Right questions Obama’s patriotism

Sen. Barack Obama’s refusal to wear an American flag lapel pin along with a photo of him not putting his hand over his heart during the National Anthem led conservatives on Internet and in the media to question his patriotism.

Now Obama’s wife, Michelle, has drawn their ire, too, for saying recently that she’s really proud of her country for the first time in her adult life.

Conservative consultants say that combined, the cases could be an issue for Obama in the general election if he wins the nomination, especially as he runs against Vietnam war hero Sen. John McCain.

“The reason it hasn’t been an issue so far is that we’re still in the microcosm of the Democratic primary,” said Republican consultant Roger Stone. “Many Americans will find the three things offensive. Barack Obama is out of the McGovern wing of the party, and he is part of the blame America first crowd.”

Opponents of Sen. John Kerry proved in the 2004 election that voters are sensitive to suggestions that a candidate is not sufficiently patriotic. The Democratic presidential nominee’s campaign was torpedoed by critics of his Vietnam War record called the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, even though he won multiple military honors and was lauded by his superiors.

The Swift Boat campaign started as a relatively small television ad buy that exploded into an issue that dogged Kerry for months. The Massachusetts senator has conceded since losing to President Bush that the campaign and his lackluster response to unsubstantiated allegations he considered unworthy of a reaction likely cost him the election. And the term even became part of the campaign lexicon — swift boating.

Obama already is the subject of a shadowy smear campaign based on the Internet that falsely suggests he’s a Muslim intent on destroying the United States. Obama is a Christian and has been fighting the e-mail hoax, which also claims he doesn’t put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance, and he’s been trying to correct the misinformation.

“Whenever I’m in the United States Senate, I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America,” Obama frequently tells voters.

“I’ve been going to the same church for 20 years, praising Jesus,” he adds.

Retired Major General Scott Gration, an Obama military adviser, said he expects the attacks will only increase if Obama wins the Democratic nomination.

“People are projecting things and taking things out of context,” Gration said. “There’s absolutely no question in my mind that Michelle and Barack are extremely patriotic, appreciate our freedoms and our values and everything else that the flag represents.”

Officials with the McCain campaign and the Republican Party say they won’t be suggesting Obama is less than patriotic, and instead plan to focus their criticisms on his record and inexperience if he wins the nomination. Well-funded outside groups, however, consider anything fair game.

Conservative Republican consultant Keith Appell, who worked with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, said Obama’s opposition to the war will create a “striking contrast between McCain the war hero and Obama the poster child for the anti-war movement.”

“If you are McCain, you want to play up the decorated war hero, loves his country, served his country,” Appell said. “You want to play those themes up as much as possible, especially in comparison to Obama and his role in the anti-war movement.”

On Monday, Michelle Obama told an audience in Milwaukee, “For the first time in my adult life, I am really proud of my country. Not just because Barack is doing well, but I think people are hungry for change.”

Cindy McCain, McCain’s wife, days later responded by saying, “I have, and always will be, proud of my country.” Barack Obama has expressed frustration that his wife’s remarks had been taken out of context and turned into political fodder — both the Obamas say she was talking about politics in the United States, not the country itself.

Last summer, Obama was photographed by Time magazine at an event in Iowa standing with his hands folded during the national anthem. His primary rivals Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson appear beside him, with their hands on their hearts.

It has been repeatedly reported that the moment came during the Pledge of Allegiance, but that’s not the case.

In October, Obama told Iowa television station KCRG that he decided to stop wearing a U.S. flag lapel pin during the run-up to the Iraq war because it had become “a substitute for, I think, true patriotism.”

“I decided I won’t wear that pin on my chest. Instead, 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,” Obama said.

Obama’s comments led conservatives and media commentators to question his patriotism.

“First he kicked his American flag pin to the curb. Now Barack Obama has a new round of patriotism problems. Wait until you hear what the White House hopeful didn’t do during the singing of the national anthem,” said Steve Doocy, co-host of “Fox and Friends” on the Fox News Channel.

“He felt it OK to come out of the closet as the domestic insurgent he is,” former radio host Mark Williams said on Fox.

Gration said he had a copy of the national anthem photo e-mailed to him by a friend who didn’t know the facts and questioned how a military man could support someone who doesn’t honor the Pledge of Allegiance.

“I go to baseball games and football games and there’s just a minority of us who put our hands over our heart. It’s not an indication of patriotism,” Gration said. Gration said he personally wears a flag pin, but “if I meet someone who doesn’t have a lapel pin, it doesn’t mean they are more or less patriotic than I am.”

