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Chris Christie: Stop Playing Politics And Stop Painting All Muslims As Extremists

I don’t intend to highlight every politicians response regarding the proposed Islamic community center in Lower Manhattan, but this statement from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stands out because it seems like an island of sanity in what is turning into a vast ocean of cynical political pandering:

Given my last position, that I was the first U.S attorney post 9/11 in New Jersey, I understand acutely the pain and sorrow and upset of the family members who lost loved ones that day at the hands of radical Muslim extremists. And their sensitivities and concerns have to be taken into account. Just because it’s nearly nine years later, those sensitivities cannot and should not be ignored. On the other hand, we cannot paint all of Islam with that brush. …We have to bring people together. And what offends me the most about all this, is that it’s being used as a political football by both parties. And what disturbs me about the president’s remarks is that he is now using it as a political football as well. I think the president of the United State should rise above that. And should not be using this as a political football, and I don’t believe that it would be responsible of me to get involved and comment on this any further because it just put me in the same political arena as all of them.

“My principles on this are two-fold. One, that we have to acknowledge, respect and give some measure of deference to the feelings of the family members who lost their loved ones there that day. But it would be wrong to so overreact to that, that we paint Islam with a brush of radical Muslim extremists that just want to kill Americans because we are Americans. But beyond that … I am not going to get into it, because I would be guilty of candidly what I think some Republicans are guilty of, and the president is now, the president is guilty of, of playing politics with this issue, and I simply am not going to do it.”

Asked if he’d call upon both parties to stop, he said, “Well, that again will be playing politics with the issue. I said what I feel about it, and I don’t believe it is up to me to pontificate on other people about what they should do. I just observe what I observe. And I don’t believe that this issue should be a political football. I just don’t. And I think that both sides of this issue now are using this as a political football. And I don’t think it brings people together in America, I think it just further drives people apart, and creates divisions, and I think that’s bad for our country. And all people in our country suffer when those kind of things happen.”

I wish there were more Republicans, and Democrats, out there saying stuff like this.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    No you do not intend to highlighe every politicians view on the Cordoba Mosque, just the ones you think agree with your sick position. I don’t think you read what Christy had to say. He did not say they should build it, or build it where they intend to. His bitch was with politicians using the issue in a political manner. Shocking democrats would attack honest people for opposing the building of a monument to a sucessful attack on America. Doug seriously, which of the freedoms discussed in the Koran do you find enchanting? Do you know Islam means submit? Wonder what use they would have for you Doug? A target for stone throwing? How about the encouraging the murder of those who they call infidels? Are you aware at all of the history of Islam? I just wonder if you are as concerned when the rights of Christians to pray are threatened.

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  2. Tano says:

    I gotta say, this statement from Christie struck me as the exact opposite of an “isalnd of sanity”. At least as you set up the dichotomy – it strikes me as a gross example of “cynical political pandering”.

    What is he saying here? Both parties are playing politics???? Oh really? The President especially is singled out, several times, for playing politics? How is that?

    The President has laid out a perfectly calibrated position for a man in his position. He makes a strong case for respecting the Constitution and the laws, which is a perfectly appropriate thing for him to do (and no, not everyone on the right has accepted that they have a right to build the mosque). And he has refused to render a detailed opinion as to whether this particular plan should be built on this particular spot. Which, one would think, all the ‘government minimalists’ would applaud as being manifestly none of the business of the federal government.

    How on earth is this playing politics?

    And what of the other Democrats, some of whom have been more explicit in support of the mosque? Is this some political ploy – to do what….lock down the 1.5% of the electorate that is muslim, while pissing off the 60-70% who think they oppose the mosque? This is a political move????

    No, It is clearly the Republicans, and the Republicans only who are trying to gin up fear and hatred on this issue for political gain.

    And what exactly is Christie proposing anyway?

    First off, we must respect the voices of the families??? Well, it is certainly right and good and proper to grant them respect, but is that the first thing we need to do? Before respecting the Constitution? How is this not pandering – at its most raw?

    Beyond respecting the families, what is Christie offering? That we should not tar all muslims as terrorists. Bravo Chris. That seems downright noble. Given that this tarring of all muslims is at the core of the arguments against the mosque – why else would it be seen as a desecration if one recognized those involved as good honest citizen s – does this mean that Christie supports the mosque.

    Oh, he wont go there. So what does it mean?

    Lets add it all up. Partisan attack on the President, completely unwarranted. Blatant pandering to the victim families as if their feelings were more important than Constitutional principles. And in the end, weaseling out of supporting the mosque, even while arguing against the core objection to it.

    A very bad show. Cynical, dishonest, political pandering

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  3. PD Shaw says:

    Tano: What do you make of this from Harry Reid?: “Senator Reid respects that [the First Amendment], but thinks that the mosque should be built someplace else.”

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  4. JTHM says:

    “No, It is clearly the Republicans, and the Republicans only who are trying to gin up fear and hatred on this issue for political gain.”

    Really? http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0810/41127.html

    Hrmmm Sharon Engle is about to flogg the Reidster and this is what he pulls out of his butt? BUhahahaha!!

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  5. Dave says:

    It seems to me like Christie is basically saying “I will not comment on this issue because I don’t want to stoop to the low of our crass and overly political President and oh by the way here is me commenting on the issue saying that same exact thing as the President.”

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  6. Tano says:

    “Sharon Engle is about to flogg the Reidster …”

    First off, its Angle, not Engle. And flog, not flogg. Why am I not surprised by this?

    Secondly, you make my point for me. Angle is doin’ the ginning up of fear and hatred.
    Reid is acting cowardly, and seeking to avoid the tarring.

    It is not honorable of him at all, it is trying to cover his rear. But he is not the perpetrator – he is seeking to avoid the demagogue, not to join in on the demagoguery.

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  7. Davebo says:

    “It seems to me like Christie is basically saying “I will not comment on this issue because I don’t want to stoop to the low of our crass and overly political President and oh by the way here is me commenting on the issue saying that same exact thing as the President.”

    Err, he refused to give his position on the subject. Remember, he’s not getting into that, he’s just going to hold a press conference, say he won’t play politics on the matter and suddenly look lay a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day!

    Talk about the silent bigotry of low expectations there Doug.

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  8. Herb says:

    “And I think that both sides of this issue now are using this as a political football. ”

    This annoys me as a fall-back answer. Of course, both sides are using it as a political football. What would Christie prefer? A raft of lies, half-truths, and innuendo from Republicans and a chorus of “No comments” from Democrats? That’s not only unrealistic, it’s naive.

    Yeah, it’s a political football, and both sides are scrimmaging. It would be useful, though, to remember who brought the ball…and from his perch on the sidelines, Christie should have a pretty good view of that.

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  9. Pug says:

    Yes, the old both parties are using it as a politicl issue.

    While it may not be true, it helps bring out the inner Broder in all of us. Let’s just blame everybody equally. Kind of like having kids play soccer and not keeping score. This way there are no losers.

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  10. Maxwell James says:

    Right. Obama plays “political football” by taking an unpopular stand on a 70-30 issue.

    Your island of sanity appears to be more of a sand bar.

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