Too Bad Obama 'Flinched' on Mosque And William Kristol thinks the plan is all but dead By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Aug 17, 2010 1:36 PM CDT 48 comments Comments President Obama talks about the economy at the U.S. Cellular Arena in Milwaukee, Monday, Aug. 16, 2010. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (Newser) – The proposed mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero continues to dominate pundit-land. Here's a sampling: Richard Cohen, Washington Post: Obama's backtracking was a shame. People will always blame the actions of a few on the many, as they are doing now with Islam. "It is the solemn obligation of elected leaders to restrain such an urge—to be moral as well as political leaders. Obama almost pulled that off, but he flinched." (At Politico, Roger Simon defends Obama with a tongue-in cheek criticism.) Jonah Goldberg, Los Angeles Times: The mosque was a dumb idea to begin with, and pragmatic politicians shouldn't have allowed it to advance this far. Also, Obama's speech was the "opposite of statesmanship. By elevating an already stupid idea and a poisonous debate, he forced everyone to take a side on a polarizing issue." Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid, Asharq Alawsat (UK): "I cannot imagine that Muslims want a mosque on this particular site, because it will be turned into an arena for promoters of hatred, and a symbol of those who committed the crime." William Kristol, Weekly Standard: "This will be over soon," he writes, citing the above column by al-Rashid (the director of director of Al-Arabiya TV) as an irrefutable argument. "There will be no thirteen-story mosque near Ground Zero."