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Barack Obama gave a speech on patriotism yesterday. I pretty much agreed with every word uttered by Mr. Obama in that speech. It's worth the read. Even though it was a self-serving and calculated speech, as are all of his (he IS a politician, after all), the principles he stated were sound, and quite patriotic. Obama said he would not question anybody's patriotism in this presidential campaign, and he will not sit idly by while anyone questions his. Clever bugger, that Obama, since it is virtually impossible for any sane person to question the patriotism of John McCain, while questions of Obama's associations with anti-american sentiment are rife (Rev. Wright, Father Pfleger, William Ayers, Mrs. Obama, flag pins, and all that). Obama can't win a patriotism contest with John McCain (few could), so he's trying to take that issue off the table.
I don't question Obama's patriotism. I take him at his word, but I do question some of those past associations of his. It's a matter of judgement, not patriotism. When a guy like Obama has a history of being a leftist, I'm a little suspicious of the new centrist Obama who has appeared just in time to win the general election and become the president (with a Democratic majority Congress led by liberals Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi). Obama's tack appears much more strategy than principle. That I do not admire (not that McCain can't be accused of the same tacking into favorable political winds on some issues).
Obama also said it isn't unpatriotic to dissent when you disagree with your government. That is also unquestionably true. Sometimes, dissent is required. I have dissented with some aspects of my government for most of my adult life.
But there is a difference between dissent and undermining your country. There is a difference between dissent and propaganda. There is a difference between dissent and lies. There is a difference between dissent and hate. I wish Obama had drawn some of those distrinctions in his speech, but he did not. As Obama was speaking about how dissent was patriotic, I was thinking of Moveon.org's "General Betray-us" ad, of Hillary Clinton saying it took "the willing suspension of disbelief" to believe Petraeus' testimony about the success of the Surge in Iraq. The "dissenters" had no problem calling Petraeus a liar for their own political gain. I was thinking about how the New York Times has divulged multiple classified U.S. intelligence programs during wartime (they did it again the other day by revealing classified details of the hunt for Bin laden). I was thinking about Seymour Hersch recently revealing classified information about alleged covert cross-border intelligence operations into Iran. I was even thinking about how the left-wing dissenters called American soldiers "baby killers" back during the Vietnam War. Thank goodness the
That stuff isn't really dissent. That stuff is political propaganda designed to undermine the American government during wartime, with the reason being the acquisition of political power. There is nothing patriotic about any of that.
Lastly, I was thinking about outright political horse manure, like the kind general Wesley Clark was slinging about John McCain the other day, in what has to be one of the most tone-deaf displays of political nonsense to date. Clark actually tried to call McCain inexperienced, when McCain is the most experienced candidate to run for president from either party this year. Apparently, irony and hypocrisy don't register with Wes Clark, because the candidate Clark is backing, Barack Obama, is the most inexperienced person ever to get this close to the presidency. Clark actually called McCain "untested and untried", said about McCain that "he hasn’t held executive responsibility" (as opposed to all Obama's executive experience - NONE). Clark even said that McCain's "large squadron in the Navy that he commanded wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall". Uh, general Clark, John McCain's plane was SHOT DOWN IN VIETNAM. That's about as "wartime" as you can get. Duh, general. Btw, exactly what military service and experience does Barack Obama have ? That would also be NONE. See just how dumb Wesley Clark is here.
To his credit, Obama disavowed Clark's remarks, and I assume Clark has blown his shot at the vice presidency.