May 6, 2008


How Deep Is Your Love?: Republicans are up to their usual tricks -- questioning the patriotism of their opponents. The media, as usual, is playing along because it lauds political success, not virtue. (Paul Waldman, May 6, 2008, American Prospect)

Finally, you have the candidate himself, who will not come right out and say the things his supporters are saying, but will find ways to cue discussions of his opponent's patriotism by dropping in subtle and not-so-subtle hints on the topic. McCain has already aired ads calling himself "the American president Americans have been waiting for," thereby suggesting that other candidates are either not Americans themselves, or might be the American president foreigners have been waiting for. He has also said, referring to Obama, "I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States." (A side note: given how good the Bush presidency has been for Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, and pretty much every terrorist group on the planet, there can be little doubt that they'd be much happier with the guy who wants to stay in Iraq and generally continue the Bush foreign policy.)

So there's no need to wonder whether McCain's hand will be stayed by the conscience we have been led to believe lies somewhere within him. He flip-flopped on immigration, the Bush tax cuts, and ethanol because he wants to be president and he knows this is his last chance. He sucked up to repellent radical clerics like Jerry Falwell, John Hagee, and Rod Parsley for exactly the same reason. And if he thinks that attacking his opponent's patriotism is what will get him to the White House, he'll do that too.

You won't, of course, see anyone in the press condemn the Republican nominee for this, and not just because John McCain could strangle a puppy while taking a hit from a crack pipe, and David Broder and Chris Matthews would say it shows what a straight-talking maverick he is. No, the reason the press won't condemn it isn't because of their love for McCain, but because of their absolutely bottomless cynicism. No attack is considered too low, no tactic too unethical. The only question is whether it works. If it does, they will praise it; the only thing they condemn is political failure.

So the Democratic nominee will have to find novel ways to demonstrate his or her patriotism.

...but here's a novel suggestion: try listening to yourselves. Democrats think it's the height of political brilliance when their candidates rave that there are Two Americas and then wonder that voters don't think they love the one America the rest of us actually live in.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 6, 2008 9:34 AM

Accusing your opponents of 'hurling the accusation of lacking patriotism' is the NEW... 'accusing your opponents of lacking patriotism'.

Namely, a way to hopefully shut off debate on subject by diverting it or branding it off-limits to debate. Brand away, fellas, we ain't gonna stop talking about it, no matter how much you whine. The very idea that you think it "doesn't matter" is the entire issue.

Posted by: Andrew X at May 6, 2008 10:47 AM

A case of someone is protesting too much, no?

"the American president Americans have been waiting for," is a repartee of "we are the one we have been waiting for," (I wonder who said that, and was deemed brilliant?)

"I think it's very clear who Hamas wants to be the next president of the United States." Hey, Hamas have endorsed Obie after all. You mean their endorsement is worthless?

Posted by: ic at May 6, 2008 12:13 PM

The Bush Presidency has been good for Al Qaeda? Seriously?

Posted by: Ibid at May 6, 2008 1:18 PM

I love it how Democrats and leftists regularly accuse their political opponents of racism, fascism, sexism, homophobia, wanting to pollute the planet and starve the poor, but somehow questioning their patriotism is just a low blow, beyond the limits of acceptable political discourse.

Posted by: PapayaSF at May 6, 2008 1:26 PM

It's an Ike Turner kind of love, that of the Democrats to America.

Posted by: Mikey at May 6, 2008 5:01 PM