by Mark Kleiman
At the jump, the full text of the President's speech at the White House Iftar dinner.
The usual suspects are outraged; Glenn Greewald is impressed, and big enough to say so. Glenn points out that there was no political upside in this for Obama; that's true only if friends of tolerance and civil liberty neglect to reward good behavior, but for President Barack Hussein Obama to take the stance he took clearly required enormous courage.
Putting the political fallout to one side, tonight I'm proud to be an American citizen. No, it shouldn't take a President with brass balls to defend the rights of Muslims to build themselves a community center. After all, the battle against Cordoba House is a battle to define all Muslims, just as Muslims, as foreigners and enemies, which would be both a violation of one of our most precious traditions and an insanely stupid thing to do in the face of the need for Muslim allies in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and against al-Qaeda everywhere.
Nevertheless, the loonies have managed to stir up the country, as they did around Terri Schiavo. So it did indeed take nerve to stand up for what was not only obviously right but obviously essential to national security. And, as luck would have it, we had a President with both the willingness to put country over self and the eloquence to link his stand to our national traditions, and to his own Christianity. "This is America," he said, and at the end he cited the Golden Rule.