"It seems the ultimate thumb in the eye: that Glenn Beck would summon the Tea Party faithful to a rally on the anniversary of the March on Washington, and address them from the very place where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I have a dream' speech 47 years ago. After all, the Tea Party and its critics have been facing off for months over accusations of racism.... Still, the government programs that many Tea Party supporters call unconstitutional are the ones that have helped many black people emerge from poverty and discrimination....Even if Tea Party members are right that any racist signs are those of mischief-makers, even if Glenn Beck had chosen any other Saturday to hold his rally, it would be hard to quiet the argument about the Tea Party and race." - Reporter Kate Zernike, smearing the Tea Party again in her August 28 story on Glenn Beck's upcoming "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial.
"The overwhelmingly white and largely middle-aged crowd Saturday was a mix of groups that have come together under the Tea Party umbrella." - Kate Zernike on the "Restoring Honor" rally at the Lincoln Memorial, August 29 edition.
"The Justice Department decided last week not to bring charges against Tom DeLay, whose unethical conduct represented a modern low among Congressional leaders...Mr. DeLay, the Texas Republican who had been the House majority leader, crowed that he had been 'found innocent.' But many of Mr. DeLay's actions remain legal only because lawmakers have chosen not to criminalize them." - From an August 22 editorial.
Matt Bai Blames "Nativist Impulse" Against Ground Zero Mosque Opponents
"A nativist impulse underlies this type of political appeal, and it is not new. It springs, perhaps, more from human nature than from any defect in the American character; when our way of life feels imperiled, we tend to cast a wary eye toward those who embody otherness....The 1850s, for instance, saw the rise of the American Party - more commonly called the Know Nothings, because that was their response to any inquiries about their secret activities. Like us, they found themselves stranded in a fast-changing society, its economy transformed by emerging railroads and this gizmo called the telegraph." - From political writer Matt Bai's August 8 Week in Review column on opposition to the Ground Zero mosque.
Obama Opponents Long for Return to "White and Largely Christian Nation"
"From the moment he took the oath of office, using his entire name, Barack Hussein Obama, as he swore to protect and defend the Constitution, Mr. Obama has personified the hopes of many Americans about tolerance and inclusion. He has devoted himself to reaching out to the Muslim world, vowing, as he did in Cairo last year, 'a new beginning.' But his 'new beginning' has aroused nervousness in some, especially those who disagree with his counterterrorism policies, or those more comfortable with a vision of America as a white and largely Christian nation, and not the pluralistic melting pot Mr. Obama represents." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg, August 15.
Classy: Norman Podhoretz, "Embittered, Paranoid Crank"
"How could a once thoughtful man spend the past 40 years transforming himself into a commissar?....[Norman] Podhoretz wasn't wrong to sense a certain nobility in standing up for 'one's own.' Yet his self-defense, to the exclusion of other human values, be they moral, literary or intellectual, has come at a cost. Today Commentary regularly publishes essays that sound, in Balint's apt words, 'like speeches intended to buck up the troops or self-congratulatory sermons to the faithful.' As for Podhoretz himself, he has grown so intolerant of criticism and dissent, so terrified of impending doom at the hands of militant Muslims, and so furious with his fellow Jews that his intemperate rantings are dismissed by all but his neoconservative progeny. The Brownsville wunderkind has ended up an embittered, paranoid crank, standing by and for himself alone." - Liberal author Damon Linker, using his review of two new books on conservative icon Norman Podhoretz to personally attack him in the August 1 Book in Review.
"Here's another reason for the disconnect. I think, in New York, especially in Manhattan, people realize that Muslims live and work in Lower Manhattan, in the area where they're seeking to build this mosque and community center, which would also include a fitness center where young people could play basketball or swim or what have you. Out in the country, the news coverage has not been as intense, there are fewer details and it allows for the debate to be reduced to its essence, boiled down to a few words: Mosque at Ground Zero. And those words have become inflammatory around the country and I think the nuances is somewhat lost, frankly." - Sheryl Gay Stolberg discussing opposition to the mosque at Ground Zero, on the August 19 "Political Points" podcast hosted at nytimes.com.
"In his absence - he is now on another Middle East speaking tour sponsored by the State Department - a host of allegations have been floated: that he supports terrorism; that his father, who worked at the behest of the Egyptian government, was a militant; that his publicly expressed views mask stealth extremism. Some charges, the available record suggests, are unsupported. Some are simplifications of his ideas. In any case, calling him a jihadist appears even less credible than calling him a United States agent....After 9/11, Mr. Abdul Rauf was all over the airwaves denouncing terrorism, urging Muslims to confront its presence among them, and saying that killing civilians violated Islam. He wrote a book, 'What's Right With Islam Is What's Right With America,' asserting the congruence of American democracy and Islam." - Excerpts from Anne Barnard's glowing August 22 profile of Ground Zero mosque imam Feisal Abdul Rauf.
