Been giving this some thought, trying to distill it, and the thing I keep coming back to is this.
Liberals think religious tolerance is an American value. Conservative do not.
Why would I think that. Look at Cairo. The embassy has a mob around it, ranting about the trailer to a home movie. Embassy official tweets.
"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."
Translation part I - 'Hey, we think insulting Islam is bad too. We think insulting anybody's religion is bad.'
But thenhe gets snarky
Translation part II - We have freedom of speech. You can be an asshole HERE. Why don;t you try some on in YOUR country.
Hey, nobody got killed. TO me that's a win. To Romney, it's an apology. What was the guys inside the embassy supposed to do? Wait for the mob to get ornery? He kept a lid on a volatile situation in a city that's basically the Wild West.
In Libya - somebody took advantage of a crowd to assassinate our Ambassador. A guy who basically saved that city from Ghaddaffi. That's why there are demonstrations in Libya yesterday and today condemning that attack. Sure there are some very powerful people in Libya who either wanted a piece of Chris Stevens, or even better the USA out altogether. But that's not the view of the people. If I were Obama, (and it's good I'm not) I'd have receieved the remains of those four men with a couple of drones hovering over my shoulders. And I don't even respect drone warfare.
I have friends in the middle east, and they're pretty much all sure the Arab Spring is about to be stolen from them. This was just one part of that theft. But I digress.
To conservatives and liberals both, freedom of speech is a right. (You can argue about whether 'making terrorist threats' rises to the level of yelling 'fire' in a crowded theatre. I do NOT think it does.)
To liberals however, universal religious tolerance is a value. To a lot of conservatives, universal religious tolerance stops as soon as you aren't Christian. Some do include the Jews, split between those who mean it, and those who want the Jews political donations.
OTOH, those conservatives who say "Muslims are out to kill us" aren't all wrong. Blaming the USA for everything that sucks is a very popular world-wide game, made more popular by the fact that we ARE responsible for a lot of things that suck. But in a place like Libya, blaming the USA for anything except helping getting one gang of armed criminals off you neck is pretty hard. Why didn't we take out ALL the armed criminals? We couldn't do that in Iraq or Afghanistan. Why go for strike three?
Again, I digress.
Is universal religious tolerance an American value or not? How far does that go? Child marriage? Clitorectomy? It's an issue worth debating this election season. But I can say I've lived and worked around quite a few Muslims and they just wanna do their job, collect their check, hang with the family and yell about sports. Sound familiar?