2010 Archives

Ground zero mosque flap: how Obama and Democrats can recover


The following is from the August 17, 2010, edition of The Christian Science Monitor. SMU Political Science Professor Cal Jillson provided expertise for this story.

August 19, 2010

By Linda Feldmann
Staff Writer

How can President Obama and the Democrats recover from the mosque brouhaha?

Change the subject, say Democratic strategists.

Mr. Obama needs to “get back out there and talk about his plans to get the economy back, and quit getting distracted with these other issues,” says a Democratic consultant based in Washington. . .

But even if Obama himself has stopped talking about the mosque, others in his party have continued to fuel the beast known as talk TV. On Monday, Senate majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who is locked in a tough reelection battle, said through a spokesman that while the First Amendment protects freedom of religion, he “thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else." . . .

“As a Democrat, to go strong against the president risks alienating a part of your base,” says Cal Jillson, a political scientist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “He needs the whole thing.”

“When the Democrats were making the argument that it was a local issue, they were in good shape,” says Jillson. “The Republicans then seemed to be mean-spirited and anti-immigrant, and made the Democrats look like they were supporting not just minorities but also constitutional rights and liberties for all Americans.”

Read the full story.

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