Posted by Brad @ 12:55 pm on August 17th 2010

What He Said

Conor Friedersdorf, in a post addressed to Tea Party grassroots conservative voters, says all that needs to be said on the Ground Zero Mosque nonsense.

The bottom line is that there is a reason that Republicans have made no measureable progress in shrinking the size of government since Reagan. Because shrinking the size of government is hard; making hay about “shiny object” culture war fluff is easy. You take one at the direct expense of the other.

That brings us back to the so-called Ground Zero mosque. It’s the latest battle in the culture war, and soon enough it’ll be over. Either the project will be built 2 blocks from Ground Zero, or else the organizers will bow to pressure and relocate elsewhere. Maybe 20 blocks from Ground Zero. And what a victory that would be for the right. The New York Post would get its momentary hike in newsstand sales, its readers would feel 10 minutes of fleeting emotional satisfaction, and the politicians most adept at exploiting culture war issues would be marginally more likely to win a Congressional seat.

And when some Republican member of the ruling class is next faced with an issue where a party whip or a lobbyist wants him to do one thing, and his conservative constituents want him to do another? He’ll think to himself, “I wonder if I can afford to lose some support from my base on this vote, and make it up by taking a populist stance on a culture war issue that doesn’t cost me anything.” In the past, the answer to that question has usually been yes.

Dear voters who feel invested in this kind of idiocy: you are “the problem in Washington”, not the politicians you train to cynically take advantage of you and deliver nothing of real significance.

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