matter what it's in your heart if you lack the backbone to express it. That was the rap against Democrats in the Clinton and Bush eras and evidently, the more things change, the more they stay the same."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why the West should let Russia have eastern Ukraine
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The dangers of our passionless American life
- 4 strategies for organizing your money, based on your personality
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The essential techniques that every home cook should know
- The amazing resurrection of Mitt Romney
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- How America's broken immigration system is failing the military
Subscribe to the Week