And, he added, “I don’t think you can find Barack again not putting his hand over his heart at the national anthem.”

___

On the Net:

http://www.barackobama.com

30 Responses to "Right questions Obama’s patriotism"

  1. SEAL  February 24, 2008 at 1:19 am

    WWexler asks:
    “Why would you want to be president if you weren’t patriotic? So you could make all Americans un-American?”

    I’m sure George W. Bush could tell you why because he sure as hell ain’t patriotic and has worked very hard to make us all un-americans.

    I don’t do the Pledge of Allegiance and I pay no attention to the Star Spangled Banner There have been times I haven’t even stood up for the national anthem. I’ve been accused of being unpatriotic and a “commie.” But I just tell them “After 32 years in the Navy and several wars I figure I’ve earned the right to sit this one out.” Sometimes I add “What branch of the service were you in?” Of course they were never in the military or done anything else for their country.

    Frankly, I don’t believe either one of those two things have anything to do with patriotism. But they certainly have a lot to do with brainwashing grade school children. Our national anthem is full of rockets and bombs. It comes across like a threat. We sing about how we kick ass. I know of no other country’s anthem that comes close to that.

    “OH beautiful, for spacious skys, for amber waves of grain”
    “For purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plains.”

    That should be the national anthem. It’s a lot easier to sing, too. We’d have to take that “god” word out of it, though, to “We shed our grace on thee.”

  2. jay_spaan_sr  February 24, 2008 at 1:59 am

    This column is just another “vote for Obama” B.S. slant CHB is peddling, using a very stupid article about trite stuff to act like they are being unbiased to sway those reading to vote for their candidate.

    ‘The Daily Show’ changed it’s name due to the strike to ‘A daily Show’.

    CHB needs to change it’s name to “Obama’s CHB” until this is over.

    I still ask anyone here… can you give me any experience or credentials Obama has for being President?

    Besides being a corrupt young lawyer in Hawaii who made his money off the “Apology Resolution” bilking millions from the U.S. Taxpayer. Besides 100 “present” votes as a junior congressman. Maybe his connection to get his 1.3 million house in Ill. from a known mafia-guy connection? Maybe his wife making almost 1M compared to her 89K job since this started? I agree this is a good start for ‘business-as-usual’. As I have stated before, he is a small time white-collar thug looking for the big time.

    I forgot. He’s black. He can’t possibly be corrupt, and part of the system. He is black, after all.

    Frank Lucas used the same theme bringing in heroin in coffins via the U.S. Army and fooled the Feds for years. He was black, and could not possibly be better than the Italian Mafia. Check out on the internet what Frank Lucas thinks of Obama, by the way. It may make you raise your eyebrows a little.

    Mr. Nemo, or anybody, without the Obama “change rhetoric” or he made a speech against Iraq, or I Hate Hillary. Please tell me why, based on qualifications, you are voting for him. Not JFK stuff, because JFK had a huge history behind him in government from his family.

    Come on, just one of you, give me an answer.

    Dare you.

    So a guy goes to a eye doctor. The Doc says “well first thing you have to do is quit masterbating”. Guy says “why”? Doc says ” because I’m trying to examine you”.

    Ya’ll think about that a little please maybe.

  3. Klaus Hergeschimmer  February 24, 2008 at 3:13 am

    Seig Anthem!!!

  4. staunchdem  February 24, 2008 at 3:08 am

    Lest we forget, those little lapel pins, as well as most fabric flags are MADE IN CHINA.
    Patriotic my ass.
    The Reich Wing is out of material, and it’s just pathetic.

  5. Sandra Price  February 24, 2008 at 7:11 am

    Not only are the pins made in China but so are our American flags. These things are an illusion of America. We may have lost our core of values in trying to bring religion into all facets of America. They are two separate subjects and should never be blended and neither will succeed.

    I lived in a small village just south of Big Sur. Cambria had been a major radar station during WW2 and even when I lived there we had a handfull of WW1 vets. It was an old mining town that became cattle country. We probably had more veterans per person than anyplace I had ever lived and every morning before the stores opened, our flags went up on our buildings. Memorial day was important because at the Vet’s Hall, we would gather around a huge platform that had all service flags raised. The folding chairs were then placed around this platform and every year fewer WW1 and then WW2 seats were filled. Every war and every soldier/sailor were valued in that village.

    I’m still emotionally affected by the sacrifices our men and women have made and when the political action groups start degrading our nation, I really get pissed.

  6. WWWexler  February 24, 2008 at 8:17 am

    Well said, SEAL.

