So it turns out that Feisal Abdul Rauf of Cordoba House went on at least two “public diplomacy” missions for the Bush State Department. That makes the wingnuts who are portraying him as a crypto-terrorist a bunch of liars, but that’s hardly news. What ought to be news is that George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, and Karen Hughes can’t be bothered to defend the guy they used, now that their political buddies have decided that he’s the Second Coming of Osama bin Laden.
Practical politics, much as academics and pundits despise it, has its own ethical code. And the first rule of that code is that, when people do stuff for you, you owe them. I don’t know how much danger Rauf put himself in by standing with America against its enemies, but on his current State Department mission he has cause to reflect not only on the quality of American tolerance but on the morals of some of its former leaders.
Rice in particular surely knows that the invented controversy is extremely bad for our foreign relations. And yet she has obviously calculated that saying the right thing would damage her influence with what she seems to believe is now the permanently dominant Republican faction.
I keep saying it only because it keeps being true: the contemporary GOP is simply not a plausible alternative governing party. There is simply no adult supervision available at that particular jamboree.