Five years from now I think we’ll look back on today’s “Mosque in Manhattan” controversy in the same way that we now view the flag-burning question of the 90’s. In both instances, the common opinion will be, “I passionately believe in your right to burn or build, but I fervently hope you choose not to do either.” (Discussions, by the way, that start off with the underlying question, “How patriotic are you?” tend to generate more heat than light.)
One thing I’ve learned from watching the President dance around this issue is that academics, and I include myself in this, sometimes misunderstand leadership. Enjoying an intellectual discussion in a law school class or around a Harkness Table is not the same as leading. Sometimes nuance is not enough.