Man of the Hour: Michael Bloomberg

If you’ve had a chance to crack open today’s New York Times, you’ll see the latest in the controversy regarding plans to build a 13-story mosque just two blocks north of the World Trade Center site.

While the plans have garnered opposition from parties as varied as Sarah Palin, New York GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Lazio, and the Anti-Defamation League, the planned mosque and Islamic community center has recently gained final approval from the city.

With the myriad different views and stances regarding the mosque, it’s good to see New York City Mayor (and new buddy of President Kim!) Michael Bloomberg taking a strong position that cuts right to the core of the issue; from the Times:

“‘To cave to popular sentiment would be to hand a victory to the terrorists- and we should not stand for that,’ the mayor said.

Grappling with one of the more delicate aspects of the debate, Mr. Bloomberg said that the families of Sept. 11 victims- some of whom have vocally opposed the project- should welcome it.

‘The attack was an act of war- and our first responders defended not only our city but also our country and out Constitution,’ he said, becoming slightly choked up at one point in his speech, which he delivered on Governors Island. ‘We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights- and the freedoms the terrorists attacked.‘”

Say what you will about Mayor Bloomberg, a man who has unquestionably attracted his fair share of controversy, but I applaud the Mayor for sticking to his guns in such a delicate debate, particularly when his stance is one that will undoubtedly detract his support from some of the most Bloomberg-friendly demographics- namely religious Jews and conservative Republicans, both of whom have largely been vocal in their opposition to the mosque.