I’m been driving around this week with a burning question in my mind: Why would President Obama support a Ground Zero Mosque (GZM) when it is opposed by 2/3rds of the American people? Given the unpopularity of this mosque, it is as if the driver of the Democrat party’s new limo has just steered it into a junk yard crushing machine.
I think the simplest answer is that Obama was being loyal to his Muslim-American base…not to African-Americans…not to his Democrat party…and not to the American people. I have found some supporting evidence for this thesis in an article in Politico on August 15, 2010 in which Carol E. Lee writes that an undisclosed administration official says this was “purely” Obama’s decision. See, In Audacity of Hope, Obama writes that he is intent to assure Muslims that he will stand with them during the ultimate crisis. Apparently, Obama’s brain decided that moment has arrived.
What is missing from all the reporting on this issue is what an incredibly stupid thing this was for Obama to do in terms of electoral politics. Obama has ignited a firestorm of controversy that can only do damage to his party’s chances in November 2010 and to his own chances in November 2012. Already, Rasmussen shows Republicans opening up a 12-point lead in the generic polling results. Obama’s job approval rating, according to Gallup, is at an all time low of 42%. On a scale of one to ten for political stupidity, Obama’s endorsement of the GZM is a ten. It is the equivalent of running toward a burning car wreck and then squeezing yourself into the trunk.
Since I knew President Obama while he was a radical, Marxist sophomore at Occidental College, I think I have an unusual insight to share regarding this politically inept decision. Based on my face-to-face talks with the young Obama, I’m among those who do not see Obama as an intellectual genius. I’ve never gone along with those who think they can find evidence of a high IQ in Obama’s election as the editor of the Harvard Law Review, or his role as an adjunct at the University of Chicago Law School, or his success in winning office. Since I never bought into the inflated view of Obama’s intellectual skills, I was not surprised by his dependence on the teleprompter. I do, however, think I know why he has not released his undergraduate transcripts from Occidental College or Columbia University: His charismatic reputation for genius would not survive the harsh reality of his ordinary grades.
Accordingly, I’m not convinced that Obama’s endorsement of the GZM was an example of a political genius playing chess while we are all playing checkers. Instead, I see Obama’s recklessness as more similar to a funny, stupid criminal story where the bank robber submits his demand for cash on the back of his own business card. I think the stress of his job is getting to him. Under stress, Obama’s thinking has become cloudy, impulsive and irrational. Reviewing this last week, even Obama may now understand that he cannot drive and should not have the keys.