March 14, 2011 Arlington VA
It is coming up on a week after Rep. Peter King (R-NY), started his investigation on the radicalization of the American Muslim population with the first hearings that made him look completely foolish. At least Senator Joe McCarthy, in the early 50's, waved a few pieces of paper in the air which he claimed were lists of communists and their sympathizers. King could not even do that.
A New Gallup Poll indicates that 52 percent of Americans say these hearings are appropriate, though support is split along party lines. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans say the hearings are the right thing, while only 40 percent of Democrats say they are appropriate. Independents' views track closely to the national average at 51 percent supporting the hearings. Overall, 49 percent of Democrats polled on Tuesday say the hearings are not appropriate, compared to 42 percent of independents and 23 percent of Republicans. From that perspective, King has support for his views.
However, what King did not do--favoring a more general, sensationalist view--was to clearly define the purpose of his committee hearings. Those hearings should be on radicalization of Americans across a number of groups who preach hate and destruction--including those terrorist groups that happen to be Muslim. Instead he painted the Muslim community separately with a broad brush and that hurts everyone--not those he should have identified and exposed.
Rep. King has a long history of shooting off his mouth--starting hearings, or making claims, and eventually letting them peter out after he gets the publicity he seeks. That is what these hearing are really all aobut--publicity for mr. King. if he had the perspective, he could do good things with his hearings--but I will bet he won't, and the results of his efforts will be meaningless--except perhaps to get himself re-elected.