Again we show how the current right has changed over the past couple of years, embracing the crazy conspiracy theories that come out of their base and hope to turn that into political capital. This time it involves the Ground Zero mosque:
Tuesday, Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) called Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — best known for his work with multicultural Cordoba Initiative to build a mosque and community center in Lower Manhattan — a “radical” and criticized the Obama Administration for including him on a Middle East speaking tour. That tour, which includes stops in Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, is designed by the public diplomacy office to explain to Muslims abroad what it’s like to be a Muslim in America.
But guess what? It turns out Rauf actually has a history of working with the U.S. government, and that relationship started under Bush:
If one were to hearken back to the halcyon days of the Bush Administration, one would remember that, when Bush adviser Karen Hughes was appointed Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy, the Bush Administration saw improving America’s standing among Muslims abroad as a part of its national security strategy. And, as such, Hughes set up listening tours, attended meetings and worked with interfaith groups that — shocking, by today’s Republican standards — included actual Muslims.
One of those people was Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
This is one of those times that we need George Bush to stand up and speak. He should be presidential and come out for the mosque, stating his administration’s goal of improving America’s standing amongst Muslims, and even having Rauf help with that very goal. If he cares anything about the future of this country and his own party then he will do just that.