“I know this is a horrible thing to say,” Rudy Giuliani reportedly told a group of conservative moneymen in New York this week, “but I do not believe that the president loves America.” This is, evidentially, the most disturbing example of othering the media has ever encountered.
The perception that Obama dislikes America is nothing new in conservative circles. Radio talk hosts have asked me numerous times – often, in creative ways – if I agree that the president “hates” America. Since none of us has the ability to bore into the souls of fellow humans and unlock all their hidden motivations, the question is distracting and irrelevant. And as political rhetoric goes it’s needlessly hyperbolic.
But really, is it that outrageous or surprising that so many Americans doubt whether the president “loves” the traditional role the United States has played on the world stage, or whether he “loves” the capitalism that’s defined us for the past 50 or 60 years, or whether he “loves” the Constitutional protections we have for religious freedoms, guns, or free speech?
Now, I’m sure Obama loves America. Mostly, though, he 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.”