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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part I

America, Love It Or Leave It

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

WASHINGTON -- When former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said he did not think that "the president loves America," was he right? Of course he was. The record is strewn with President Barack Obama's statements of contempt for America. In a quieter setting, I think Professor Obama would agree. He would then go on to brag about his love for higher things: for humankind, for the world community, for the planet, the green planet.


Recall in 2009 when Obama told a European audience, "There have been times when America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive toward" Europe. I cannot remember exactly when "America" or even an American president expressed these sentiments, but I guess Obama and his speechwriters can. He has also expressed his contempt for the American system of commerce. In a speech abundant with contempt for capitalism he said -- and I shall only pick out one passage -- "if you've got a business, you didn't build that."

For that matter he even expresses his contempt for American history, though he fantasizes it. America was born of an anti-colonial war that began in 1775, yet at the National Prayer Breakfast a couple of weeks ago, he entangled this country in the crusades going back to the 12th century and in the Spanish Inquisition beginning in 1476, though I can find no evidence that any of the Founding Fathers spoke Spanish and only one was Roman Catholic. So, it goes without saying that he does not love America, and poor Rudy is not the only one to say it. Rush Limbaugh made the same point at some length recently, and for that matter so did I while addressing 350 people at The American Spectator's annual dinner on Feb. 11. No one was shocked.

The deeper question is: Why is he saying these anti-American things? He is now the president of the United States. He is no longer a community organizer or even a junior Illinois legislator. I know he was not the most experienced person to rise to the presidency, but could he not find a speechwriter or a young researcher to go back and discover what a president is to say to the world? Or, better yet, what a president is not to say? Did President Obama want to come across as a hopeless oaf? I mean, remember his line about the Crusades. Think about linking America to the Spanish Inquisition.


I think I can explain why our president says such astounding things or at least delivers speeches that express such astounding notions. All his speechwriters believe the same things he believes. So do his policy wonks. For that matter, so do many members of his party. By a wide margin, 46 to 11, the Pew polling organization last year found that conservatives judged America the best country as opposed to liberals' rather low estimate. Moreover, Obama's gurus -- the communist Frank Marshall Davis, the radical Saul Alinsky, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright -- tutored him in anti-Americanism either in person, through their writing or through their venomous sermons. The historian Paul Kengor has written sedulously about Davis' impact on the young Obama. In Obama's memoir, Davis is mentioned only as "Frank," though Kengor point out '"Frank' is mentioned 22 times by name, and far more times via pronouns and other forms of reference." All references to "Frank" have been expurgated from the 2005 audio version of his memoir.

Who should find this extraordinary or controversial? The left, from which Obama springs, is pained by patriotism. Time and again its members take issue with it. The whole notion of American exceptionalism is worrisome for the left.

Years ago, the reformer Michael Harrington wrote "The Other America," arguing that there were two Americas. One was living in comfort and even relative affluence. The other was living in poverty. It seems to me we can say the same thing regarding Obama's view of America. We have two Americas. One has a comfortable view of the nation. The other has a very impoverished view of America. For Harrington's "Other America" we provide welfare, work programs and other schemes to allow them a better life. For the minority who share Obama's limited view of American greatness, I have no idea of what we can do. It would probably be considered harsh to intone, "America, Love It or Leave It." Yet what else can be done for such stubborn clods?


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