    -Wexler

  7. Paolo  February 24, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Can’t take you up on that one. I’m NOT a fan of Obama, at all. I just said that THE LAST reason I would give for opposing him would be the fact he didn’t wear a phony lapel pin and didn’t say the evil Pledge of Allegiance. The American people are–at least in politics–appallingly gullible. They fall for plastic patriotism every time.

  8. Walter F. Wouk  February 24, 2008 at 9:59 am

    There’s more to patriotism than waving the flag and playing follow the leader.

  9. pollchecker  February 24, 2008 at 10:13 am

    The rabid right is going to keep saying those hoaxes about Obama no matter what.

    I was watching the current Bill Maher and the Congressman from Georgia made a point of repeating all these allegations which have been proven to be untrue. This is what gives politicians a bad name and a foul smell.

    The strategy of the current Republican party is to repeat blatant lies again and again and again in the belief that if you tell a lie enough times as the truth, people will believe the lie to be true eventually.

    An example is a recent survey in England where a large percent of young people under the age of 30 didn’t believe that Winston Churchill never existed.

    This is one of the dangers that George Orwell wrote about in 1984. He called it disinformation. But it is nothing but lies.

    This is what I don’t get. Because if we as individuals wrote some of the stuff that comes out of the Republican mouth pieces, wouldn’t we be discredited and possibly jailed?

    Additionally, patriotism is one of those words like religion. The GOP has used this word to push the agenda of their failed policies.

    So what is patriotic? Putting your hand over your heart or putting your life on the line? Wearing a flag pin on your lapel or standing up for what is right and good and fair?

    In the past, America admired their champions that stood up for truth and justice. The Republican party under the current powers that be, are the antithesis of these principles even though they represent themselves to be so virtuous. This is why America is so quick to believe the worst when it comes to light against them. America doesn’t like hypocrites and liars. The powers behind the Bushies and those running the GOP party are both hypocrites and liars.

    I personally cannot say the pledge of allegiance because there is no liberty and justice for all. There is only liberty and justice for those with money. Does this make me unpatriotic? Or is the guy next to me with his hand over his heart mouthing empty rhetoric who NEVER VOTES the real patriot?

    Have we finally crossed over into another dimension where up is down and right is wrong and lies are truth? I don’t think so. And I think the swelling support behind Obama is an indicator that we are not totally and mindlessly lost in their disinformation propaganda…yet.

  10. Jenifer D.  February 24, 2008 at 11:18 am

    So What?

    If Obama doesn’t wear some cheesy U.S. flag pin on his lapel? He could do his speeches wearing nothing, but, a speedo and a big goofy grin on his face and I’d still listen to what he has to say. Billary the Beast has Obama in its crosshairs and will do and say anything to take him out of the running.

    Just because one goes to church or wears a cross doesn’t mean one is moral or loyal to the church. Anybody with half a braincell knows that!

  11. Carl Nemo  February 24, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Yo jay-spaan…

    Here’s a repost to the Dan K. Thomasson article;ie.,, “A Fair Question for Barak Obama” concerning my sentiments relative Obama’s alleged lack of credentials, experience, etc.

    We all surely know how experienced Hillary is when it comes to dodging allegations of impropriety etc. The Clintons are nothing but two pol scamsters that have been on the make and the take their entire lives.

    Reply to the Dan K. Thomasson article as follows:
    *****
    “Why is it that folks are enamoured with pols that promise the world and deliver little to nothing, than one that keeps his cards close to his vest, promising little, but just might deliver “something”…?!

    I find it refreshing that Obama isn’t blathering that he’s going to see to it that we have a chicken in every pot, a Ford in every garage, all the while endlessly kissing ugly babies 1930’s style…!

    He said he’s going to get us out of Iraq. If that’s the “only” thing he accomplishes in the next four years and hopefully sooner than later, then I’ll class him as a success. Ending our involvement with this treasury draining, nation-destroying war, both ours and Iraq will be enough in itself. It will also cause the price of oil to pullback to possibly the mid-sixties; rekindling some sound economic activity for this nation and the world in general.

    Hopefully he will be able to wire together some type of medical coverage for folks. Nothing will be perfect but I have a feeling he can pull it off if anyone can. When the guy speaks, people seem to listen.

    Hillary sounds like a squawking “big sister” to me and is a turn off not only to myself, but no doubt millions of others. She’s evidently risen to the level of her incompetence; ie., a U.S. Senator.” : |

    Go Obama…Go…!

