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The New Black Panther story never really took off. Shirley Sherrod disappeared from the news after a few days. Birthright citizenship seems to be sliding back under the rock it came from. Thank God, then, for the Ground Zero mosque, which National Journal informs me went “national” while I was gone this weekend:

Until Friday night, the controversy over a proposed mosque near the site of the World Trade Center in NYC was a phenomenon of cable news networks, an obsession in the narrow I-95 corridor. Then, Pres. Obama weighed in.

….House Min. Leader John Boehner signaled GOPers would press the issue in a Saturday statement in which he called both the mosque itself and Obama’s reaction “deeply troubling.” If Boehner’s saying it, most House GOPers will follow suit.

— Associating Obama with the mosque is less geared toward influencing the midterm elections than it is about undermining Obama’s hopes in ’12. GOPers’ goals in ’08 were partly about making Obama seem like the “other,” and criticism during his first term has focused on his efforts at building international cooperation. In a time of economic angst, voters tend to focus inward, and appealing to the international community leaves Obama open to GOP attacks, fair or unfair….Expect Dem candidates across the country to be forced to choose between their president and the GOP’s position.

Meanwhile, over in the New York Times, following in the footsteps of giants, Ross Douthat puts a sophisticated conservative sheen on this latest bout of hysterical bigotry. Aside from the complete lack of actual evidence for anything he says, I especially like his endorsement of both “fair means and foul” to make sure newbies get the message that they need to toe the WASP line. That’s a nice touch.

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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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