Quotes of the day

Former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani of New York on Thursday defended his assertion that President Obama did not love America, and said that his criticism of Mr. Obama’s upbringing should not be considered racist because the president was raised by “a white mother.”…

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Giuliani dismissed the criticism and said he was describing the worldview that had shaped Mr. Obama’s upbringing.

“Some people thought it was racist — I thought that was a joke, since he was brought up by a white mother, a white grandfather, went to white schools, and most of this he learned from white people,” Mr. Giuliani said in the interview. “This isn’t racism. This is socialism or possibly anti-colonialism.”


There’s clearly an element of Giuliani’s attack which stems from Obama’s political persuasion. The former mayor would almost certainly not say something similar about a Republican political leader who offered similar critiques of our past — if one were inclined to do so. But he’s also echoing a very old refrain in American politics: Love it or leave it…

Giuliani, for example, opposes what the United States is doing on foreign policy. That’s a critique. It’s safe to assume that he takes issue with past practices of the government and past legislation, particularly under this administration. He no doubt opposes our legacy of slavery and segregation. Where’s the line that separates regret or criticism from not loving the country?

The Post’s Chris Mooney wrote a book (prior to his Post days) looking at the psychological differences that are correlated with political identity. Liberals, he said in an interview with Britannica.com, “seem to be more open to new experiences, to trying new things, and more tolerant of ambiguity, uncertainty, nuance and change.” Conservatives are less likely to embrace nuance, but are “more conscientious, meaning they appreciate order and structure in their lives.” A “love it or leave it” philosophy would, in that framework, appeal more to conservatives than “love it, but acknowledge and debate the ways in which America has erred.”


While Obama does not always use the word “love,” he frequently talks about the greatness of America.

During a D-Day commemoration last year in Normandy, France, Obama said: “Whether 70 or 700 years hence, will gather at places like this to honor them and to say that these were generations of men and women who proved once again that the United States of America is and will remain the greatest force for freedom the world has ever known.”

Over the years, Obama has described the United States as “the indispensable nation” and “the greatest nation on Earth.”…

It is true that Obama has criticized the United States over sins ranging from slavery to colonialism, but he often follows up by saying the nation’s ability to address its problems is testimony to its greatness.


Every Obama speech has a villain, and that villain is often other Americans who disagree with the president. He doesn’t hesitate to paint a very dark picture of the country he leads: citizens who are xenophobic and paranoid about Muslims, abusive police forces unfairly focusing on Muslim communities, a public eager to forcibly deport good Americans who just want to serve their country, and lawmakers determined to deny good education to children.

Maybe Giuliani’s language is a bit overwrought or hyperbolic, but is it really that much overwrought or hyperbolic than Obama’s description of Americans who disagree with his policies? And if Obama consistently describes so many Americans as so prejudiced and mean-spirited… is Guiliani’s conclusion really that outlandish?


Progressives play this game where they launch nothing but nasty Marxist Critiques upon America, agitating for the country to remake itself entirely, but want to claim simultaneously: We love America as much as anybody.

Oh you most certainly do not! Definitionally, you do not: One who “loves” with a long list of caveats and criticisms does not love as much as someone who loves completely (or with a much shorter list of caveats and criticisms)…

They have in fact defined themselves as being Those who are too smart to buy into this “patriotism” nonsense

And Obama is the absolute worst. He is explicitly — he has told interviewers this, and David Axelrod writes about it in his book — pursuing a “Bulworth” agenda by which he will Tell Americans how wrong they are about virtually everything, and yet the media needs the fainting couch when you point out that one is generally not said to be “in love with” people for whom one has nothing but complaints and critiques.


But here’s where Giuliani is off the mark: it’s nothing personal. Obama just doesn’t do love

Obama has also abandoned each of his most important constituencies, at one time or another. He betrayed the hopes of the black community, which has seen its economic fortunes decline, in general, during his presidency. He promised the unions he would march with them, then avoided Wisconsin in the crucial collective bargaining fight of 2011. He told American Jews he would have “Israel’s back,” and look where we are.

These betrayals are more than run-of-the-mill broken promises. They are examples of unrequited love. Because the same constituencies, by and large, stick with Obama anyway.

And that just reinforces Obama’s apparent cynicism about love: at some level, he suspects people don’t really love him, just the idea of him. “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views,” he wrote in The Audacity of Hope. He doesn’t return that love because he suspects it isn’t sincere. He’s almost disdainful of the adoration.


But the most irritating part of all the pearl-clutching about Giuliani’s remark, though, is the hypocrisy. Just today in Time we read: “Obama Claims GOP Rhetoric Could Help ISIS.” The president now argues that those who fail to follow his bizarre aversion to dealing with the reality of Islamic terrorism are aiding and legitimatizing enemies who burn innocent people alive. If that’s not questioning our patriotism (and morality), I’m not sure what is. And it’s not new. Democrats have made a nasty habit of framing all political opposition to progressive ideas as unpatriotic assaults on the aspirations of average Americans. For Democrats, patriotism means paying lots of taxes. One liberal after the next stood up at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and accused Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan of betting against America simply because they engaged in business abroad or made too much money or had different ideas about the welfare state.

To be fair, the DNC’s rhetoric is mild compared to Al Gore’s claim that George W. Bush betrayed his country, or Obama’s claim that Bush’s debt-spending was unpatriotic. (Obama’s debt is, no doubt, a moral imperative.) No, no one is innocent. And Giuliani’s comments are about the former mayor’s problems with the president’s foreign policy. Obviously, you can’t measure patriotism by how many bombs a president drops. But on top of his attempts to redefine patriotism, Obama’s insatiable need to apologize for our alleged wrongdoings (and to create ridiculous moral equivalencies between cultures that struggle with violence and authoritarianism and our own) is also disconcerting. For many Americans, it’s also suspicious.


Questions about patriotism and love of country are, according to our self-appointed referees, out of bounds, déclassé, boob bait for bubbas, etc. Those are questions that we are not allowed to ask in polite society. Why? Because polite society does not want to hear the answers.

Does Barack Obama like America? The people around him certainly seem to have their reservations. Michelle Obama said — twice, at separate campaign events — that her husband’s ascending to the presidency meant that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country.” She was in her mid 40s at the time, her “adult lifetime” having spanned decades during which she could not be “really proud” of her country. Barack Obama spent years in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s church as the churchman fulminated: “God Damn America!” The Reverend Wright’s infamous “God Damn America!” sermon charges the country with a litany of abuses: slavery, mistreatment of the Indians, “treating citizens as less than human,” etc. A less raving version of the same indictment can be found in the president’s own speeches and books. His social circle includes such figures as Bill Ayers and Bernadette Dohrn, who expressed their love of country by participating in a murderous terrorist campaign against it…

For the progressive, there is very little to love about the United States. Washington, Jefferson, Madison? A bunch of rotten slaveholders, hypocrites, and cowards even when their hearts were in the right places. The Declaration of Independence? A manifesto for the propertied classes. The Constitution? An artifact of sexism and white supremacy. The sacrifices in the great wars of the 20th century? Feeding the poor and the disenfranchised into the meat-grinder of imperialism. The gifts of Carnegie, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Morgan, Astor? Blood money from self-aggrandizing robber barons…

There is very little that a man with Barack Obama’s views and proclivities should love about the country, beyond the fact that its people are so vulnerable to insipid sentimentality that they twice elected him president.