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NASCAR vs. the New York Times

Does Barack Obama understand the people he leads? Do his aides?

These may seem cheeky questions to ask of a team that just won the presidency. But there is something in their cool, insouciant, blase demeanor, in the face of insults to their country, that suggests there yet exists a chasm — between them and us.

Now, the change since the 1960s in the character of the nation has been great. The moral and social sappers spawned by that decade have done their work well. But Middle America yet remains a blood-and-soil, family-and-faith, God-and-country kind of nation.

We are not Europe — yet.

Most Americans remain visceral patriots. It’s in the DNA.

What almost cost Bill Clinton the presidency in 1992 was not that he had opposed the Vietnam War, but that, it was said, he marched against his country while in a foreign country.

When Barack confided to friends in San Francisco that he was having trouble in Pennsylvania because these folks “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them … as a way to explain their frustrations,” he revealed that he does not really understand a part of the nation he now leads.

It is this part of America that does not comprehend how the president could sit in Trinidad and listen to the scrub stock of the hemisphere trash our country — and say nothing.

To Obama’s supporters, he may have behaved as a rational leader ought: Be pleasant and friendly, smile, ignore taunts and insults, rise above all that, communicate, seek common ground.

That is who Obama is, friends say. On a personal level, there is surely nothing wrong with so conducting oneself. But Obama is now president of the United States. He represents our country, not just himself.

The other America is hardwired another way. It believes, as Merle Haggard sang, “If you’re running’ down my country, man, you’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.”

At Columbia, Harvard Law, and the University of Chicago — where Barack, the son of a single mom, shuttled from Hawaii to Indonesia and back — a black kid in a strange Muslim world, then in a white world, by his own admission unrooted, learned how to get along. And he is surrounded by aides with advanced degrees from elite colleges who react just like him.

But if they don’t wish to lose the country, they had better begin to understand the rest of America — as the 1960s’ liberals never did.

When columnist Tom Wicker famously wrote, after the riots at the 1968 Democratic Convention, “These were our children in the streets, and the Chicago police beat them up,” a Gallup poll recorded that 56 percent of Americans interviewed approved of the Chicago cops.

To most Americans, it was the cops who were “our children,” and the country was delighted the obnoxious and over-privileged brats had gotten what they deserved.

When students marched down Wall Street in 1969 to protest the “dirty immoral war” in Vietnam, the construction workers of Pete Brennan’s building trades waded in. Liberals could not understand how the working class — the proletariat, for Pete’s sake! — so detested them.

Ever since the Social Democrats voted to a man for the Kaiser’s war credits in 1914, the left has felt itself repeatedly betrayed by the economic class in which they have always invested so much hope.

This divide here is not Republicans versus Democrat, so much as it is NASCAR versus the New York Times.

When the Dubai Ports deal became public and America exploded, Times neocon columnist David Brooks was as stunned as his neoliberal colleague Tom Friedman. The “pitchfork-wielding xenophobes” were out of their cages, and a new Dark Age was upon us.

When during the Panama Canal debate Ronald Reagan declared: “We bought it. We paid for it. It’s ours. And we’re gonna keep it,” and crowds came roaring to their feet, the elites could not comprehend it, because they do not understand what Pascal meant when he said, “The heart has reasons that the mind knows not.”

Rooted people love the things of the heart: God, country, family, and faith. The weapons of the mind have been given to us, they believe, to defend the things of the heart.

Knowledge follows love; it does not precede it.

Most Americans have grown to love America long before they read the Constitution, or the Federalist Papers. There are heroes in Arlington who never learned to read. A true nation is an extended family. If fathers or sons do not defend it, it is their conduct that is indefensible.

Obama may be popular today, but he will lose the country and his presidency if he lets the perception take hold that he, the personification of American sovereignty, does not react as a normal patriot.

The Obamaites may not like Sarah Palin’s phraseology. But they need someone in their councils who is rooted in the Real America.


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#1 Comment By RK On April 24, 2009 @ 12:28 am

So, people like Daniel Larison are no longer “rooted” and became part of the New York Times elites?!

[1] /Obama_is_no_apologist

[You wrote about this “apologists” theme three days ago Pat, why keep beating up this dead horse? Perhaps the Cold War nostalgia is taking over you?]

#2 Comment By Greg Panfile On April 24, 2009 @ 1:54 am

Mr. Buchanan makes and makes well the obvious and trite point that emotion is a powerful force in politics and must be understood. However, his screed is all tone and no policy, all music and no words. The Founding Fathers structured the government precisely such that popular passion would not instantly translate into government action, and for good reason. The construction workers he cites as an example were rallying, violently at times, in support of an ill-conceived imperialist adventure of exactly the type Mr. Buchanan thinks we should no longer engage in. Some sort of coherency and consistency check would be in order here. And while Sarah Palin makes the right noises for the just plain folks crowd, is that any reason for her to be in any position to make any sort of policy? That there are illiterate patriots buried in Arlington is a comment on our educational system, not on the value of ignorance. Also, how did that Panama Canal scenario work out? Seems to me we gave it up with no negative consequences. At what point do these examples have to adhere to some standard of factual and eventual relevance, if any?

