Newt Gingrich is clearly running for President. How do I know? He gets dumb and angry when running for office. When not running for office, he’ll take the occasional independent stand–in opposition to the teaching of creationism in science class (it’s ok to teach it as a “philosophy” in a non-science setting, he has said) and he’s had some very creative ideas about urban poverty. But he really can be a complete jerk when electorate politics is dominating his frontal cortex. Latest example: his crusade against the Islamic Community Center near ground zero:
“You know, there are over a hundred mosques in New York City. I favor religious freedom,” said Gingrich. “I’m quite happy if they’d come in and said, ‘We want to build a community center near Central Park, we’d like to build a community center near Columbia University.’ But they didn’t. They said right at the edge of a place where, let’s be clear, thousands of Americans were killed in an attack by radical Islamists.”
In fact, there is an Islamic community center on 96th street, a few blocks from Central Park and I’m sure there’s an Islamic student group, and perhaps a facility, at Columbia–but no matter.
If Newt actually believe what he claims to–that the American way is superior–he’d be in favor of placing the mosque near Ground Zero, as a demonstration of American freedom and tolerance. But he’s running for President and so he has to pander to the yahoos. I’m afraid we’ll be seeing this sort of un-American intolerance from more than a few of the Republicans candidates as the presidential campaign fires up; I’ll be on the lookout for those who have the courage to stand up for true American principles on issues like this one.
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