There has been much speculation that the flap over the planned 9/11 Quran burning in Florida has created a distraction for President Obama, but instead of a distraction, Obama has been given a political gift, as the man that the the Right loves to label a troop hating , socialist, Marxist is the lone leadership voice defending our troops.
Here is the video of Obama on GMA:
Obama viewed Terry Jones’ misguided publicity stunt through his Commander in Chief role, “If he’s listening, I just hope he understands that what he’s proposing to do is completely contrary to our values of Americans. That this country has been built on the notions of religious freedom and religious tolerance. And as a very practical matter, as commander of chief of the Armed Forces of the United States I just want him to understand that this stunt that he is talking about pulling could greatly endanger our young men and women in uniform who are in Iraq, who are in Afghanistan. We’re already seeing protests against Americans just by the mere threat…”
When has what he was worried about, Obama answered, “Well, look, the … this is a recruitment bonanza for Al Qaeda. You know, you could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who’d be willing to blow themselves up in American cities, or European cities. You know and so you know, I just hope that, he says he’s … he’s someone who s motivated by his faith… Yeah. I hope he listens to…those better angels. And understands that this is a destructive act that he’s engaging in.”
Compare this position to the fumbling, bumbling political spin put out there by the GOP that Quran burning is the same as the “Ground Zero Mosque,” as GOP spin bumbler in chief Sarah Palin put it, “Book burning is antithetical to American ideals. People have a constitutional right to burn a Koran if they want to, but doing so is insensitive and an unnecessary provocation – much like building a mosque at Ground Zero.”
I could have used John Boehner or any other faceless Republican in my example because they are all echoing the same talking point that Quran burning is the same as the Park 51 project. To date exactly one Republican leader has strongly denounced the plan to burn the Quran. Earlier today, John McCain posted on his Twitter account, “Pastor Jones’ threats to burn the Koran will put American service men/women in danger – for their sake please don’t do it!”
That’s it. One strong tweet from John McCain has been the firmest denouncement that the GOP has offered. The usual leadership vacuum in the GOP has created a golden opportunity for President Obama to enjoy strong public support on an issue that is a no brainer for Democrats, Republicans, and everyone in the middle. Burning the Quran is anti-American anytime, but burning the Quran while hundreds of thousands of US troops are still serving in the Middle East, will undoubtedly cost young American soldiers their lives.
This isn’t a tough one, but since the Republicans are paralyzed by a fear of their own base, the best they can offer is a wishy-washy half answer, lest they alienate all of those white Americans who they are attempting to terrify into voting Republican this November with nightmares of Muslim bogeymen and “Ground Zero Mosques.” Republicans have been boxed in by their own fear mongering, which means that in strictly political terms, one crazy publicity seeking right wing nut job in Florida, has managed to give Obama a platform to offer something that Republicans can’t muster, sane, common sense, leadership.
The language of the Right’s “Ground Zero Mosque” debate is what emboldened Terry Jones to up the ante of Muslim fear and hate. In this context, burning the Quran is the logical outcome of the “Ground Zero Mosque” terror and intolerance campaign. While Right Wing rhetoric gives birth to Quran burning, President Obama is able occupy the political territory that the Republicans feel entitlement and ownership of. President Obama is advocating for, supporting, and protecting the troops.
It must drive Republicans mad to see the man that they label as Muslim, Socialist, military hater standing up for the troops. Obama is standing up for their troops. Republicans have spent three decades claiming a mythic dominion over God, flag, and country, but one lone extremist in Florida has managed to demolish their shaky ideological house of cards. Terry Jones’ and his Quran burning plan gave Obama a political gift, but this presidential political bounty originated in the festering loins of the Republican Party.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association