    *****
    Here’s a link laying out the Clinton family cabal’s political resume’. Btw, don’t blame it all on Bill; these two have been working as a political “tag team” their entire married lives.

    http://members.tripod.com/~GOPcapitalist/clintonpage.html

    Anything is better than 28 plus years of Bushistas and Clintonistas in the White House. Hell, I’d vote for you Jay before I’d vote “Billary” for President… : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  12. Carl Nemo  February 24, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Yo staunchdem…

    Truly a great comback to so-called “patriotic” rethuglicans… :))

    Carl Nemo **==

  13. Paolo  February 24, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    As a libertarian, I view an Obama presidency as having a potential, longshot upside. A McCain presidency is almost guaranteed to produce sheer catastrophe. Here is my reasoning.

    With McCain, you are guaranteed not only continued and probably escalated war in Iraq, but wars in Iran, Syria, and (God help us!) maybe even in the Far East. Along with this comes–guaranteed–budget deficits going up even beyond the insane half-trillion dollar deficits we have now. If those wars are really going to be fought, you can guarantee conscription–aka slavery–since there is no other way to get the necessary manpower to pursue such insane adventures.

    With McCain, you will get no serious reduction of foolish welfare state spending. Republicans have NEVER cut spending. If you doubt this, review the budget records of Bush II, Bush I, Reagan, Nixon–you name it. The idea of “Republican Fiscal Responsibility” is a BIG LIE if ever there was one.

    In other words, under McCain, this country will be bankrupted. We just don’t have the money to finance his insane foreign policy.

    With Obama, you get the possibility that he might actually follow through on his campaign promise to get out of Iraq. This alone might give the USA enough breathing room to fumble its way out of its economic mess.

    Again, I emphasize this is a LONGSHOT. After all, Obama is a politician. He is quite likely to find an excuse NOT to get out of Iraq. Also, in his own insane moments, he’s talked about invading Pakistan, ferchrissake!

    Obama’s domestic program is the same nitwit welfare state both R’s and D’s endorse. With luck, he might even try to introduce cuts in the budget–he really will have no choice–on the “only Nixon could go to China” theorem. Again, a longshot, but we can dream. Democrats, by the way, are historically slightly better than Republicans regarding fiscal and monetary issues.

    Summary: McCain=guaranteed disaster. Obama=likely disaster, with a slight ray of hope he might actually do a few good things.

  14. Carl Nemo  February 25, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Hi Paolo…

    An absolutely superb spot-on assessment of possible outcomes based on either of these candidates being elected to the presidency. I doubt if honest, professional political analysts could do much better…! : )

    Carl Nemo **==

  15. old_curmudgeon  February 25, 2008 at 10:29 am

    “under McCain, this country will be bankrupted.”
    News flash!!! This country is already bankrupt. The hammer just hasn’t fallen, yet.

  16. Jenifer D.  February 25, 2008 at 11:50 am

    McCain is a PAP

    or……Plastic American Patriot (thanks Paolo!). He had some good in mind once upon a time, then he got to eat good and wear nice suits and that’s when his mind, and his ethics, went by the wayside. As for Obama, I really do believe Billary will do something really heinous to knock him out of the running.

  17. keith  February 23, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    It would appear the right-wing idealogues are becoming ever more bankrupt of real ideas if this is the only issue they can dream up to pin on Mr. Obama.

    This whole thing is laughable. And it won’t stick.

  18. Sandra Price  February 23, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    Back in the late 30s, we students would stand and put our hands on our hearts and then pledge our allegiance with our right hand out stretched as if we were handing our hearts and pledge to the flag. …and to the Republic for which it stands; one nation, indivisible ….”under God” was added long after I was out of school. After WW2, it looked as if we were doing the Hitler Salute and we kept our hands on our hearts. After “under God” mas mandated, the pledge lost it’s meaning. Many would not even stand at parades or rise when the colors were presented. Leave it to the federal government to change what had been a beautiful pledge from the heart to our lovely flag.

    How many nits do the Conservatives have to pick?

  19. bryan mcclellan  February 23, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    They’re lookin and pickin because the head LICE(rove) is missin some of his cousins.

  20. WWWexler  February 23, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    I saw this story and thought to myself that the Conservatives (including Hillary Clinton) have finally gotten to the bottom of their slime barrel.

    The mere act of questioning someone’s patriotism who wants to become president shows that you’re not the brightest candle in the minorrah. Why would you want to be president if you weren’t patriotic? So you could make all Americans un-American?

    LOL!

    These idiots have run out of ammo and now they’re trying harsh language, as was suggested in the 2nd Alien movie.

