To save Obama, Left cries out for … George W. Bush?

posted at 12:55 pm on August 18, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

How badly did Barack Obama fumble the mosque controversy last weekend?  No fewer than three media columnists now want Obama rescued by George W. Bush.  Byron York reports on the desperate pleas:

“It’s time for W. to weigh in,” writes the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd. Bush, Dowd explains, understands that “you can’t have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam.” Dowd finds it “odd” that Obama seems less sure on that matter. But to set things back on the right course, she says, “W. needs to get his bullhorn back out” — a reference to Bush’s famous “the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!” speech at Ground Zero on September 14, 2001.

Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson is also looking for an assist from Bush. “I…would love to hear from former President Bush on this issue,” Robinson wrote Tuesday in a Post chat session. “He held Ramadan iftar dinners in the White House as part of a much broader effort to show that our fight against the al-Qaeda murderers who attacked us on 9/11 was not a crusade against Islam. He was absolutely right on this point, and it would be helpful to hear his views.”

And Peter Beinart, a former editor of the New Republic, is also feeling some nostalgia for the former president. “Words I never thought I’d write: I pine for George W. Bush,” Beinart wrote Tuesday in The Daily Beast. “Whatever his flaws, the man respected religion, all religion.” Beinart longs for the days when Bush “used to say that the ‘war on terror’ was a struggle on behalf of Muslims, decent folks who wanted nothing more than to live free like you and me…”

For the moment, with Obama failing to live up to expectations, Bush-bashing is over.

That, of course, is one of the delicious ironies of this situation.  Obama has done nothing but attack and demonize Bush for the last nineteen months, mainly to distract attention from Obama’s own failures on the economy.  In fact, while Dowd et al demand a response from Bush, Obama is busy on the campaign trail (an activity that Obama chided the GOP for doing while Obama attended big fundraisers) attempting to continue blaming Bush for the economic slide Obama promised to prevent with his massive spending.

It’s not the only irony, though.  If Bush was inclined to comment on the situation, he may very well echo Obama, or at least talk about the compatibility of liberty and moderate Islam.  After all, the entire exercise in Iraq was and is predicated on the notion that Islam and democracy are not incompatible, a point that some enraged by the Ground Zero mosque seem to have forgotten.  A democratic, stable Iraq would serve to light a beacon towards an Islamic Enlightenment, the neocon theory instructs, that would pressure the theocracies and kleptocracies in the region to modernize and liberalize (in the classic sense of the word).  If a mosque in New York City is incompatible with freedom, as a small subset of those opposed to the GZM claim, then the entire exercise in Iraq makes no sense at all.

That’s not to say that the large majority of the opposition to the GZM is about a mosque, any mosque, rather than location; clearly, most of the opposition recognizes that government has no right to block construction of a house of worship only on the basis of the religion involved.  But Bush would be smart enough to stay out of the location argument and to be careful not to leave an impression that he was endorsing a mosque in the debris field of 9/11, too — which is where Obama went wrong this weekend.

The final irony is that this White House is at least somewhat responsible for not getting Bush to comment.  Obama’s political arm went hard after Dick Cheney when the former VP publicly criticized Obama’s foreign policy and national security decisions.  If Obama’s allies turn their puffy eyes towards W for a rescue, they have no one to blame but the White House when he fails to ride to their defense.

Update: I left an important clause out of the penultimate paragraph, which is that government can’t block construction of a house of worship only on the basis of the religion involved.  I’ve added it, but wanted to note the update.

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Thoughts and prayers sent your way, PPF.

justltl on August 18, 2010 at 10:09 PM

..If I were Bush, I’d just not say a word and watch them continue to swirl the drain. You Bush haters made the bed for 8 years – now you get to sleep in it.

Lucky you!

Good Lt on August 18, 2010 at 1:05 PM

..cease the thread right here! We have a winner!

You’re my hero, Lieutenant!

The War Planner on August 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM


wi farmgirl on August 18, 2010 at 10:10 PM

They just want Bush to re-enter the public stage so they can attack him and make him a election issue again. Hard to run against Bush if he stays quiet on the ranch.

waelse1 on August 18, 2010 at 10:14 PM

GW Bush was a man I could no longer support. He made the decision to send thousands of precious U.S. sons & daughters into 1 war that was botched, and another war that became a national disgrace. Real kids, real loss.
However, there is no doubt that he saw Islam in a much more positive light than any of current Republican fringe. He took great care to separate Islam and Muslim terrorism. He came from Old School thinking and was advised by Old School thinking … never, ever allow the U.S. to get into a religious war – no matter what your so-called base wants you to do.
honest16 on August 18, 2010 at 8:11 PM

yep, leave them alone and there won’t be any problems….

