We're told that the construction of a Muslim cultural center near the World Trade Center site in New York has become a national issue. So here's my take on it:
1. It's not a mosque. It's a cultural center. They don't even have the facts right.
2. Whether or not the Cordoba Center gets built is a non-issue, having nothing whatever to do with a single actual problem facing the Republic or the world, or its solution. It means as little as Obama's appearance without a flag pin in his lapel, or his temerity in delivering an entirely uncontroversial address to school children, or his vacation time with his family, or any of a dozen similar non-issues.
3. It's become an issue because of naked bigotry. Period.
4. Naked bigotry, however clothed, is, as is increasingly obvious, basic to right wing politics.
5. The subtext is the oft-stated claim that Obama is a closet Muslim, hates America, wants to destroy Israel, and appears weak, accommodationist and appeasing before an implacable enemy.
6. Because of the unacknowledged subtext, arguing the surface issue of the center's construction will never, ever address the real issue, and will therefore be fruitless.
7. Obama conceding that it shouldn't be built would be catastrophic for his presidency, and wouldn't win him a single vote on the right, while alienating his base further, setting back America's relationship with a billion and a half Muslims throughout the world, boosting recruitment into Al Qaeda and other irredentist, terrorist groups, and compromising American interests, even narrowly and pragmatically construed.
But, then, you knew that...