All hail our moral superior, who for the second time in as many weeks dresses up a cynical political gesture in the rhetoric of high ideals and “change.” He was too gutless to take sides when the senate voted to condemn MoveOn’s ad, claiming that a serious statesman can’t be bothered with such meaningless grandstanding — after he voted on Boxer’s “we respect the troops” resolution the same day. Now, at last, his long wait for some reporter to ask him why he doesn’t wear a flag pin is at an end, giving him a chance to flatter the moral vanity of the left by rolling out a pat story about how “true patriotism” means being anti-war and nonconformist and just real conscientious-like about vital social issues ‘n stuff.
“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.
“Instead,” he said, “I’m going to try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”
In other words, rather than simply say “I don’t want to trivialize my patriotism by wearing it as a fashion accessory,” he reiterates that he does wear it as a fashion accessory. The empty space where the pin would be is the accessory, and clearly noticeable enough that a reporter would ask him about it unprompted. Even dopier, by not wearing the pin, he’s basically ceding the iconography of the flag to war supporters. The smart thing would be to wear it and declare that it’s every bit as patriotic on a war opponent as anyone else.
Although that wouldn’t be true in every case, now would it?