Thursday, August 12, 2010


It's no surprise that William Kristol would want to denounce Mayor Mike Bloomberg's impassioned defense of religious pluralism in the case of the planned Islamic center near Ground Zero:

...His remarks will be read with curiosity by future generations of Americans, who will look back in astonishment at the self-deluding pieties and self-destructive dogmas that are held onto, at once smugly and desperately, by today's liberal elites....

But it's only in Kristol's closing paragraphs that we fully see what a morally bankrupt little slanderer and prevaricator he is. Without offering a shred of evidence to support the assertion, Kristol writes:

if Bloomberg were to have his way, it's worth noting that he would presumably attend a dedication of Feisal Abdul Rauf's mosque at Ground Zero before he would attend a dedication of a proper memorial to those who died there.

Contemporary liberalism means building a mosque rather than a memorial at Ground Zero -- and telling your fellow citizens to shut up about it.

Kristol knows goddamn well that isn't true.

Every New Yorker who pays the slightest attention to these matters knows just how much red tape can be involved in large projects, especially when both the city and state governments are involved. That's why there's no memorial at Ground Zero and no replacement for the Twin Towers. The reason isn't that Mike Bloomberg is a crypto-jihadist. That's a grotesque lie.

I don't recall Kristol denouncing Bloomberg as a smug, pro-jihad liberal elitist when he agreed with Kristol's call to move the trial of Khalid Shaikh Muhammad out of Lower Manhattan. And while I'm sure Kristol didn't concur with this opinion, I don't think even he had the gall to denounce Bloomberg as an elitist liberal when Bloomberg criticized congressional Democrats' strategy of bringing up a 9/11 health care compensation bill under a rule requiring a two-thirds vote.

And regarding the site itself, I don't recall Kristol expressing contempt when Bloomberg took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal two years ago with this op-ed:

There Should Be No More Excuses At Ground Zero

... Progress on the redevelopment of the World Trade Center has been frustratingly slow, owing in large part to a multilayered governance structure that has undermined accountability from the get-go.

...the memorial
must be completed by the 10th anniversary. No more excuses, no more delays.

...We will ask Gov. Paterson to dismantle the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and hand over its development responsibilities to the city. Although the LMDC, a conduit for federal funds, must remain a legal entity, turning over its other functions to the city would eliminate one redundant layer of bureaucracy.

The LMDC would also turn over its responsibility for demolishing the Deutsche Bank building to the already existing Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, a city/state entity. This would help the LMCCC prevent the delays that inevitably result from too much bureaucracy, greatly enhancing the prospects for meeting a July 2009 deadline for full demolition of the building. To increase accountability, we will push the LMCCC to establish benchmarks for progress and issue monthly reports. The public has a right to know whether we are meeting our goals....

I quoted that at some length to give you a sense of how convoluted the process here is. I left out references to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey -- a two-state agency that's also involved in this process. So you have multiple agencies tied to multiple levels of government, as well as a number of private companies and organizations. Around here, that's inevitably a recipe for just this kind of gridlock.

Maybe Bloomberg could have done more to untangle the red tape. But there's every reason to believe that he, like the vast majority of New Yorkers, is frustrated by what's going on at Ground Zero. He doesn't want a hole in the ground there forever. He wants a memorial. (Or maybe he just gave the memorial fund $15 million of his own money as a perverse lark.)

For Kristol to say otherwise is disgraceful -- and just what you'd expect from a right-wing apparatchik who no longer believes any means are off limits in pursuit of his desired ends.


One more thing: last week I called Newt Gingrich "a rube" for saying that the proposed Islamic center is going to be "a 13-story building." Jonathan Bernstein thought it was silly of me to think Newt is unsophisticated enough not to recognize that New York has literally thousands of buildings taller than that. Well, now I see that in Kristol column he writes:

Bloomberg never acknowledged that sane and tolerant people might object to a 15-story Islamic community center and mosque right next to Ground Zero.

Kristol, of course, grew up in New York -- for all I know, in a building taller than 13 or even 15 stories. He's a dishonest sleazebag, but he's no rube. So I have to conclude that it's probably Frank Luntz who's responsible for this massive skyscraper!!! meme.


(Kristol via Steve Benen.)

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