"In Alaska, Senator Lisa Murkowski also faced an insurgent candidate, the Tea Party favorite Joe Miller, but after outspending him significantly she appeared to have a comfortable lead heading into the primary." - Reporter Damien Cave, August 25. Murkowski conceded the race to Miller on August 31.
"Rick Lazio's relentless opposition to the project - he again attacked the imam behind it during an appearance Sunday on NBC's 'Meet the Press' - is, above all, aimed at Republican primary voters, analysts say. But it risks alienating moderates who could prove crucial in a general election. And it certainly is infuriating many Muslim leaders, who say he is preying on the worst fears of voters; and provoking a backlash from some influential voices in the community of Sept. 11 emergency workers, who say he is exploiting the tragedy. Nevertheless, Mr. Lazio is pushing ahead with the strategy, even breaking what has been, until now, something of an unwritten rule of politics in New York: never to use images of Sept. 11 in campaign advertisements." - From Michael Barbaro's front-page story on August 23.
"In the bazaar that is Capitol Hill, there is nothing surprising about lawmakers' doing favors for campaign donors or intervening with federal agencies on behalf of constituents or friends. So why are Representatives Charles B. Rangel, a New York Democrat, and Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, facing the rare spectacle of public ethics trials for actions their defenders say are just business as usual in Congress?" - From Eric Licthblau August 3 front-page story.
The "Revolutionary Hero" Who Shot Five U.S. Congressmen
"Ms. Lebrón was imprisoned for 25 years and widely condemned as a terrorist, although proponents of Puerto Rican independence hailed her and her associates as revolutionary heroes. She ascended into a leftist pantheon with figures like Che Guevara, becoming the subject of books and artwork." - Douglas Martin's August 3 obituary for terrorist and Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebron, part of the group that opened fire in the House gallery in 1954.
"But it's the audacity of dopes. Mr. Ryan isn't offering fresh food for thought; he's serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce." - Paul Krugman's August 6 column, heavily citing "the non-partisan Tax Policy Center."
"Krugman alleges fraud because CBO did not score the revenue side of the Congressman's plan. (This is correct as the Joint Committee on Taxation is responsible for providing the official revenue score of tax legislation.) Instead, CBO assumed that total federal tax revenues will be equal to 'those under CBO's alternative fiscal scenario...until they reach 19 percent of gross domestic product in 2030, and to remain at that share of GDP thereafter.' Contrary to Krugman's claims, this assumption is not unjustified." - The Tax Policy Center's response.
"So virulent is the Islamophobic hysteria of the neocon and Fox News right - abetted by the useful idiocy of the Anti-Defamation League, Harry Reid and other cowed Democrats - that it has also rendered Gen. David Petraeus's last-ditch counterinsurgency strategy for fighting the war inoperative. How do you win Muslim hearts and minds in Kandahar when you are calling Muslims every filthy name in the book in New York?...In the five months after The Times's initial account there were no newspaper articles on the project at all. It was only in May of this year that the Rupert Murdoch axis of demagoguery revved up, jettisoning Ingraham's benign take for a New York Post jihad....At the Islamophobia command center, Murdoch's News Corporation, the hypocrisy is, if anything, thicker." - Columnist Frank Rich, August 22.
"Since Ms. Angle won, her campaign has been rocked by a series of politically intemperate remarks and awkward efforts to retreat from hard-line positions she has embraced in the past, like phasing out Social Security." - From a front-page story August 18 by Adam Nagourney on Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle, who is challenging Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"Some counterterrorism experts say the anti-Muslim sentiment that has saturated the airwaves and blogs in the debate over plans for an Islamic center near ground zero in Lower Manhattan is playing into the hands of extremists by bolstering their claims that the United States is hostile to Islam....Mr. Gingrich, the former House speaker and a potential 2012 presidential candidate, said in a Fox News interview that 'Nazis don't have the right to put up a sign next to the Holocaust museum in Washington,' a comment that drew criticism for appearing to equate those proposing the Islamic center with Nazis. Asked about the view that such remarks could fuel radicalism, Mr. Gingrich sent an e-mail response on Friday that did not directly address his critics...." - Intelligence reporter Scott Shane, August 21.