Quotes of the day

Rudy Giuliani doubled down on his claims that President Obama doesn’t “love America” in an interview with The Post Friday — claiming the commander-in-chief has been influenced by communists since his youth.

“From the time he was 9 years old, he was influenced by Frank Marshall Davis, who was a communist,” Giuliani said. The ex-mayor added that Obama’s grandfather introduced him to Davis, a writer and labor activist…

“He was educated by people who were critics of the US. And he has not been able to overcome those influences.”

Giuliani also implied he was the only one with the chutzpah to call out Obama, saying: “Somebody has to raise these issues with the president. Somebody has to have the courage to stand up.”


Mr. Giuliani’s friends and political associates say he has become a man obsessed — horrified at what he views as a listless White House approach to terrorism and instability in the Middle East, and eager to say so…

After his initial comments caused an uproar, Mr. Giuliani did little to tamp down the controversy in an interview with The New York Times on Thursday, and again on Friday night.

“I said exactly what I wanted to say,” he said. “I conveyed exactly the message I wanted to convey.”…

“He represents a lot of Americans who are scratching their heads wondering why our president — the president of the United States — doesn’t defend our culture the way he defends everybody else’s culture,” Mr. Allbaugh said.


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a leading Republican contender for the White House in 2016, said Saturday he doesn’t know whether President Barack Obama loves his country.

“You should ask the president what he thinks about America,” Walker told The Associated Press while in Washington for a weekend meeting of the National Governors Association. “I’ve never asked him so I don’t know.”


Earlier Sunday, Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) was asked by Fox to comment on the comments, because why not. His response: “I don’t think it helps to question the president’s patriotism or motives,” but, at the same time, Rudy’s a good guy.

If you guess that [Sen. Lindsey] Graham’s comments wouldn’t be much different, you would be correct:

“Well, I love Rudy, but I don’t want to go there. The nation’s very divided, President Obama has divided us more than he’s brought us together and I don’t want to add to that division. I have no doubt that he loves his country, I have no doubt that he’s a patriot. But his primary job as President of the United States is to defend this country, and he’s failing miserably.”


[Gov. Nikki] Haley, in an interview with reporters from The Washington Post on Saturday, said she disagreed. “Of course he loves his country,” Haley said of the president. “Anybody that serves, you can’t not love what you serve. So he absolutely loves his country.”

Haley added: “We’ve always been a powerhouse. We’ve always been strong. We’ve always set the tone for the world on what to expect. And I think because they’re not seeing that from the president, some people are frustrated, and some people are getting offended. I think that Mayor Giuliani got offended. I think he got personal in what he was saying, but I think that overall he did express the frustrations of the people in this country.”


By Friday, a trio of Republicans had distanced themselves from the personal knock on Obama while maintaining Giuliani’s intended critique — which they suggested was aimed at the president’s foreign policy — was valid. But one leading GOP senator, Kentuckian Rand Paul, went farther, overtly criticizing Giuliani and calling it a “mistake to question peoples’ motives.”…

“I think it’s a mistake to question people’s motives,” he replied. “It’s one thing to disagree on policy,” Paul added, noting that he and Kentucky Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth “don’t always agree,” but when they do “we acknowledge our agreement.”

“But I don’t question his motives. And I try not to question the president’s motives as being a good American or a bad American,” Paul added.


Rudy Giuliani should not have questioned President Barack Obama’s love of America, former Romney advisor Dan Senor told CNBC on Friday as the firestorm over the comments ignited a fierce national debate…

Senor, co-founder of the advocacy group Foreign Policy Initiative, said in a “Squawk Box” interview Friday, “I don’t think it is healthy for the modern Republican Party to go into 2016, having a national debate … about whether or not Barack Obama loves America.”

“That is insane,” he added.


Why this? Why now? After all, it wasn’t a new tone for Giuliani, and Phoenix wasn’t exactly a one-stoplight hamlet with no video cameras.

