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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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And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

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