(Graphic via Doug Ross)
When criticized for being soft or wrong on national security, Democrats routinely respond that their patriotism is being questioned. In fact, they're rarely if ever accused of being unpatriotic. But to the paranoid, that's immaterial. John Kerry went so far in 2004 as to insist he knew how the Bush crowd would respond even before he delivered a foreign policy speech. "I know what the Bush apologists will say to this--that it is unpatriotic to question, to criticize, or to call for change," he said. Of course, Bush and his allies said nothing of the kind.
There's method in the Democrats' paranoia. They've figured out how to use it to their advantage: Blame someone for calling you unpatriotic, and you may blow off their legitimate criticism, even stigmatize them as smear artists, while you're seen responding more in sorrow than in anger.
Now Barack Obama has picked up the I'm-being-called-unpatriotic theme. Practically no one has questioned his patriotism, aside from a few bloggers and a stray TV commentator or two. Nonetheless, he declared after the Texas and Ohio primaries, "In this campaign, we will not stand for the politics that uses religion as a wedge and patriotism as a bludgeon." A few weeks later, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe chimed in: "Questioning patriotism is something we don't think has a place in this campaign."
Obama has taken what he calls "the patriotism thing" a step further. He's suggested the patriotism of his political opponents pales in contrast with his "true patriotism." At least that was how he explained his decision to remove his American flag lapel pin. "You know, the truth is that right after 9/11, I had a pin," Obama said. "Shortly after 9/11, particularly because as we're talking about the Iraq war, that became a substitute for I think true patriotism, which is speaking out on issues that are of importance to our national security, I decided I won't wear that pin on my chest." In effect, Obama turned the patriotism issue on its head. If anyone was unpatriotic, it was his critics and foes, certainly not Obama.
The patriotism issue has also spread to liberal commentators. Kirsten Powers, writing in the New York Post, offered the conventional (paranoid) wisdom among Democrats. Insinuations of a lack of patriotism are what "the Obama campaign can expect in the future." It's the Republican way of campaigning.
There's a difference--a significant one--between being falsely called unpatriotic and having what Joe Klein of Time defines as a problem with patriotism. "Patriotism is, sadly, a crucial challenge for Obama now," Klein wrote. Why? Not because of Republicans, but because the Jeremiah Wright flap and Michelle Obama's comments and the flag pin incident "have fed a scurrilous undercurrent of doubt about whether he is 'American' enough." Absent the "scurrilous undercurrent" bit and Klein's silly notion that the "liberal message" is more patriotic than the "innate" pessimism of conservatism, Klein is on to something.
And it's not just Obama who has a problem with patriotism. "This is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right," Klein said. Blaming Republicans is not the cure, especially since you've got to be paranoid to believe they're the problem in the first place.
Obama and Intifada: Ties that Blind
Senator Obama's association with Reverend Jeremiah Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ has easily become the campaign's biggest vulnerability. The famous fiery indictments and conspiracy theories dealt from the pulpit to a nation watching YouTube are being pinned and repinned to Obama, as he continues to try and brush them off.
Now there's a new and even uglier twist, if you can believe that. Obama is being linked to the radical group International Solidarity Movement (ISM), as reported in the Canada Free Press on Tuesday. Ali Abunimah, Vice President of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago and co-founder of the Electronic Intifada, a website of the ISM, posted an article on Monday in which he outlines why he believes Obama is really very in tune with the Reverend's views on Israel. He even quotes Obama's remarks to a group of Jewish leaders in Cleveland to comfort his fellow anti-Semites that "Obama implicitly admitted that Wright's views were rooted in opposition to Israel's deep ties to apartheid South Africa, and thus entirely reasonable." Read on.
Of course, you may think it is unfair to link the Senator and the ISM activist, but Kaplan lays out the extensive connections. Just to be clear what we are talking about, the ISM is a movement comprised of Neo-nazis, anarchists, Arab militants, communists, and other radical elements originally set up to support the PLO in efforts toward the ultimate destruction of Israel. In Lee Kaplan's words, they are "a subversive organization out to destroy western-style democracies." In this excerpt from the article Kaplan adds:
"Ali Abunimah is more than just some 'Palestinian activist' based in Chicago, the same location as Reverend Wright and the Trinity United Church of Christ. He is, in fact, one of the founders of the fiercely anti-Semitic ISM Arab group Al Awda, the Palestine Right of Return Coalition. Abunimah is a high level international leader of the ISM for the Arabs who travels extensively between Chicago, Europe and Ramallah."
Abunimah cites a past working relationship with the Senator in his wink-wink, nudge-nudge to anti-Semites, but Kaplan points out that relationship is not the only connection between the two.
"Obama's association with the ISM through his church and lobbying in Chicago goes even deeper than just his past links to Al Awda and Ali Abunimah. His pastor, Jeremiah Wright, and the Trinity Union Church of Christ in Chicago, are both equally involved with the ISM."
"Since 2001, the ISM has been tasked by the PLO and other Arab irredentist groups with getting new generations of American college kids to consider democratic Israel as somehow a violator of human rights, all the while as the Palestinian Arabs who practice open anti-Semitism, honor killings, and the murders of their own people as well as Jews, as commendable practices."
