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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Sunday, December 30, 2007


the GOP war on muslims

posted by Aziz P. at Sunday, December 30, 2007 permalink View blog reactions
Eteraz provides a nice summary of the muslim problem afflicting the GOP:

One of Giuliani’s people complains about “the difficult problem” that is “the rise of the Muslims” and wants “to chase them back to their caves.” [Link]. He further refuses to distinguish between good and bad Muslims. After all, “they are all Muslims.” Here is the video of him at the Guardian. Here is Talking Points Memo’s review of it all. The staffer has been fired, but there’s a bigger problem.

The GOP’s severe lack of awareness — I was going to use the word “ignorance” but I’m being nice — vis a vis Islam and Muslims is really hurting it. Just the other day Romney said he could not accept a Muslim in the cabinet. This comes on the heels of the 2004 survey by Cornell which I discussed in my piece at Jewcy Magazine where 40% of Republicans wanted American-Muslims to register their whereabouts (why not just implant gps devices in all Muslims?). There was, of course, Tancredo’s asinine bomb Mecca suggestion. There was Huckabee’s staff member arguing that the War on Terror is a theological war (youtube). Plus Huckster’s comparison of Muslims to dogs. Then there was McCain’s comment to the NyTimes implying that Muslims were not qualified to run for President (leading him to have to explain later).

It should be noted that all of this postdates the Bush Administration's ascent - ironically so, given that the Bush margin of victory in Michigan in 2000 was on the strength of his appeal to the socially conservative muslim vote. What was a natural GOP constituency has become an almost unified pro-Democrat bloc.

This doesn't mean that the Democrats deserve the muslim bloc vote, however. In fact the Democrats are as guilty of xenophobic rhetoric for political gain as any Republican. More importantly, the Democrats have no policy that directly addresses muslim-American political concerns, in part because Muslim-Americans have not yet organized themselves sufficiently to be able to articulate those concerns within a purely Muslim-American context. The political immaturity of the Muslim American community means that "muslim issues" are nothing more than recycled foreign policy ones, usually tainted with the Israel obsession.

Once such a view is articulated (a task I am also trying to pursue at City of Brass), then we will see which side of the aisle best rises to it. I am not convinced that the Democrats will maintain their lock, nor am I convinced that the GOP's muslim problem will outlive the Bush Administration or the Iraq War.

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Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.