I'm with Greenwald on his take, both in his take that the President deserved effusive praise for his apparent willingness to buck public sentiment in support of an actual (rather than corporate) "American value" in the President's apparent backing of the now infamous vicinity of the World Trade Center mosque and Islamic cultural center, and then the prompt withdrawal of that effusive praise when the inevitable political sh*t-storm followed, and the President did what I would have expected him to do, and "qualified" his remarks, as Greenwald notes, replacing an act of political courage with a non-sequitur about "the right" to build a particular religious building... while refusing to support the project itself.
WTF? There was a time in this country when the majority of its people favored slavery (one wonders just how many around might favor it-- as long as it involved, you know, them, even now... just saying...). Supposedly, we have a constitution and a representative government and courts and checks and balances so that the excesses of public opinion and the desire for small "m" mob rule (as opposed to the actual large "M" mob as in corporate mafia who actually runs our country) prevent trampling on the fundamental rights of minorities, particularly unpopular ones.
And it looked, for a shining day, while he seemingly supported "the mosque," like the President had found his voice, and was in his finest hour, on the side of the angels. Instead, as usual... we see that he's on the side of the angles.
Not, of course, as Steve of No More Mister Nice Blog observes, is there any chance that the President's calming, sensible words (for the few hours that applied) would quell the rage of a huge part of our body politic... but the usual suspects will still attribute the worst motives to the President no matter what. So, the thing is, while there was arguably no "political" gain in making the "risky" seemingly pro- mosque statement, similarly, once it was made, there was no particular gain to be made in taking it back either! And yet... he did.
If (and I don't discount this) "the plan" is to follow up on Charlie Rangel's petulance and general ickiness by forcing marginal members of Congress to have to campaign in the shadow of this "no-win" wedge issue and do what their Democratic (i.e. "chicken sh*t") instincts tell them to do (that would be to dissemble and cower), the White House may just get its wish and manage to lose one (or preferably both) houses of Congress yet... then that plan seems to be working beautifully.
Of course, not that any of this makes any difference... unless you think about it, of course (so few people do that... about anything.) Religious tolerance was one of those things that actually made this country special. It seems... that's just too much to ask for many of its people these days. And our "leader" is more interested in covering his tush than in... you know... "leading." Ever thus, I suppose. But still... one can feel a certain discomfort.