"Now, it has become the ISM's time to deconstruct religious dogma of Israel belonging to the Jews as is preached in US churches and to increase the number of black churches in America that are working in "solidarity" with this program. Jeremiah Wright's church is one of them. Even though the national synod of the United Church for Christ rescinded a boycott and divestment plan against Israel, a wing of the UCC church keeps trying to get it reinstated. That wing includes Reverend Wright's Trinity UCC Church in Chicago."
Intifada is rebellion based on the breeding of hatred and the propagating of low-level terrorism. Israel Matzav notes that the ISM has been linked to armed support of Palestinian terrorists, and Gateway Pundit points out that they are even linked to the despicable Easter Sunday "protest" two weeks ago.
The picture of anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism, and zealous conspiracy-theorizing evident from the pulpit and bulletins of Barack Obama's self-proclaimed religious inspiration and spiritual guide is a gruesome tableau. It's a tableau that Barack can't bring himself to disown, and which he believes is so integral to the black community as to be indistinguishable. "I can no more disown [Reverend Wright] than I can disown the black community," he professes.
Intifada is rebellion, and Senator Obama has a cozy twenty-year relationship with the rebellious Wright and other intifada bedfellows. The question is whether the American voters are ready to let that relationship become their own.
Margaret Carlson contends that Barack Obama has made two big errors in his campaign. One was failing to recognize the impact of Rev. Wright's incendiary language The other was his failure at bowling. She makes a good case that, in working-class, primarily white suburbs, Obama "is having a hard time passing himself off as ordinary folk" and his 37 (a really abysmal score) just made it worse.
One might argue, as many of us here have, that his association with Wright was more than a failure to anticipate public reaction: it was a moral and intellectual failing. (Juan Williams, as he has before, explains this in today's Wall Street Journal with searing clarity.) Yet she has a point: does Obama lack a "feel" for ordinary voters' sensibilities?
Well, of course. His life experience is utterly unlike the average voter's. On his journey from Hawaii to Indonesia to Hawaii to Harvard, he probably ran into a lot of critiques of American culture and not very much bowling. He hasn't, it looks like, developed an internal compass that warns him when something may be offensive or off-putting to ordinary Americans.
So while Clinton has morphed from a former First Lady and Yale-educated feminist lawyer to a champion of working class voters ("her `Rocky' doggedness has grabbed the sympathy of people so unlike her yet drawn by what looks like a hard-luck story"), Obama is still grasping for a connection to the people whose votes will be critical in November. That is the downside of continually criticizing your country and fellow countrymen. It makes it that much harder to turn around and tell them you're one of them.
By John Derbyshire
I dunno, I must be missing a gene or two. Everybody, including even some conservatives, is telling me what a fine uplifting orator Barack Obama is. All I see is great gusts of hot air. When he says something that actually has any semantic content, either it is just false, or else it is naked socialism. I was just looking through Obama's latest oratorical masterpiece. It strikes me as obnoxious, where it is not just flatulent.
. we've got young people all across this country who have never had a reason to participate until now.
The "reason to participate," for people of any age, is the sense of citizenly duty. This sense didn't exist before Obama showed up?
We're up against the belief that it's all right for lobbyists to dominate our government, that they are just part of the system in Washington.
But lobbyists are part of the system in Washington. It says so in the First Amendment: ". to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Obama wants to repeal the First Amendment?
We're up against the conventional thinking that says your ability to lead as president comes from longevity in Washington or proximity to the White House.
That's the conventional thinking? So how did Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush get elected President? None of them had any "longevity in Washington" - not even as much as you, Senator. Sure, I understand, this is throwing some of Hillary's stuff back at her, but it's still nonsense.
. real leadership is about . the ability to rally Americans from all walks of life around a common purpose, a higher purpose.
Not just cant, but Leninist cant. We are a republic of free people, not the tools of some "leader" pursuing a historical "purpose." What is your "higher purpose," Senator? And what happens to those of us who decline to rally around it?
. there are people all across this great nation who . can't afford another four years without health care, that can't afford another four years without good schools, that can't afford another four years without decent wages because our leaders couldn't come together and get it done.
A doctor visit costs no more than a name-brand pair of sneakers - less, probably, in relation to average earnings, than ever in our history. Hospital emergency rooms treat anyone. The theory that spending a ton of money gets you "good schools" was tested to destruction in Kansas City, 1985-97. All that KC got out of it was the most bloated and corrupt educational bureaucracy since Imperial China's (and increased dropout rates to boot!) And why should employers pay "decent wages" to Americans, when they can pay in-decent wages to illegal immigrants? - those illegal immigrants whose unlawful presence in our country you are just fine with, Senator?
And where we are met with cynicism and doubt and fear and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of the American people in three simple words: Yes, we can.
Cynicism towards the kind of vaporous flapdoodle Obama trades in is fully justified, and ought to be encouraged. Doubt that an Obama administration will be able to do any better with the nation's issues than a Clinton, McCain, Romney, or Paul administration, is likewise fully justified, given Obama's lack of executive experience, or of experience in any real job; as is doubt that the things Obama says he wants to do, are desirable. Fear that an Obama administration will just take more of our money to sluice away on bureaucratic extravaganzas, ditto. The man's a hard-left socialist, for Heaven's sake. Anyone falling for this stuff learned nothing from the later 20th century.
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