There is a real problem with the border in Arizona.  And there is a real problem with the Mosque near Ground Zero.  But these are distractions from the greater issue of an economy out of control and a government that sees no problem it cannot solve, and no issue it should leave to the citizens themselves to address.

The immigration issue is difficult, but it is attracting the extremist elements. And the Republican suggestion that the 14th amendment should be changed makes it easy to tag the Republicans with the prejudice that was a real problem with the party many years ago.

Realistically the 14th amendment will not be changed, so even suggesting it serves only to paint the GOP with a label it should seek to avoid.  It is a red herring as Jeff Jacoby noted in the Boston Globe,  Born in the USA.

The Cordoba House, the Ground Zero Mosque, is also a losing argument.  While I think they would be wiser to have it elsewhere, the Republicans are unwise to direct more attention to it. President Bush was wise to disassociate the radical from the rest of Islam after 9/11.  The party would be wise to follow his lead.

The Twitter sphere and social networks is pulsing with emotional comments on the mosque. Much of it crosses the line of legitimate debate, and is just hateful.

It matters little that 70% of Americans are against it. True leadership is the following of principles, not polls. It may look convenient to take advantage of the strong sentiment to score political points, but the Republicans would be wiser to take the high road.

The independents are cautious of divisive politics.  Besides, the Republicans already have the Democrats on a broad retreat, on the subject of the economy, jobs, health care, cap and trade, card check, the debt, and many examples of anti business sentiment and intrusion into our private lives.

The Republicans are providing the Democrats with the ammunition to attack the GOP as prejudiced and extreme.   They would be wise to focus on the real issues that concern so many Americans and turn down the noise on the difficult emotional and less important but more divisive issues.

As Dick Army once advised, “ Don’t waste your energy killing your enemy if he is busy committing suicide.”  Sometimes all you have to do to win is shut up and let your opposition destroy themselves.