CNN’s headline is “Reid breaks with Obama,” but that’s not quite true. It was clear from the start, even before Saturday morning’s “clarification,” that The One was voting present on the central question of whether the Park51 center should be built where the owners want it built. Reid’s simply gone a little further than O by addressing that point, while of course reiterating that they have the right to build there if they so desire. Which puts him squarely in line with … Sharron Angle.
“The First Amendment protects freedom of religion,” spokesman Jim Manley said in a statement. “Sen. 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.”
I know national polls show voters (including a majority of Democrats) overwhelmingly against the mosque but I’m still surprised that he went this route. He’ll be absolutely obliterated by the left for it. They’ll turn out for him anyway, I assume, in the interest of electing Anyone But Angle, but he’s going to take an unholy beating in the meantime. Consider this a parting gift to him from Obama, whose agenda has already placed Reid on the brink of electoral destruction: Had Barry O simply stayed away from this subject and continued with the lame but smart talking point about not interfering in local issues, Reid probably could have ducked it. Instead he spoke up and nationalized it, and now Democrats everywhere will have to decide whether to walk the plank or save themselves. Good work, champ.
There’s a report just across from Haaretz as I write this that the Park51 owners are planning to abandon the project and move it elsewhere, but I haven’t seen that anywhere else. Take it with a grain of salt, but do note the mention in the story of a shortage of funds for the building. That was part of David Frum’s reasoning last week vis-a-vis why he thought the center might be a big publicity stunt. If so, it’s a brilliant one, because as Haaretz says, they’ll probably clean up in sympathy donations now if they do end up moving.
Update: An update from Greg Gutfeld on his gay bar: “The new name is Dialog. Yes, I am building Dialog.”
Update: The first progressive uppercut on Reid comes from Greg Sargent: “This just makes the Dems look weak, unorganized, cowardly, and unwilling to take a stand for principles they plainly believe in.”
Update: As suspected, it looks like the Haaretz story is bogus. The Park51 spokesman is tweeting that there’s no truth whatsoever to it.