Well: Just as a heavy snowstorm in New York gets more attention than a civilization-crippling snow storm in Boston, a gaffe in the media capital of the world matters more than a gaffe in the hinterlands. New York’s media is full of excellent reporters who grew up or made their careers under Giuliani, and could cover the latest remarks as Chapter One Million in a Greek drama…

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.”…

This is a deep source of conservative frustration. They want to accuse Obama of radicalism the way that they once accused undergraduate Saul Alinsky-scholar Hillary Clinton of radicalism; the way that they see the media reading into Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand-fandom, or the Koch brothers’ patriarch being a member of the John Birch Society. And when they try, they’re accused of othering, and racism.


Whenever Obama praises America, especially in foreign lands, he is careful to append caveats that make it clear America should, as he once said in another context, get off its high horse. He doesn’t apologize, exactly, but he makes it clear that his overall image of America is of a morally shrunken, chastened land whose sins render it unfit to exert much authority in the world

Obama’s famous view of American exceptionalism — “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism” — is curiously qualified: When you ask a mom whether she thinks her baby is cute, you expect to hear, “Of course!” not a reflection on the nature of subjectivity.

Sometimes, though, the automatic response, going with your gut, is the correct one: America really is exceptional. The data prove it. We routinely stand as an outlier in surveys of international attitudes, because we have unique features, and those features make us better than other countries. Somebody has to be the best country on Earth. It happens to be us.


Patriotism for progressives has always been deeply bound up in the role of government and the cause of reform. That’s fine, to a certain extent. But underlying it is the assumption that America as it exists is a problem that needs to be fixed, if not “fundamentally transformed.” And, let’s be honest about it, there were times when progressives had the better part of the argument. But, culturally and psychologically, what endures is the pious progressive conviction that the government is better than the people it serves, at least when the right people are running it — and that the job of progressives is to bring the bitter clingers up to the government’s ideals, as best they can…

And for generations, American reformers have argued that there’s nothing wrong with America that being more like Europe wouldn’t fix. Countless leading liberals hate — and I mean hate — the suggestion that America is the best country in the world. Just two weeks ago, I think, I linked to this progressive mind-porn from the opening scene of HBO’s The Newsroom. Stephen Colbert’s whole shtick for the last nine years has been to mock people who love this country too much. Indeed, for eight years under Bush we heard that “dissent is the highest form of patriotism” — a profoundly stupid and self-serving bumper sticker of a notion. It’s a very strange understanding of love — and that’s all patriotism is; love of country — that its greatest expression is biting criticism, regardless of said criticism’s merit. For eight years, every calumny and slander imaginable was hurled at Bush and the United States, and whenever anyone pushed back on it, we were told that it was patriotic. We just love our country! Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!…

Since president Obama became president, dissent is no longer the highest form of patriotism at all. It’s often simply racist now. Indeed, dissent from Obama and his agenda has arguably become the thing that liberals hate most about America these days. I should also note that since Obama was elected president he’s shown a fondness for apologizing for America and citing himself as proof that America is on the mend. This, too, doesn’t strike me as an obvious display of uncomplicated love. “I’m sorry for my wife, she was raised by carnies. But, you have to admit, it speaks well of her that I saw fit to marry her.”


Let’s be blunt: under most other circumstances, the Obama supporters currently calling for Giuliani’s hide would look down their noses at anyone who professed unconditional love for America, dismissing it as blind jingoism. Obama is not an unusual specimen of the Left in this regard – there are always severe qualifications to whatever praise they might give the United States. They get angry if they hear anyone say they love America, or proclaim her to be the greatest nation in the world, without mentioning a variety of past and present social injustices. Before this little flap broke out, it would have been fun to take a hidden camera through an Obama rally and ask the attendees if they loved America. Most of them would answer in the affirmative, I’m sure… but virtually none of them would have been willing to leave it at that. Some of them would have echoed Michelle Obama’s infamous sentiment that Barack Obama’s election was the first time they felt truly proud of her country…

Giuliani might have been on less subjective ground by saying that Barack Obama doesn’t respect America – good luck trying to argue that point, Obama fans. If he respected the country, he wouldn’t be working so hard to forcibly transform it. If he respected the American people, he wouldn’t treat liberty as a sharp object they cannot be trusted to play with. If he respected us, he wouldn’t have found it acceptable to lie about ObamaCare in order to force it on us, or sit in churches and lie to their pastors about his position on gay marriage in order to get elected. Obama and his followers think such tactics are justified by their noble goals; this President is a very big believer in lying to his people “for their own good.” He might say he’s doing all this out of sincere love for the country he seeks to improve, but respect and its absence are matters of action, not intent, and his actions have spoken clearly.


