Yes, Barack Obama loves America. To suggest that he (or any American president) doesn’t is cheap and ugly, and says more about the person making the remark than it does about the president. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who hasn’t been a Republican politician of consequence for at least six years, did not cover himself in glory by impugning the president’s patriotism the other day, nor have GOP presidential aspirants who have endorsed Giuliani’s statement.
That said, who cares? Dave Weigel of Bloomberg Politics explains why conservatives are right to see a media double standard here. Excerpts:
Was it news? Well, sure! But review the timing: the week before the Giuliani hubbub, the White House introduced a version of an authorization of military force against ISIS. Next week, Congress is looking at a deadline on a must-pass Homeland Security funding bill, with Republicans expected to include riders that will prompt a presidential veto. If you thought it was strange to spend the week in between discussing whether a former New York Mayor was disrespectful to the president, you’re not alone.
So, why’d it happen?
Weigel offers some solid reasons, including:
The media seemed to be making up rules as it went along. In 2008, Barack Obama said it was “unpatriotic” for George W. Bush to add trillions to the national debt. In 2004, Howard Dean warned Democratic voters that there was “a group of people around the President whose main allegiance is to each other and their ideology rather than to the United States.”
And then there was Giuliani. When he spoke, we learned that it was off-limits for someone to question an opponent’s patriotism. The platonic ideal of this sentiment came from Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart:
[Rick] Perry, Giuliani, D’Souza and countless others are part of a larger problem in American political discourse: The constant questioning of whether Obama not only loves this country, but also whether he would do everything in his power to protect it. Those engaging in this destructive discussion are the ones who “don’t love America.”
In two sentences, it’s, one, a problem to question the president’s patriotism, and, two, a responsibility to question the patriotism of people who say this about Obama. There is no escape from this logic hole. Actually, it’s shaped like the hole conservatives dive into when they claim that Obama revealed his true radicalism when he said that his election would “fundamentally transform America,” as if every politician doesn’t run on transforming his state or country or city, and as if—to pick a name entirely at random—Walker’s popularity with Republicans surged when he started transforming decades of labor rights and entitlement spending norms in Wisconsin.
The other day I was at my mom and dad’s, and Fox News was griping on and on about how someone, I think the White House press secretary, had insulted Fox. They even had Karl Rove on to offer his perspective on the anti-Fox horribleness. It’s just so vain and stupid, all of it.