What’s the deal with the hubbub, coming mainly from right-wing types, over the so-called Ground Zero mosque? Clearly, as The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf notes, it has a lot to do with the popular culture-war-themed wedge issues that crop up right around now in each election cycle.

Well, that’s obvious, but Friedersdorf extends his analysis further to remind us of the eventual cost of just the kind of posturing and pontificating that we’re seeing with the mosque-troversy: “Too often we’re electing precisely the politicians who are most adept at exploiting wedge issues.” Word. –KA

“The Daily Dish” in The Atlantic:

If a new Congressman knows that he owes his election to populist wedge issues like the so-called Ground Zero mosque, is he going to propose tough spending cuts when he gets to Washington DC? Or is he going to become addicted to wedge issues, and never do the hard work of persuading voters that our current fiscal course is unsustainable? Too often we’re electing precisely the politicians who are most adept at exploiting wedge issues.

You’ve probably wondered why the Republicans you’ve sent to Congress in the past haven’t made any headway on shrinking government. It’s largely because a motivated constituency stands ready to oppose any significant cut. But a small part of the blame can be assigned to a base that is forever distracted by whatever irrelevant kerfuffle is thrust before it. Do you remember the last big story that the conservative media brought to national attention? It was a videotape of a speech by Shirley Sherrod, an obscure USDA official in rural Georgia. Andrew Breitbart, proprietor of several Web sites increasingly visited by your fellow conservative Republicans, claims that he published an excerpt in order to demonstrate the supposed racism of the NAACP.

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