Yesterday, in response to a question from a reporter suspicious of why he wasn’t wearing an American flag pin on his lapel, Barack Obama explained his belief that for some, the pins became a substitute for “true patriotism.” The senator said he would instead “try to tell the American people what I believe will make this country great, and hopefully that will be a testimony to my patriotism.”
I didn’t expect leading conservative voices to understand, but I was a little surprised at the ferocity of the response. Jonah Goldberg described Obama’s perspective as “staggeringly stupid,” and “the single dumbest thing I’ve ever heard of him doing.” Another prominent far-right blogger responded this way:
“Seriously, you want this for President of these great United States.This is how he catches the attention of a media aligned with the terror force? This useful tool won’t wear an American flag pin? Talk about pandering to the radical base, he ought to run against Ahmadinejad.
“He is scoring points with Georgie Soros, won’t be waiting long for his on his Soros stipend, I’m sure. What’s Obama Hussein’s new campaign slogan, “America Sucks!”
Higher-profile conservative voices were only slightly less unhinged.
“But talk radio and cable news quickly pounced on the issue. “It just shows you he’s not ready for the big time,” conservative Laura Ingram opined on Fox News. Said Sean Hannity: “Why do we wear pins? Because our country is under attack!”
Hannity, a voice of reason in these trying times. Perhaps he believes lapel pins are some kind of protection against terrorist attacks? And if so, why doesn’t he wear one more often?
So the role model for true-blue, America-loving, super-duper-patriotic conservatives is...
(historical note from old geezer to young whippersnappers: Abbie Hoffman, 1970's radical, was arrested for wearing a shirt made from an American flag. Also arrested other times, for other charges -- see "Chicago Seven" -- but the shirt incident was one of the most famous.)