It’s not worth the time

Sonosam on August 18, 2010 at 10:24 PM

It is not the religious part of Islam that anyone is opposed to. Please be pious and prayer continually, build mosques dedicated to that purpose… But this mosque has a different aim. This mosque is part of the politics of Islam. And that politics is antithetical to being a freedom loving American.

When one group’s religion demands ultimate power over the entire world and demands the obedience of all people of every faith, or violence ensues… that is no longer simply a religion, it is a insatiable political lust.

Religion deals with the inner being, Islam focuses on outward submission. And teaches the inferiority of, indeed the need to kill, all who do not obey.

That is not religion, that is political domination, that is too much power to give a religion… forced submission of others, that is too much power.

petunia on August 19, 2010 at 12:54 AM

Unbelievable. The whole time he was president the left never gave him credit for his Muslim reach out. They would say he was waging war on Islam. Now they’re saying he was so sensitive to the Muslim issue. What a joke.

jonezee on August 19, 2010 at 2:28 AM

I think the strategy here is :

If GWB says something in favor of the hamosque, he can be blamed as in
” Bush said so it too “.

If GWB says something against the hamosque, he can be blamed as in
” Bush is a bigot racist islamophobe ”

If GWB says nothing and keeps quiet, he can be blamed as in
” Bush is so dumb ”

They just want Bush to smack around to save Hussain’s @$$

macncheez on August 18, 2010 at 2:47 PM

I think you’ve got it. In your 3rd scenario, they could also say “He had a chance to make up a little bit for his awful presidency, and he refused. This is even worse.”

To create a political Möbius loop that will have Progressives bewildered until after the election, George W. Bush should come out and agree completely with Obama on not just the Cordoba House, but his whole economic plan by calling it an extension of his policies, thank Obama for continuing his anti-terrorism policies, not repealing the Patriot Act and continuing the use of extraordinary renditions.

J_Crater on August 18, 2010 at 2:13 PM

I like it! It’d drive the liberals INSANE!

JimC on August 19, 2010 at 2:30 AM

May 15, 2008–One more reason for Bush to say nothing and let them twist in the wind :

In a speech to Israel’s Knesset, Bush said: “Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.” Obama responded with a statement, seizing on Bush’s remarks even as it was unclear to whom the president was referring. “It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence to launch a false political attack,” Obama said in the statement his aides distributed. “George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the president’s extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel.”

JimC on August 19, 2010 at 2:43 AM

Ed, you’re so naive, this is the new Cabalist initiative to enlist Bush to give Obama cover. That is all. I’d be very disappointed in Dubya if he came out in support of the mosque.

promachus on August 19, 2010 at 4:23 AM

Why aren’t they calling for Carter or Clinton to bail them out?

theCork on August 18, 2010 at 1:00 PM

“I did not have sex with that mosque — the Obamosque”

ChrisB on August 19, 2010 at 10:09 AM

The Muslim woman on Hannity’s focus group panel last night claimed that she supports the mosque because the Muslims want to promote healing.

No one challenged her on that.

How is it healing to the people of NY and the rest of this nation to build a testament to the murderers of 2,700 people in this place?

The truth is that the people are on to them about this.

It is not about healing, it is a victory dance on the graves of victims of 9/11. If they could have gotten permission to build it right at GZ, they would have.

Jvette on August 19, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Zip it GWB..Don’t give them any verbal ammo to use..Don’t throw them any rope to save them from sinking into the swamp..LOL!

D84 on August 19, 2010 at 12:29 PM

Shut up. Be very quiet. If you make any noise, they will build a mosque next to your house.
Since the Imamma is pushing so much drama, I suggest a Mosque at Disney land. Mickey Mosque.

seven on August 19, 2010 at 4:34 PM

I also find it strange (not really) that these journalists all came out the same week calling for W’s wise counsel.

Why, it’s almost like there’s a list or something where they all get together and decide on a strategy! :)

PattyJ on August 19, 2010 at 4:54 PM

If I were Dub, I’d tell ’em to bite me.

Seriously, eight years of those same people wishing him dead or accusing him of war crimes and everything else under the sun…now they need him to bail out their golden calf?

Hold your breath lefities.

And if Bush does throw Big 0 a bone here, he IS as stupid as they claimed he was.

SuperCool on August 19, 2010 at 5:23 PM