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Joe Guzzardi President Obama makes critical mistake on mosque proposal near Ground Zero

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Posted: Saturday, August 21, 2010 12:00 am

President Barack Obama cannot get out of his own way. The Democrats are looking straight down the gun barrel of being swept out of office come November. The daily Rasmussen Report indicates that Obama's popularity has sunk like a rock to a minus seventeen approval rating. Nevertheless Obama chose, willingly and eagerly, to support a proposed 13-story, $100 million mosque near Ground Zero. Sources indicate that radical Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is the driving force behind the mosque.

Rauf and his prominent backers like the Muslim Brotherhood and the Council of American Islamic Relations don't deny the mosque's purpose.

According to a New York Post August 16 story, Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas co-founder and leader in Gaza, told WABC Radio host Aaron Klein: "We have to build the mosque (at Ground Zero). We have to build everywhere. In every area we have (as) Muslim(s), we have to pray and this mosque is the only site of prayer."

Since the mosque represents a thinly veiled effort to bring the Sharia law to America, Obama could easily have sidestepped the controversy. Yet, ill-advisedly, Obama plunged in headfirst.

Instead of recognizing that the mosque would inflame most Americans, Obama defied logic and political expediency by rattling on about how Muslims have Freedom of Religion rights. No one denies it.

But the mosque's Ground Zero location insults the families and memories of those killed on 9/11 as well as those of hundreds of soldiers who perished in Iraq and Afghanistan protecting the United States against future terrorist attacks.

Every time Obama opens his mouth to defend the mosque, he angers more Americans. And with each disingenuous remark Obama makes, like referring to the mosque as a "cultural center," Democrats look for better places to hide. Have you noticed the shortage of Town Hall meetings during this Congressional recess?

What Democratic incumbents know, and what Obama doesn't care about, is that more than 65 percent of voters do not think they deserve to be reelected.

Obama's remarks will not gain any new voters and will probably alienate others.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn said the mosque "speaks to the lack of connection between the administration and Washington and folks inside the Beltway and mainstream America. And I think this is what aggravates people so much.''

Cornyn could have added that almost everything about Obama's empirical administration annoys the public. Although less significant than the mosque, the first family's non-stop vacation schedule that includes stays in Florida and Martha's Vineyard, the preferred summer spot for the rich and famous, is grating.

And, adding salt to the wounds, First Lady Michelle and daughter Sasha took a public and offensive Marie Antoinette-like trip to the Costa del Sol in southern Spain, stayed at five-star hotel and dined at King Juan Carlos' Majorca Island palace.

Michelle and Sasha's entourage occupied 60 to 70 hotel rooms. The hidden costs of moving the Obama around are staggering. Dozens of Secret Service, U.S. embassy, military and White House staff work 3, eight-hour shifts daily. All need to be transported, fed and paid per diem stipends for their travel time. Advance teams arrive a week before Obama's arrival and stay days after her departure.

Were I a Republican strategist, here's what I'd recommend to November's GOP candidates: in all your ads, include video footage of Michelle prancing around Spain and Obama splashing in the Gulf Coast ocean waters and in your debates ask your Democratic opponent if he agrees with Obama's support of the New York mosque.

If Republican politicians can't get elected with that two-prong approach, they need a new profession.

Joe Guzzardi is one of the 65 percent of voters who think most incumbents do not deserve reelection. E-mail him at

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