Non-“right wing crazies” also question the Democrats’ (and specifically Obama’s) patriotism.
Like Joe Klein, for example.
This is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what’s wrong with America than what’s right. When Ronald Reagan touted “Morning in America” in the 1980s, Dick Gephardt famously countered that it was near midnight “and getting darker all the time.” This is ironic and weirdly self-defeating, since the liberal message of national improvement is profoundly more optimistic, and patriotic, than the innate conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature. Obama’s hopemongering is about as American as a message can get although, in the end, it is mostly about our ability to transcend our imperfections rather than the effortless brilliance of our diversity, informality and freedom-propelled creativity.
That’s what the right is questioning about the Democrats and about Obama. It’s not that he doesn’t wear a flag pin. I could care less whether Democrats or Republicans wear flag pins. The attitude and mindset of a potential President is what’s important here. I want someone who, while admitting the challenges and struggles we face as a country, will also acknowledge the possibility that we can overcome those challenges. I’ve said on several occasions that it’s customary to have the party out of power tell the voters how terrible everything is to win elections, and that both sides do this. However, the Democrats seem to have perfected this particular argument, and it’s often hard for them to admit that the country isn’t doomed, because this ruins all of their stump speeches.
It also damages their push for national health care, pulling out of Iraq — forget for a minute that both Hillary and Obama have flip-flopped on their commitment to immediate withdrawal from Iraq — and all of their other grand social experiments and new government spending. This aversion to Bush has really tied the Dems in knots to the point where they can never give him credit for anything, even when it’s obvious they agree with what he does. According to the Democrats, Bush has ruined this great country, and all the bad things happening to you in your life are indirectly caused by your President. This period of misery will continue under President McCain, because “he’s just like Bush”. McCain will also ruin your life, so the only choice you have is to vote Democratic. That’s their whole argument. McCain = Bush.
At some point, the Democrats will have to make the case for their nominee, and it has to be more than “We’re not like Bush!”. President Bush isn’t running again, and running against him won’t work this time.
3 thoughts on “are they serious?”
Joe Klein is a very serious person indeed. Him not being a right wing crazy is news to me, however.
Actually the right is questioning Obama not wearing a flag pin. Rove did it just the other day. Numerous other right wingers have also questioned Obama not wearing a flag pin.
Besides not saying much of anything, I don’t have much to add to this sorry 🙂
Isn’t Joe Klein a Democrat? If not, that’s news to me. 😉
Some people react differently to the flag pin thing. Rove is entitled to his opinion, but he doesn’t speak for all of us. There are those who wear flag pins because they were in the military and the flag has great symbolic importance to them because of their service to this country. But it’s not the flag pin by itself that leads those questioning Obama on this to do so. It’s a combination of things. Reverend Wright, Michelle Obama’s comments about being proud of her country for the first time, and some of these things which would be considered trivial by themselves — they are all contributing to what some on the right would consider a negative pattern.
Now, you know where I stand on Obama and the patriotism charge. I’m not convinced that the right has made a good enough case to prove that Obama is unpatriotic or that he “hates America”. But it does appear that Obama has been rather unlucky in his choice of associates, and it doesn’t help his cause that he knows people like Jeremiah Wright. All we are trying to do is to fill in the blanks on Obama — who he is and what he believes. If his campaign had done a better job defining him at the beginning, we wouldn’t have to do this.
Guess I made a long riff out of your short answer. Sorry about that. 🙂
Nicely put. I think the right loves to throw out the fact that not wearing a flag pin on your lapel is the ultimate betrayal of patriotism, especially for someone running for president. Like you, I think it’s silly. And for someone like Rove, who the closest he’s ever been to combat is when Dick Cheney shot someone in the face, it looks even sillier coming from him.
Klein gets paid to say he’s a Democrat by Time. He’s no more a Democrat than Kent is. I think every now and then Klein will call himself a liberal and sometimes so does Greta van Sustren if that means anything. Klein’s stances are as right wing you can get when it comes to the war and economic issues. I think socially he might be a little to the left but I’m not sure.
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