Roger Simon on Obama the One-term President The Politico columnist lampoons Beltway strategists who worry that President Obama's stance on religious freedom might send him the way of Jimmy Carter in 2012. "The man does not get it," Simon notes sardonically. This is not a matter of intelligence, explains Simon, but political instincts. Obama does not understand that "when it comes to doing what is right versus doing what is expedient, you do what is expedient" in order to get reelected. He skewers this sort of Machiavellian, win-at-all-costs reasoning by asking, "What’s the point of doing the right thing," Simon asks, "if your party is going to lose seats because of it?"
William Dalrymple on the Muslims in the Middle The problem with the mostly conservative outrage against the proposed Ground Zero mosque is that these skeptics have regrettably lumped Islam into one "single, terrifying monolith," observes William Dalrymple in a New York Times op-ed contribution. Feisal Abdul Rauf, the principal figure behind the mosque, has ties to Sufism, a mystical form of Islam that "couldn’t be farther from the violent Wahhabism of the jihadists." Dalrymple explains: "Sufism is an entirely indigenous, deeply rooted resistance movement against violent Islamic radicalism. Whether it can be harnessed to a political end is not clear." But men like Rauf should be embraced as allies.
Andrew C. McCarthy on Islam's Tolerant Pose The President's seeming endorsement of the Ground Zero mosque was a laughable and "vacant abstraction" that only further muddled the real debate about religious tolerance, argues The National Review's Andrew McCarthy. The president "can't aspire to religious freedom by turning a blind eye to the reality of sharia" in Saudi Arabia and other countries, he insists. Mosque defenders who scoff and say that America should approve the center to show we are "better than" Saudi Arabia are missing the point in two ways. 1) We already "permit thousands of Muslim houses of worship in our nation, Muslims are celebrated in our public life, and our military has done more to protect and defend Muslims..." and 2) The "comparison of what is permitted in Manhattan and what is permitted in Mecca is not about the Saudis: It is about Islam." McCarthy argues that non-Muslims are discriminated against simply because that's "how the Koran says it must be."
Wall Street Journal Editorial Board on Japan's Evolution In light of China's breakthrough as the world's second largest economy, the Wall Street Journal editors recall a time nearly twenty years ago when the Japanese economy appeared similarly ascendant. But while Japan settled into "prosperous stagnation" the Chinese have vigorously pursued dynamic and sound economic policies that will also be a boon to global prosperity. In conclusion, they can't resist making a comparison with the United States: "China is gaining. The way to avoid Japan's fate is to avoid the same policy mistakes, which means returning to the policies of the 1980s that revived the U.S. after the last Great Recession."
Anne Applebaum on the Vacationing President The Washington Post columnist blames the Kennedys for setting off America's interest in presidential vacations. "Only two presidents in recent memory have not had vacation homes of their: Bill Clinton and Barack Obama," writes Applebaum. "Not coincidentally, it is their vacation choices that have been most heavily criticized." Trips to Martha's Vineyard sparked accusations of elitism. It's a joke, she says. "Not only are our leaders supposed to run the country, they have to pretend to be average. This is ridiculous."