Few qualities are as important in a US President as a love of country.
Seldom in American history, tumultuous as its pages may be, has the patriotism of a President been questioned. The Obama years, marked by a vigorous and consistent dispute about this very matter, stand in stark contrast.
The latest incarnation of this doubt came courtesy of former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani on Thursday night.
“I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America,” Giuliani said during the dinner at the 21 Club, a former Prohibition-era speakeasy in midtown Manhattan. “He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up through love of this country.”
The remarks prompted strong reaction from predictable quarters, with the mainstream media, Twitter and their progressive heroes seemingly taking turns to audition for apoplexy.
Cowed by political correctness, even many conservative talking heads tap-danced, querying the use of Giuliani’s language and suggesting it to be unhelpful to the Republican cause. Following the liberal playbook, few asked themselves if the statement was true, preferring to consider hurt feelings.
But injury aside, is Giuliani right?
The evidence is powerful, and it falls on Giuliani’s side.
Culturally and rhetorically, President Obama bears little similarity to any of his Democratic predecessors, including the most recent, Bill Clinton. Who could imagine President Obama referring to America as “the indispensable nation”, or proclaiming that “nothing that is wrong with America cannot be cured by what is right about America” as the latter did at his 1993 inauguration?
While Democratic, President Clinton preserved a robust American identity, with an unapologetic belief in American exceptionalism and a heartland love of “Americana”. Even in criticism, he managed to praise.
There has been little in the current President’s actions or words in the last six years to suggest a comparable affection. From an international apology tour to equivalence on exceptionalism to anodyne words to describe evil, the President has perpetually scratched the proud American psyche.
Is this a matter of ideology, upbringing or personality? Giuliani suggests it to be a combination of all three, a theory corroborated by what we know of President Obama’s life.
Unlike the rural South with its uniform patriotism where Clinton was raised, President Obama’s life presented him with opportunities to meet several activists, with subversive attitudes and anti-American sentiments. The academia and community leaders Obama consorted with were likely very different to the good ol’ boys of Clinton’s youth.
But with youth long in the past, it is President Obama’s current preparedness to slander the reputation of Christians and America while protecting the reputation of Islam, as well as his increasing openness in the last few months that is now raising eyebrows.
Many Americans are unsettled by a President more animated by largely imaginary racial and religious discrimination than the genuine evil of Islamic terror. The belief espoused by the Administration that climate change and US overreach are the two greatest threats to American national security is rejected viscerally by the majority of American. The First Lady’s revelation in February 2008 that "for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country” is the antithesis of the traditional American experience.
These are not priorities or positions shared by the heartland, or “Bubbaville” (thanks, Mike Huckabee).
Few would dispute the compatibility of anti-Americanism with liberal ideology. America, after all, is the greatest impediment to leftist success, and represents the last great holdout to the secular-progressive agenda.
It is not impossible for liberals to love America, but if they do, they are far more likely to love it for what it can become, rather than what it is.
Maybe that’s why a fundamental transformation is needed.
Nick Adams is an Australian best-selling author, speaker and political commentator. He is best known for his work in the field of American exceptionalism, and is credited with a resurgence in the idea worldwide. He is a regular on Fox News, C-SPAN and nationally-syndicated radio. Adams has received several state awards, being appointed an Honorary Texan by Governor Rick Perry in 2013. He is the author of the book: The American Boomerang (2014). His website is www.nickadamsinamerica.com.