There's a new argument emerging among supporters of the Ground Zero mosque. Distressed by President Obama's waffling on the issue, they're calling on former President George W. Bush to announce his support for the project, because in this case Bush understands better than Obama the connection between the war on terror and the larger question of America's relationship with Islam. It's an extraordinary change of position for commentators who long argued that Bush had done grievous harm to America's image in the Muslim world and that Obama represented a fresh start for the United States. Nevertheless, they are now seeing a different side of the former president.
That can't be right, can it? George W. Bush, former president, a/k/a Chimpy McHitlerburton, scourge of all that is good and just, needs to get in the game? Must be a delusion. Still, Byron York marshals the evidence:
"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.
York also quotes Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and onetime New Republic writer Peter Beinart, both longing for Bush's help on setting things right. Beinart in particular seems to be shining the W. equivalent of the Bat Signal over the lonely city:
"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…"
Help us, Obi W. Kebushi -- you're our only hope!
One thing has been remarkably consistent about the post-presidential period of George W. Bush -- unlike his immediate predecessor, W. has maintained a very discreet silence about the work of the man who succeeded him. I'm confused why now he would should heed the calls of his detractors and get back into the arena. After hearing how stupid the man was for all these years, I would have thought his malaprop-strewn opinions were worthless and his duty was to slink away in shame, never to return. Instead, the bien pensants want him back in the game?
As a bright former New Yorker once said: strange days indeed. Most peculiar, mama.