Apparently, the lines are drawn with President Obama's recent declaration of tepid support for the Islamic center to be built near the "Ground Zero" 9-11 site. Many Republicans, obviously, are using this to spread fear and gets votes, but the Democrats easily could debate the GOP on the Republicans' own intellectual ground, yet it seems that the Dems are incapable of so doing.
What is that argument? It is the simple invocation of private property rights. (No, the Islamic center would NOT qualify as an "externality" under any current definitions.) However, neither Obama nor his fellow Democrats are willing to do that, since "Progressives" believe that private property rights generally are oppressive and must give way to "public interest" arguments. Now that we have a real-live property rights issue, the Democrats are intellectually bankrupt and the Republicans are outright craven. What a choice.