Sounding Weaker, Not Stronger

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: May 19, 2008 12:06 PM
Poor Barack Obama.  The press reports that he's looking to head off the supposedly inevitable supposed attacks on his patriotism and to defend his wife, from being besmirched with the legendary (in the Democrats' mind) "Republican attack machine."

With his preemptive complaining, Barack is trying to show that he won't be "swiftboated" (another legend created by Democrats, inoperative in my view until John Kerry explains Christmas in Cambodia and releases all his military records).  He's also implicitly seeking to convince superdelegates that he will "fight" as hard as, say, Hillary Clinton would.

But let's get one thing straight at the outset.  There's nothing illegitimate about voters wanting to know whether a candidate for the presidency loves his country -- and if so, why.  There's nothing underhanded, dirty or mean about pointing out comments from a presidential candidate's nearest and dearest -- the people whose opinions, presumably, he values most -- that raise red flags for nomal people about their view of America's national character.

And discussing a candidate's views on this country isn't the same as "questioning their patriotism."  It's perfectly possible to love this country for reasons many of its voters would find appalling.  For an extreme example, if some crazy candidate loved America for its (sad) history of racial discrimination, he'd love his country . . . just for all the wrong reasons.  It wouldn't be "impugning his patriotism" to point that out.   The crazy candidate would be a patriot . . . but for all the wrong reasons.

To me, Democrats in general sound weak when they start caterwauling about being attacked.  If they can't stand the heat of a general election, they certainly aren't ready to take on the Islamofascists.

There's one thing I'll say for John McCain:  You don't hear him whining that comments about his "age" and the like are unfair, distractions, part of the lefty attack machine.  You hear him joking about them on "Saturday Night Live."

The ability to joke about an issue signals confidence in oneself.  In a strange way, all Barack's preemptive complaining about GOP attacks make him sound weaker, not stronger.