Thursday was an interesting day for DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. She ended the day struggling to extricate herself from a scandal over a quid pro quo arrangement she made with a political donor in her home state of Florida. Earlier in the day, Schultz was considerably more upbeat, shooting zingers at former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani for questioning Barack Obama’s love for America. “Sure, we have policy differences, and we should talk about them,” she said of Republicans, of which Giuliani is one. “Sure, we have big differences over the direction we should take the country; we should talk about those too. But for them, it’s more than that. It’s personal, and it’s ugly, and there’s no sign of it getting better.”
Schultz wandered off track, but liberal journalists maintained their focus. NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt, who is filling in for the defrocked Brian Williams, said:
Politics can be a rough business, and everyone’s fair game, even the leader of the free world, but when Rudy Giuliani went before a room of donors and told them that the President of the United States doesn’t love his country, his own country, it set off a war of words.
On CBS Andrea Mitchell brought on a member of the administration to address Giuliani’s perfidy. Rick Stengel, State Department Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, said:
I’m just sorry to hear that. I find it wrong in every possible way that it could be wrong. I think the president loves the country in an extraordinary way. He’s an American exceptionalist, but with a slightly different attitude.
It’s interesting that Stengel introduced the subject of American exceptionalism, a point on which Obama has “evolved,” making the mention seem like an unforced error.
The Federlist’s David Harsanyi has an excellent piece that highlights the left’s hypocrisy in all of this (Al Gore, he reminds readers, claimed that George W. Bush betrayed his country, and Obama himself called Bush’s debt-spending was unpatriotic), but the article also addresses head-on the question of whether Obama loves his country. Haranyi’s conclusion might be summarized as “Obama loves America, but not unconditionally”:
[H]e seems to love the America he wishes existed rather than the one that does. There’s a lot of populist filler in his patriotism, but in the end it’s always the same: American excellence means a government that acts as the citizenry’s moral center, the engine of its prosperity, and the arbiter of all fairness. This is the president that gives Fourth of July speeches focusing on ”economic patriotism” – a progressive concoction that isn’t distinctly American in any context. In fact, the statist philosophy behind that bogus appeal is by definition pretty “un-American.”
If Obama loves America at all, he’s had a strange way of showing it. A few photos and video clips (scroll down) suggest an answer to the question of how much Obama hearts America