Back we go to this painfully stupid issue, one which His Holiness rightly describes as “manufactured” while neglecting to mention that he was the one who manufactured it. By his own admission, he deliberately stopped wearing the pin before the Iraq invasion in order to make a statement about “true patriotism” which could only be properly understood by (a) noticing that he wasn’t wearing it and (b) asking him why. He wanted to be questioned about it. Now, suddenly, people are putting it together with Wright and Bittergate and his gladhanding of Bill Ayers and wondering if there isn’t some other statement being unwittingly made, particularly since few other war opponents feel the burning need to divest themselves of flag symbolism. And so here’s the pivot, declaring this self-made landmine a “distraction” of a piece with every other uncomfortable issue Obama doesn’t want to talk about.
All the same, I don’t think as Geraghty and MKH do that he meant to lie here when he claimed, “I have never said that I don’t wear flag pins.” What he’s trying to do, I suspect, is clarify what he said last October about not wearing the pin lest it be taken as an endorsement of the war: If a vet gives him the pin at a vets-only rally, the Iraq cooties attached to the symbol are cleansed and he can put it on secure in the knowledge that in context it means nothing more than that he supports the troops (while hoping that their mission fails, natch). Convoluted enough for you? Tortured enough, as a semiotic exercise, to suit your tastes? Good. Blame Obama for thinking it’s important.
Update: If there’s any significance to the flag-pin idiocy, it has to do not with Obama’s patriotism but with his elitism. He’s just the type of self-important tool who’d stoop to a petty statement like this. Speaking out against the war isn’t enough; attending rallies or donating to anti-war groups is insufficient. The average war opponent may content himself with that, but if there’s one thing Barack Obama isn’t, it’s average, and don’t you forget it. Not for this intellectual the trappings of rote, tinny patriotism. Hey, Barry? Next time, why not wear a pin that reads, “Ask me about the pin I’m not wearing!”?