Mosque debate strains tea party, GOP - Kenneth P. Vogel
Put this damage to the GOP in the “self inflicted wound” category.
Michael Gerson, a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, expressed similar apprehensions Monday.
“A president not only serves Muslim citizens, not only commands Muslims in the American military, but also leads a coalition that includes Iraqi and Afghan Muslims who risk death each day fighting Islamic radicalism at our side,” he wrote in the Washington Post. “How could he possibly tell them that their place of worship inherently symbolizes the triumph of terror?
Nowhere is the conflict more obvious than among tea party activists, who have sought to distinguish themselves from a Republican Party they say has strayed from its adherence to the principles of individual liberties and limited government. For tea partiers, the mosque dilemma also is representative of a larger philosophical battle that has raged within their movement almost from its inception last year in protest to what activists saw as unchecked government expansion being pushed by President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats. While some of the tea party’s earliest organizers have struggled to keep the movement tightly focused on fiscal and constitutional restraint, other activists and conservative interests have tried to direct the tea party’s energy towards national security or social causes including supporting Israel or opposing illegal imigration, abortion and same-sex marriage.