#3 Comment By Justin On April 24, 2009 @ 2:11 am

I much prefer Daniel Larison’s reaction to Obama’s trip to Trinidad.

Mr. Buchanan would do better if he advised the so-called “visceral patriots” he is so fond of to re-think their behavior. We’ve just had eight years of macho bluster, and the consequences of that are clear.

#4 Comment By MattSwartz On April 24, 2009 @ 4:41 am

We aren’t Europe –Yet.

I don’t even think Europe is Europe if the essential criterion for that is lack of rootedness and national spirit.

Merkel and Brown are the only heads of state on the Continent whose populaces would tolerate a “national apology tour”. Sarkozy’s certainly wouldn’t, and I doubt that the Spanish and Dutch people would be very happy with it, either.

We conservatives often risk errors if we project the worst qualities of our own “upper classes” onto European society as a whole. Our own elites might make that comparison with pride, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good one.

#5 Comment By Sean Scallon On April 24, 2009 @ 11:24 am

Is this the same Sarah Palin who is the mother to out-of-wedlock daughter Bristol and who basically expelled Bristol’s father Levi out of the family? Yeah I supposed she’s a part of the “real Amercia.” It happens all the time in “real America.”

Apparently Pat doesn’t read his own books. For if he did he would realize that “real America” or what he perceives it to be, really doesn’t reflect what America truly is today and now.

“Real America” today is some suburb with its gated communiites but also has its growing immigrant population and middle class minorities. These places voted for Obama thank you very much. They like what he’s doing.

Or let’s say for the sake of argument that Ron Paul is President and Paul, in order to improve relations with Iran, offers an official apology for the overthrow of the Mossedegh government by the CIA.

Would Pat then say that Ron Paul has betrayed “real America”? Hmm? It’s a good question.

#6 Comment By Jack Tracey On April 24, 2009 @ 2:35 pm

PJB says that there is an audience in America that does not want a President to apologize for past decisions or to remain silent or snarky when dictators at a summit he’s attending describe America as an evil force in the world. Obviously there is an audience who likes this approach. I suppose these people are Obama’s constituency. Maybe they disagree with him on something or another, and maybe they still drink in everything he says, just as Bush’s constituency did. Personally, I can’t remember the last time in my life that listening to the President’s voice didn’t make me want to change the station.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that there’s a difference between policy and rhetoric. So what is inconsistent about saying that changing policy is good, but begging pardon for past policies is not?

#7 Comment By M.J.Harrington On April 24, 2009 @ 4:36 pm

I am one of Mr Buchanan’s English admirers. I agree with him about seven times out of ten.
On the question before us ,however,I respectfully suggest that he is out of touch with very important parts of his own nation. Obama won the election after all, and Bill Clinton won in the 1990s and would have won in 2000 if the Constitution had allowed him to stand. Mrs Palin, who excites Mr Buchanan, would have been buried if she had been the Republican candidate. Mr Buchanan would not be wasting his time if he started a conversation with these people, and I mean a conversation not a shouting match.

By the way, I am no fan of Gordon Brown but he does not do the national apology stuff. He has spoken of his pride in Britain’s colonial record. We also have an Anglican Archbishop of York,who hails from Uganda, and who is calling for the revival of St George’s Day as an unapologetic celebration of England.

#8 Comment By Library Grape On April 24, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

Is Pat even trying to be topical anymore? Going back to the San Fran “clinging to guns and religion” thing? Seriously? I can’t identify a single thing in this post that was sparked by anything in recent news.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always had a soft spot for Pat, but he’s getting a bit batty. If republicans are going to forge a new path ahead, I think recent history has proven that it won’t be done by screaming on about “real americans” who are more “patriotic” than the scary communist socialist fascist democrats.

#9 Comment By kim serca On April 26, 2009 @ 10:46 am

So marching against the US almost cost Clinton the 92 vote?

And talking about clinging to god and guns almost cost Obama the 2008 vote?

Scary stuff – funny how they never make a difference to how people vote.

Lets face it if they did, a string-pulling service dodger like dubya would never have got elected

Dream on Pat – no-one gives a damn about chavez

#10 Comment By Robert Byers On April 30, 2009 @ 12:49 am

As always Pat Buchanan shows how he is the top man of letters in the right conclusions that has a audience. Just like his “Whose War/” piece One knows one is reading the best on these matters.
President Obama’s is not a American of the old stamp but rather a African American who sees the Yankee, Southerner, and now European Catholic as different people from himself. Yet he cmae to power with their consent and for many their vote.
Yes the American people are patriotic. Everyone is. The difference is that these hyphenated ‘Americans” are more loyal or identify with their ethnicity then the bigger American group. Simple.
Americans are the ones with only a American identity and only one flag. The others call themselves by segregating terms to indicate a true segregated identity. They are the ones waving foreign flags or wanting American blood, money, and prestige for other nations they identify equal or more with then America.
Everyone is patriotic to their people. Its just a xoincedence when its also their own place of residence.
The late election made loud and clear that blacks see themselves as a different people with different scores about achievment in America. In fact they call themselves Africans.
Words matter.

#11 Pingback By Cyrano’s Journal Online | Bush on Trial? / By Michael Hopping On May 2, 2009 @ 2:12 pm

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