Irony: Dowd, Robinson, Beinart Want Bush To Comment On “Ground Zero Mosque”

Byron York notes that three columnists who spent most of the bast decade criticizing the Bush Administration at every turn are practically begging former President Bush to speak out about the controversy that has erupted over the proposed Islamic community center that would be built in Lower Manhattan at the site of a former Burlington Coat Factory.

First, there’s Maureen Dowd:

Some critics have said the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers would be to allow a mosque to be built near ground zero.

Actually, the ultimate victory for Osama and the 9/11 hijackers is the moral timidity that would ban a mosque from that neighborhood.

Our enemies struck at our heart, but did they also warp our identity?

The war against the terrorists is not a war against Islam. In fact, you can’t have an effective war against the terrorists if it is a war on Islam.

George W. Bush understood this. And it is odd to see Barack Obama less clear about this matter than his predecessor. It’s time for W. to weigh in.

This — along with immigration reform and AIDS in Africa — was one of his points of light. As the man who twice went to war in the Muslim world, he has something of an obligation to add his anti-Islamophobia to this mosque madness. W. needs to get his bullhorn back out.

Then, the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson said this during an online chat:

I, too, would love to hear from former president Bush on this issue. He held Ramadan iftar dinners in the White House as part of a much broader effort to show that our fight against the al-Qaeda murderers who attacked us on 9/11 was not a crusade against Islam. He was absolutely right on this point, and it would be helpful to hear his views

And, finally, former New Republic editor Peter Beinart chimed in at The Daily Beast:

Remember when George W. Bush and his neoconservative allies used to say that the “war on terror” was a struggle on behalf of Muslims, decent folks who wanted nothing more than to live free like you and me? Remember when Karen Hughes paid millions to produce glitzy videos of Muslim Americans testifying about how free they were to practice their religion in the USA? Remember Bush’s second inaugural, when he said “America’s ideal of freedom” is “sustained in our national life by the truths of Sinai, the Sermon on the Mount, the words of the Koran?”

Words I never thought I’d write: I pine for George W. Bush. Whatever his flaws, the man respected religion, all religion. Maybe it was because he had been an addict himself, and knew from hanging around prisons that Allah had saved as many broken souls as Jesus Christ.

Now, I’m not saying that MoDo, Robinson, and Beinart are wrong in pointing out the extent to which President Bush sought to distinguish Islamic radicalism from Islam. They’re right as a matter of fact. It’s just ironic to hear them essentially saying, even on this one small point, that George W. Bush should come back.

FILED UNDER: Africa, Religion, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Derrick says:

    C’mon Doug, they aren’t saying that they want Bush as President. But let’s be honest, the voices that are most vocally demagouging this issue are on the Right. Your typical right-winger wouldn’t care if Obama recommended they drink fresh water, but Bush has pull with these people. On this issue, while not being a saint, he refused to be a sinner when it came to his treatment of Muslim Americans. You have voices comparing Islam to Nazi propoganda at this point. Liberals or Conservatives who see this rhetoric as wrong, will accept anyone who will try to talk some sanity in Republicans right now.

  2. Yes I know what they are saying, but surely you recognize the irony here.

  3. Matt Parker says:

    Well, it says something about the state of the current Republicans when even Democrats (like me) are looking back fondly at the Bush years as ones of modesty and restraint.

    Now I get the “Miss Me Yet” posters, though maybe not so much for the same reasons as those who created them.

  4. Herb says:

    I could go my whole life without hearing another peep from Bush, but with that said…I do admire him for taking on the elder statesman role and mostly keeping his mouth shut. During his presidency, I never though he could manage “above the fray” but since he left office, he’s been doing it quite well. Obama should take notes.

  5. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    You mean that guy which the left said lied about the Iraqi war, WMD, and just about everything else is being called upon to speak on this issue. I thought Democrats were all about separation of Church and State. Wonder what Bush does think about the Victory of the 19 Martyrs Mosque, to be dedicated on the 10th annaversary of the attack on the World Trade Center? On a more interesting note. With the mid term elections just a very few months away and the GOP seemingly leading in every poll. The Democrats are on the edge losing control of one if not both houses of congress. Nancy Pelosi insults the American people by suggesting their opposition to the construction of the Victory Mosque is based upon ads paid for by persons she wishes to investigate. Some of this stuff you just cannot make up. One has to ask oneself. How did these fools get into office? They were elected by people fooled enough into thinking these people would represent our best interests. Doug, do you know Muslims not only want to wipe out the Jews, they want to exterminate gays?

  6. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Herb, you would not know what was best for you if you experienced it Bush was the best President you have have had the opportunity to experience. How many American lives did he save by eliminating the future threat Saddam Hussein and his lovely sons would have represented? You didn’t like compassionate conservatism. You are really not going to like the next brand of it. Lefties such as yourself are going to have to take responsiblity for your own lives. It will not be the job of government any longer. The bright spot is you could always immigrate to Venezuela. Hugo needs workers to toil in the fields.

  7. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Howard Dean stated he wished they would not build the mosque on that site. Howard Dean! Guess the fact this is a losing issue for Democrats is not missing all of you. Don’t think Bush is going to give cover on this one.

  8. Franklin says:

    You mean that guy which the left said lied about the Iraqi war, WMD,

    The Bush Administration intentionally withheld much evidence to the contrary. That is lying (at least according to your own definition of the word). Whether Bush knew he was lying or not, it was his responsibility as the guy in charge.

    I have regained a moderate amount of fondness for the guy himself, I think it’s clear where Cheney and crew led him astray. But again, it doesn’t matter – he was responsible for everything that happened.

  9. Franklin says:

    Howard Dean stated he wished they would not build the mosque on that site.

    Oh, so now you listen to Howard Dean when he agrees with you. Something you accuse Doug of doing ALL THE TIME.

    Grow a brainstem, dude.