    -Wexler

  21. Carl Nemo  February 23, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    I’m personally leary of everyone that wears a flag pin. To me their faux, uber patriotism sets off alarms telling me that these characters are part of the cabal that would do in our America turning it into their nightmarish version of the New World Order’s AmeriKa…!

    Every Senator and Congressman that voted for the Patriot Act and that has supported Bushco on everything from Gitmo, torture, to the suspension of habeas corpus and posse commitatus “all” wear flag pins?! 8-|

    Are there any questions folks…? : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  22. keith  February 23, 2008 at 6:44 pm

    I’m personally leary of everyone that wears a flag pin. To me their faux, uber patriotism sets off alarms telling me that these characters are part of the cabal that would do in our America turning it into their nightmarish version of the New World Order’s AmeriKa…!

    I wholeheartedly agree, Carl!

    What’s more, I firmly believe that if someone really wanted to make a federal case out of it, wearing a flag pin might actually be construed as a form of desecration of same.

    In fact, the Flag Code states that the flag should NEVER be worn. Specifically, section 8d of that code states that: “The flag should never be used as wearing apparel.”

    Now granted, a flag pin is not “apparel” in and of itself.

    However, nobody can deny that it IS being worn!

  23. Paolo  February 23, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    So the PLASTIC PATRIOTS of the Republican war party want to make an issue of Obama (ohmagod!) not wearing an AMERICAN FLAG LAPEL PIN.

    Can we now call this “Lapel Pin Patriotism?”

    Regarding the Pledge of Allegiance–I wouldn’t be caught dead reciting that evil pledge. The actual history of the Pledge is quite revealing. It was written by an avowed socialist around the turn of the twentieth century, when our public school indoctrination camp system was just hitting its stride.

    By the way, the Pledge used to be said with a straight arm salute, just like the Nazis. How appropriate!

    Doesn’t the idea of having little children recite a “Pledge of Allegiance” to the flag (that is, to the State) give you the creeps? It should.

    BTW, I’m no fan of Obama–but Lapel Pins and not saying the Pledge are the LAST reasons I would oppose him.

  24. Jenifer D.  February 24, 2008 at 11:40 am

    Love it Paolo!

    PLASTIC PATRIOTS! LMAO!!!!!! That one was out of the park. Think you can make that term a household term by month’s end?

  25. JerryG  February 23, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Hey, all you Righties!

    Is THIS all you got?!

  26. DejaVuAllOver  February 23, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Not only that, leave it to the Nazis to HALF quote Michelle Obama, completely changing the original meaning. Being proud of one’s country for the first time is COMPLETELY different than being proud of one’s country for AN EVENT (clamor for change) which happened for the first time. To call this sleazy and manipulative is like saying Dick Cheney’s hair is thinning.

  27. Carl Nemo  February 23, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    Hi Keith…

    Thanks for your support concerning my thoughts on the “flag pin”.

    As far as I’m concerned it’s “costume jewelry” for traitors to the Republic and the Constitution for which it stands…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  28. 33rdSt  February 23, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    I would like to get all these “patriots” in a room and quiz them on the Bill of Rights. I’m guessing the only one of the 10 they know is the Second.

  29. Warren  February 24, 2008 at 1:12 am

    My own story. It was about 1966, I was in high school. It was a huge school, and “assemblies” where conducted by closed circuit TV. We would sit in a “home room” and watch the proceedings on a B&W TV set at the front of the room. Every assembly would be initiated by a Pledge of Allegiance. We would have to stand up, put our hands over our hearts, and pledge allegiance to the TV.

    One day I, being about 16 years old, decided this was the height of lunacy. I did not stand, I did not put my hand over my heart, I did not pledge allegiance to the TV.

    Got detention for a week.

    -Warren

  30. C Kelly Jr  February 25, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    A parallel.

    Your story reminds me of my own instance of fighting this “tradition”. About the same age, same instance in a very large school, albeit 1998. I decided to do the same thing, thinking there is no need for me to consistently repeat this ritual of conformity. So I too did not stand, did not pledge. I only avoided detention for not following the teachers order to stand after the schools principal got involved in my “insurrection”. I calmly explained my view on the subject and defended mine and my family’s love for this country, citing the many services we have provided it, and how my teachers reaction was completely out of line (the woman was belligerent). The principal was so impressed by the argument I put up that she pulled the teacher aside and I was no longer bothered when I didn’t stand. By the end of the semester, more then half the class had joined me.

    Patriotism is born in the heart, not in ritual or fashion accents.
    I must, do to some accusations in this column… say that unlike most my age I’m not at all “for” Obama. Not to say I’m not listening, it’s his lack of experience I find wanting.

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