Whatever his intentions, Mr. Giuliani’s statement reflects the ease with which people dissociate Mr. Obama and other African-Americans with American identity, especially those who don’t like him. A 2005 study examined this pattern using the Implicit Association Test, which measures the associations between concepts using differences in response timing during a categorization task. People tend to respond faster when categorizing paired stimuli that are congruent with their implicit associations (for instance, “thin people” or “good” versus “fat people” or “bad”) than those that are incongruent (the opposite pairings). In the study in question, the authors found response timing patterns that suggested that African-Americans as a group are “less associated with the national category ‘American’ than are white Americans” relative to the category “foreign” — a pattern that holds for other nonwhite groups such as Asian-Americans and Latinos.

These tendencies seem to translate into perceptions of Mr. Obama as being less American among his opponents. A study conducted during the 2008 election reported that supporters of both Mr. Obama and John McCain tended to implicitly associate their preferred candidate more closely with America, but these tendencies were especially pronounced among Republicans, who were “far more likely to dissociate Obama from the nation … than Democrats did with McCain.” The pattern of associating Mr. Obama with America less than political counterparts like Mr. McCain and Hillary Clinton was found in another study to be stronger when Mr. Obama’s race was highlighted.


Barack Obama’s view is a little different. Compared with the visions of his predecessors, his is less triumphant and informed by a kind of civic humility. “I believe in American exceptionalism,” he told Roger Cohen of the New York Times while still just a candidate, but not one based on “our military prowess or our economic dominance.” Instead, he said, “our exceptionalism must be based on our Constitution, our principles, our values, and our ideals. We are at our best when we are speaking in a voice that captures the aspirations of people across the globe.”…

The obvious question is, Why? Why is Obama more circumspect than his presidential peers? Why does his praise come with a note of reservation?

The best answer, I think, lies in identity. By choice as much as birth, Obama is a black American. And black Americans, more than most, have a complicated relationship with our country. It’s our home as much as it’s been our oppressor: a place of freedom and opportunity as much as a source of violence and degradation. We’re an old American tribe, with deep roots in the land and a strong hand in the labor of the nation. But we’re often seen as other—a suspect class that just doesn’t fit…

As a president from black America, Obama carries this with him, and it comes through in his sometimes less-than-effusive vision of national greatness. He loves this country, but he also tempers his view with a nod toward the uglier parts of our history.


Now, Mr Obama’s political worldview is pretty much what one would expect from a moderately left-leaning African-American law professor. This means that the president is indeed keenly aware of, among other blots on the national record, America’s exceptionally savage history of slavery and white supremacy, and its ongoing legacy. This sort of awareness inevitably—and justifiably—complicates a relationship to one’s country. Many of us have been ill-treated or abused in one way or another by our parents. We love them anyway, because they are ours, but we don’t forget the abuse, and it tempers the quality of our devotion. Love of country is not so different.

The ardent and unclouded quality of love that Mr Giuliani and Mr Williamson find missing in Mr Obama is largely the privilege of those oblivious of and immune to America’s history of injustice and abuse. Those least aware of historical oppression, those furthest from its living reality, will find it easiest to express their love of country in a hearty and uncomplicated way. The demand that American presidents emanate this sort of blithe nationalism therefore does have a racist and probably sexist upshot, even if there is no bigotry behind it.      

Mr Obama’s politically compulsory declarations of America’s exceptionalism have always struck me as rote, a little less than heartfelt, even a bit grudging. Mr Giuliani, I think, has come away with a similar impression, as have many millions of conservatives. The difference is that where Mr Giuliani sees a half-hearted allegiance to the fatherland, some of us see instead evidence of education, intelligence, emotional complexity and a basic moral decency—evidence of a man not actually in the grip of myths about his country. A politician capable of projecting an earnest, simple, unstinting love of a spotless and superior America is either a treacherous rabble-rouser or so out of touch that he is not qualified to govern. So Barack Obama doesn’t love America like a conservative. So what? His realism and restraint are among his greatest strengths.


Via Gateway Pundit.


Allahpundit Aug 09, 2022 5:01 PM ET