Keith Olbermann: There is no ‘Ground Zero Mosque; Eleveld on Obama’s other mixed messaging problem

Posted on 17 Aug 2010 at 6:44am

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And from Politicususa.com, a good summary of Keith’s remarks (no transcript yet). A snippet:

Olbermann described the Right’s campaign as, “Yet in a country dedicated to freedom, forces have gathered to blow out of all proportion the construction of a minor community center to transform it into a training ground for terrorists, and an insult to the victims of 9/11, and a tribute to the Medieval Muslim subjugation of the West. There is in fact no Ground Zero Mosque. It isn’t a mosque. A mosque technically is a Muslim holy place where only worship can be conducted. What is planned for 45 Park Place New York City is a community center. It’s supposed to include a basketball court and a culinary school. It is to be thirteen stories tall, and the top two stories will be a Muslim prayer space. What a cauldron to terrorism that will be, terrorist chefs and terrorist point guards.”

Olbermann pointed out that since 9/11 Muslims have been at greater risk of being victims of US terrorism than non-Muslims. After he debunked Newt Gingrich’s fear mongering over the name Cordoba House, which he called a figment of Gingrich’s imagination, and the MSNBC host pointed out that the community center will be open to all New Yorkers.

He also knocked down the falsehood that the community center is located on Ground Zero, “This place Park 51 is not even at Ground Zero, not even right across the street. Even the description of it being two blocks away is generous. It is two blocks away from the northeast corner of the World Trade Center site, from the planned location of the 9/11 Memorial, it is more like four or five blocks even.” Olbermann showed that there is no view of the World Trade Center visible from the community center.

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On a related note, Kerry Eleveld’s latest column in The Advocate points out that “Obama’s mixed messaging on the mosque proposed near Ground Zero leads one to wonder why the White House is so unwilling to touch other hot-button issues.”

Like “The Homosexual Agenda“?

Well, he sure likes taking our money, huh? Just doesn’t like to step on that third rail (other than to send David Axelrod out to bleat out incoherent messaging about equality and marriage).

Obama’s position – that he defends the right to build without supporting the project – mirrors national polling numbers. While one poll found that about 64% of voters believe proponents should be able to build, another poll found that 68% oppose the plan itself.

The situation brings several questions to the fore.

First, what exactly is the administration’s communications team doing? They either miscalculated the national mood or they misjudged how the president’s words would be received on Friday. But they unquestionably should have seen flashes of the firestorm to come from Sarah Palin and her cronies eons before they sent the president out to carry the torch for democracy.

Or is it possible that the president and his advisers understood exactly where this was headed but just couldn’t take the heat once they stepped into the pit? No matter what the answer, the White House squandered the president’s most precious commodity: his word – his compact of trust with the American people.

And here’s another stumper. The same CNN poll showing that more than 2/3 of Americans opposed the project was also the very first poll in history to find that a majority of Americans (52% to 46%) believe gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry.

Now marriage polls do see-saw even as they continue to trend toward equality and a Public Policy Poll late last week found that 57% of voters still think same-sex marriage should be illegal. But the fact remains that both of those polls show less opposition to marriage equality than to the Mosque project, and I can’t help but puzzle at the White House’s willingness to broach one subject while they continue to run away from the other as if it’s too hot touch.

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