Harry Reid’s Act Of Political Cowardice
Maybe it’s because he’s in a reelection fight with a far-right opponent. Or maybe it’s because Harry Reid doesn’t really support the Constitution. Breaking with President Obama, the Senate Majority Leader has, unfortunately, decided to come out with a statement urging that the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero be located elsewhere, according to his spokesperson Jim Manley.
The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Senator Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else. If the Republicans are being sincere, they would help us pass this long overdue bill to help the first responders whose health and livelihoods have been devastated because of their bravery on 911, rather than continuing to block this much-needed legislation.
Greg Sargent has a good take on it, and why Reid is hurting Democrats by doing this:
Some are pointing out that Reid, by citing the First Amendment and religious freedom, is reaffirming the group’s right to build the project. That’s true. But it’s not terribly relevant in the current political context. First off, that’s not a difficult position to take. Many Republicans also respect the group’s right to build, while claiming that the group is wrong to exercise that right.
Despite Reid’s reaffirmation of this right, his response is still weak and indefensible. And it leaves the President hanging after he took a big risk to do the right thing. Obama did not explicitly endorse the decision to build the center. But Obama did say that if the group does proceed with that decision, we must respect that decision, in accordance with American values.
Reid is not willing to say that. Rather, he’s saying, in effect, that even if he supports the group’s right to build the center, he’s not willing to respect the decision to do so. That’s unacceptable, and leaves Obama isolated at a very sensitive moment.
What’s more, it’s unclear why coming out against the plan in the manner Reid did is even good politics for Democrats at this point. Reid basically threw the whole Dem caucus under the bus: With the Senate leader at odds with the president, the media will press every Senate Dem to declare which side they’re on.
In fact, Reid’s comment come after being attacked on the issue by opponent Sharron Angle, and rather than standing up to this accidental candidate, he’s running the other way and taking her position. By claiming he’s supporting the First Amendment while trying to have it both ways, Reid is performing an act of political cowardice. There is no asterisk in the Constitution that says, “*unless said right of people to peaceably assemble offends people.”Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2010 Liberaland