Tales from the Trail

from Political Theater:

Ron Paul says Michele Bachmann “hates Muslims”

Ron Paul was on The Tonight Show last night, where Jay Leno asked him to say a little something about the other Republican candidates for president. Mitt Romney, according to Paul, is "a nice guy." Newt Gingrich should "run for Speaker of the House again," and Jon Huntsman is "a good diplomat" and " a thoughtful person."

And Michele Bachmann? Well, "she doesn't like Muslims," Paul said. "She hates Muslims. She wants to go get 'em." Rick Santorum, too, has a preoccupation with "gay people and Muslims."

Here's the clip:

Then came social issues and ‘morality’…

RTR2CNMS_Comp-150x150The Tea Party’s November victories and the ensuing Republican drive for spending cuts are in large part the result of a political strategy that focuses tightly on fiscal and economic matters, while minimizing rhetoric on moral questions and social topics. But for how much longer can Republicans keep a lid on the culture war?

The 2012 presidential race, though lacking in declared GOP candidates, may be about to pry open a Pandora’s box bearing the name of social issues that have long divided Republican and independent ranks. And such an occurrence could work against the interests of fiscal conservatives, just as the GOP girds itself for a showdown with Democrats over spending cuts and the debt ceiling later this spring.RTXXP42_Comp-150x150

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, one of those Republicans who are running for president without actually running for president, tells NBC’s Today show that social conservatism is what built America and made it strong.

The First Draft: US media’s Fort Hood coverage turns to militancy question

First came questions about whether anyone missed emotional signals that suspected Fort Hood shooter, Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan, was close to cracking. Now U.S. media say Congress wants to know if he was also veering toward Islamist militancy. TEXAS-SHOOTING/

A preliminary review of Hasan’s computer has revealed no evidence of any connection to terror groups or conspirators, according to a report by CBS News.

But lawmakers have asked the CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies to preserve documents on Hasan. That’s according to ABC News, which says the spooks believe he may have been trying to contact U.S.-born imam Anwar al Awlaki, who is based in Yemen and supports holy war against the West.

from FaithWorld:

Almost two million vanish from Obama’s estimate of U.S. Muslims

dawn-front-page002 (Dawn front page for Sunday, 21 June 2009)

Almost two million people have inexplicably disappeared from the estimates of the U.S. Muslim population that President Barack Obama has given recently. In his speech to the Muslim world in Cairo on June 4, he spoke about "nearly seven million American Muslims in our country today." On Sunday, the Karachi daily Dawn published an interview with him where he said "we have five million Muslims."

There was no explanation for the change, but his reason for citing the figure seemed to be the same. Shortly before his Cairo speech, Obama told the French television channel Canal Plus that "one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we'd be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." He cited no figure there but mentioned seven million in Cairo three days later.

Many blogs, FaithWorld included, questioned that figure and noted that estimates of the U.S. Muslim population range from 1.8 to 7-8 million. The U.S. Census Bureau cannot ask about religion on a mandatory basis but refers on its website to a Pew Forum study pegging Muslims at 0.6% of the population. The CIA World Factbook uses the same percentage figure. It translates into about 1.8 million.

American Muslims quick to congratulate Obama

WASHINGTON – The largest U.S. Islamic civil rights group was among the first to congratulate President-Elect Democrat Barack Obama, a man who some opponents tried to portray as a Muslim because of the childhood years he spent in Indonesia.

“President-elect Obama’s victory sends the unmistakable message that America is a nation that offers equal opportunity to people of all backgrounds,” the Council on American Islamic Relations said in a statement just minutes after Obama’s victory speech in Chicago.

Nihad Awad, executive director of the group, said they hoped to offer the Obama administration some support and advice.