The Emerging Picture of Barack Obama’s Patriotism

From Jewish World Review

by HEATHER ROBINSON

An advisor to Barack Obama blasted Bill Clinton over the weekend for suggesting Mr. Obama may be insufficiently patriotic. What Bill Clinton said was, “I think it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country. And people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics.”

The Clinton campaign has denied the former president’s intention was to question Mr. Obama’s patriotism. Whether or not it was President Clinton’s intention to raise it, is this question about Senator Obama really out of bounds?

No one knows for sure what’s in Sen. Obama’s heart. Love for this country, and concern for its citizens, are woven throughout both his memoir, “Dreams from My Father” and his more polemical work, “The Audacity of Hope.” But he seems oddly disinclined to disavow his “spiritual mentor,” Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, who has used his pulpit to shout, “G-d Damn America!”

Consider what a genuinely hateful statement that is. To call it profoundly unpatriotic is an understatement. Were the “spiritual mentor” of any other candidate who has ever run for president to have shouted “G-d Damn America!” from his pulpit, and had that candidate failed to utterly disavow that individual as a nut, would the survival of his candidacy even be an issue?

Last week Sen. Obama appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live. In response to Mr. King’s questions about his refusal to sever ties with or unequivocally condemn Pastor Wright for the latter’s vicious and hateful public remarks, Sen. Obama said, “What I want to be held accountable for are things I say and things I promote.”

When Mr. King asked the Senator if he had talked with Pastor Wright recently, presumably about the hateful remarks, Mr. Obama admitted he had not, tried to sidestep the issue by citing the oft-repeated fact that Rev. Wright had “preached his last sermon” and mentioned Rev. Wright was “on a cruise.” (I personally find this last revelation pretty rich–I guess Rev. Wright has managed to make a pretty good living in this damnable country).

Several weeks ago, Mr. Obama’s wife Michelle publicly declared that “for the first time in [her] adult life,” she was “really proud of [her] country.” At the time, I wrote that while one doesn’t like to make too much of a single comment, especially since it was hers, not his, it did raise questions.

Now I feel as if I’m holding one of those old fashioned Polaroid pictures and watching it develop. The emerging picture suggests Mr. Obama has an extremely high tolerance for serious verbal abuse of this country, and negativity about it, on the part of people with whom he lives and worships.

The corollary to this emerging picture is Mr. Obama has clearly indicated he is more than willing to trust in and engage with foreign governments and individuals who hate this country. He has said he would be willing to meet with Venezuela’s Chavez, Syria’s Assad, Iran’s Ahmadinejad, and North Korea’s Kim Jong il, without preconditions, within the first year of his administration.

We are all judged by the company we keep. In Mr. Obama’s case, his failure to clearly disavow a “spiritual mentor” who has invoked the name of G-d to publicly damn this nation may fairly be interpreted as a poor display of patriotism. When viewed in the context of his stated goals with regard to dealing with America’s enemies, it should genuinely alarm us.

This entry was written by and posted on March 26, 2008 at 9:59 pm and filed under Commentary.