Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Via Steve Benen, I see that Jonah "Liberal Fascism" Goldberg, in the L.A. Times, is quoting the public statements of Barack and Michelle Obama and arguing that they fail a verbal litmus test:

What is fascinating here is not the sentiment, but what's missing from it. The P-word.

...One cannot credibly talk of love of country while simultaneously dodging the word and concept of patriotism.

Yup, not patriotism itself, but "the word and concept of patriotism." As Steve says in response:

It’s rather bewildering. The column isn't about patriotism, or honoring the nation’s highest ideals, or acting in such a way as to protect the nation's values, traditions, and institutions; it's about rhetoric.

In this sense, a politico can give a rah-rah speech, and wrap himself in the flag, while opposing American civil liberties, stifling dissent, and supporting policies like torture and the elimination of habeas corpus. But so long as this person uses the "P-word" and wears the stars and stripes are on his lapel, there's a "patriotism gap."

It's good to know. Patriotic beliefs are nice, but talking about patriotic beliefs is vital.

But, there's been a lot of this sort of thing lately. This, of course, comes a few weeks after the preposterous controversy about whether we could regard Barack Obama's "renunciation" of Louis Farrakhan's anti-Semitism as meaningful if it wasn't accompanied by the additional word "reject."

And that came a few months after a period of time in which Rudy Giuliani, who was then the GOP front-runner, was loudly insisting that Democrats were weak on terrorism because they didn't use the phrase "Islamic fascism."

Remind me again: It's Democrats and liberals who are obsessed with "politically correct" speech, right?

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