This Ben Smith piece is a classic - apparently, he believes that it is axiomatic that opposition to building a mosque on Ground Zero can only be rooted in anti-Islamic sentiment....so he starts there, with no need to prove his hypothesis, of course (isn't it obvious), and builds a big, filthy, mudslide:
The harsh Republican response to President Barack Obama's defense of a mosque near ground zero marks a dramatic shift in the party's posture toward Islam — from a once active courtship of Muslim voters to a very public tolerance after Sept. 11 to an openly aired sense of mistrust.
The shift plays to a hostility toward Islam among many Republican voters, and it fits with traditional Republican attacks on Democratic weakness on security policy.
Republicans have "shifted completely away from the Bush administration line on relations with Islam and they've obviously made the political calculation that bashing Islam and Muslims is a winning issue for them," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who blamed the "tea party movement [for] liberating the inner bigot in people."
And while Smith gives quote space to mosque opponents such as Rep. Peter King and Debra Burlingame, he does not for a moment attempt to legitimize the opposition, instead, he crams it into the "right-wing anti-Islamic" shoebox.
Nor is their any need to even question CAIR tool Hooper about his accusations of bigotry against the Tea Party - Smith too, takes this as a given, rather than questioning what anti-Islamic acts have been committed by the Tea Party folks (answer: none).
Expect this talking point to spread through the media like wildfire over the next 24 hours - not "how do we stop the Ground Zero Mosque", opposed by 68% of all Americans, but "how to we stop the racist inclinations of the right-wing anti-Mosque elements in our society"?
The answer to that one - in the eyes of the Left and the media - is easy: Just build the mosque at Ground Zero. If the people won't tolerate their enemies building trophies on our war dead, well, we'll just have to force it down their throat....
Let's see how well that goes over...