Forget ridiculous. The "Ground Zero mosque" controversy has forcibly shoved the 2010 elections straight from the sublime, to the irrelevant.
Ignore, for the moment, the politics of the issue, or whether the debate helps Republicans or not in the run-up to November. The fact is that none of our high federal officials, from President Obama on down, ever had any business weighing in on the argument in the first place.
Even most of the mosque's fiercest opponents recoginize that the mosque, legally, is on firm ground to be built where the developers want, so for federal officials to be taking positions for or against building an Islamic center at a specific location in New York City makes about as much sense as turning the selection of a new judge on American Idol into an election-year issue.
I'm not being facetious. The federal government simply has no more jurisdiction over whether developers can, or should, build an Islamic center at any given location in New York City than they do over a popular TV program. Zoning, building, and land-use are traditionally and historically local issues. To the degree that any elected officials had to address the mosque question at all, it should have been local New York politicians. Mayor Michael Bloomberg did so, and that's where the official comment should have ended.
To be clear: I fully understand that Ground Zero stirs intense feelings for Americans no matter where they live. I also understand that there is nothing to stop everyday Americans of all political persuasions from forcefully opposing, or supporting, the mosque on talk radio, on blogs, or elsewhere, but in our web-enabled, 24-7 news cycle culture, just because something percolates into a big, national debate doesn't necessarily mean it is, or should be, a federal or political issue.