The CIA usually defends its existence by pointing out that we never hear about its successes, only its failures. The bombs that don’t go off don’t make headlines. Politics works the same way. Good politicians instinctively see down the road and around the corner. Great politicians do this not just with political headaches but with weighty affairs as well. We call such foresight statesmanship.
With the Ground Zero mosque, we have gotten the exact opposite. The supposedly pragmatic political wise men have been blinded by ideology or incompetence and have failed to see what was so obviously around the corner. A big, honking Islamic center built to capitalize on 9/11, in a building that was damaged on 9/11? What could go wrong?
It’s as if they’ve wanted to turn a dumb idea into an emotional and unwinnable national controversy.