Feiler Faster

I, for one, am getting sick of the boilerplate articles about God in the ‘08 election – the ones that repeat the same shopworn concerns about Mormonism, the same issues with Giuliani and his marriages, the same wonder that Democrats can talk about religion, and on and on. These were interesting back in the spring; now they’re becoming journalistic cliches. There was one in USA Today in the last few days; it’s not even worth linking to. (Even though USA Today has arguably the best coverage of religion of any U.S. daily.)
Anyway, here’s a new angle. Tom Tacredo, tired of pandering to the Right about the threat of illegal immigration, has turned to pandering to Islamophobes over terrorism. He said Tuesday that if we are attacked by Islamic terrorists, we should respond by bombing Mecca.

“If it is up to me, we are going to explain that an attack on this homeland of that nature would be followed by an attack on the holy sites in Mecca and Medina,” the GOP presidential candidate said. “That is the only thing I can think of that might deter somebody from doing what they would otherwise do. If I am wrong fine, tell me, and I would be happy to do something else. But you had better find a deterrent or you will find an attack. There is no other way around it. There have to be negative consequences for the actions they take. That’s the most negative I can think of.”

Let’s repeat: We. Are Not. At War. With Islam. Even George Bush has repeatedly stressed this distinction. So here’s a challenge: How about every Republican candidate for president get asked in the coming days whether he agrees with Tom Tancredo: Should we consider bombing Muslim holy sites in response to an Islamic terrorist’s attack against us? After all, they do this in Iraq on a regular basis. We can learn from them!
Update: Late Friday, Tancredo’s spokesperson, Bay Buchanan (!), defended Tancredo’s remarks. “This shows that we mean business,” said Buchanan, a senior Tancredo adviser. “There’s no more effective deterrent than that. But he is open-minded and willing to embrace other options. This is just a means to deter them from attacking us.”

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