Some say Obama's critics have taken their eye off the ball in focusing on his associations with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayers, thus giving his far-left policies a pass. But that's a false choice.
Those criticisms would have more validity but for the fact that Obama's associations and his approach to policy are inextricably intertwined, flowing from a particular -- and consistent -- mindset.
It's no accident that Obama sat for 20 years and had his children baptized in a church whose pastor revved up his congregation by denouncing America with expletives, that he had a working relationship with a professor who expressed pride in his past anti-American terrorism, or even that his wife admitted a first-time pride in the United States with the advent of her husband's electoral success.
Repeated references to Obama's close connections with these people and others are not drive-by attacks designed to incriminate Obama merely by association. Their purpose is to shine a spotlight on Obama to help determine whether he embraces or is sympathetic to the same negative views about America as his soul mates.
When you couple Obama's associations with his many statements and policies, a disturbing picture emerges, suggesting Obama might lack a robust pride in America -- at least in what he considers to be its present state. This point was driven home again this week, as Obama expressed "embarrassment" that American children can't speak foreign languages while European children can speak English.
This is hardly surprising. As others have noted, both as an Illinois senator and United States senator, Obama has been unwavering in his opposition to making English the official language. He doubtlessly has no clue why his attitude on this would deeply bother those of us in "flyover country," who comprise a large part of the American population that Obama holds himself out as having the unique ability to unite. How do you think most of center-right America would react if they understood Obama is more likely to get goose bumps over multiculturalism and diversity than the unique American culture and the values undergirding it?
Speaking of flyover country, who can forget Obama's completely unscripted expression of contempt for small-town America? In that spontaneous moment, he betrayed his typically liberal attitude that ordinary Americans are dependent on the superior wisdom of Washington politicians to save them from their backwoodsmanship.
Obama can deny his lifetime liberal voting record, he can lurch to the center in this general election campaign, and he can claim to be all about bipartisanship and unity, but he can't erase the "Bittergate" tape, which demonstrated his real idea of harmony: leading small-town Neanderthals, bound and gagged, into utopia.
And how about Obama's five-point plan to repair America's image in the world, including doubling our foreign aid to $50 billion and surrendering in Iraq to generate good will for America in the Middle East? Liberals such as Obama are preoccupied with America's image in the world -- always worried about which nations we've offended or how we've let down the United Nations, when they ought to be outraged at how those other nations have abused, scorned or underappreciated us and/or haven't stepped up to the plate to do the right thing.
Then again, this is the same Obama who said "the danger of using good versus evil in the context of war is it may lead us to be not as critical as we should be about our own actions."
Surely average Americans do not share Obama's ambivalence about America's moral standing in the war on terror. Surely they reject that there's a dangerous downside to Americans coming together in support of the war through a shared belief in the moral authority of our cause. Along these lines, is it any surprise that Obama, possessed of this moral conflict and confusion, thinks we are at fault for not trying hard enough to meet Iranian tyrant Mahmoud Ahmadinejad halfway?
And then there's Obama's statement in the New Orleans Superdome about a year ago: "After Katrina hit, we had to realize that we were no longer the America we had hoped to be. All the hurricane did was lay bare the fact that we had not dealt with the problems of racism and poverty. But here's the good news: America was ashamed and shocked."
I know many have bought into the disgraceful propaganda that problems with the governmental responses to Katrina were based on the race or poverty of the victims. Perhaps Obama, instead of wringing his hands over the illusory harm that could come to America by clearly articulating its moral standing in this war, should refrain from participating in the dissemination of such destructively divisive slander purely for political gain.
Obama's record and attitude are there for people to see. In all sincerity, I ask: How can we afford such an attitude in America's president -- especially during wartime?