Exactly What Does Bill Kristol Want Obama to do About the Not-A-Mosque-Which-Isn't-At-Ground-Zero?
Here's Bill Kristol giving Obama some advice because he's a nice guy and totally wants the president to succeed (Via E.D. Kaine at Balloon Juice):
So: No tax hikes, no Afghanistan deadline, no Ground Zero mosque. It’s really pretty easy. They’re all the right thing to do (as you surely know with respect to Afghanistan and the mosque, and must suspect with regard to taxes). Doing these three things will stabilize your approval rating and could lead to an uptick before the election. November will be rough but not disastrous. Then major cuts in domestic discretionary spending in the budget early next year, and military action against the Iranian nuclear program—and you’ll have a real shot at a successful presidency.Start another disastrous war, wreck the budget even further and use the government to pursue a bizarre wingnut obsession -- another Terri Schiavo kind of thing -- and you can have a presidency as successful as that of George W! On that last point, I'd like to know what Kristol and his fellow travellers would have the government do about the Park 51 project. Do they favor amending the Constitution -- modifying the 1st Amendment's separation of church and state? Declaring the area around the WTC site a national park (meaning the Starbuck's and Cohen's Optical on the same block would have to go)? What would they have the President of the United States do about this project they're not fond of? For some reason, Americans from all over the country have decided that Manhattan real estate is their business somehow, and the polls show that a majority disapprove of the project (the only exception being Manhattanites themselves, who favor it by a 46-36 spread). Nate Silver made a good point about those polls last week:
Another problem with both the Quinnipiac and Ramsussen polls is that it's a bit ambiguous what it means to "support" or "oppose" the project in this context. I imagine there is a spectrum of about five different positions that one might take on Cordoba House: 1) I support the project: its goals seem laudable, and it would be a welcome addition to the neighborhood. 2) I am indifferent about the project itself -- I can see the arguments both for it and against it. But this is a free country, and the developers certainly have a right to express themselves. 3) I'd rather that the project weren't built, especially so near to Ground Zero. But it's certainly not the government's business to stop its construction. 4) I'm opposed to the project and hope that it isn't built. But I'm indifferent about whether or not the City should act to stop it. 5) I'm definitely opposed to the project, and the City should exercise its authority to prevent it from being built. Arguably, responses 3 through 5 all qualify as "opposition" to the project, whereas only the first one indicates clear support. But one's personal position on the mosque is not necessarily the same as thinking that the City should take affirmative steps to prohibit its construction by eminent domain laws by or other means, a position held by only those in Group 5. This is somewhat analogous to asking: "do you support or oppose flag-burning?". Without additional context, it would be quite natural for someone to say they opposed it, but they might nevertheless consider it to be Constitutionally protected activity. Likewise, while Cordoba House is clearly not popular, none of the polling speaks to whether a proposal like Paladino's would find much support.FYI: "Paladino" is GOP gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino, who proposed using eminent domain to halt construction on Park51.