James Taranto talks about a patriotism problem with Democratic candidates:
Surely it is fair for any politician to take issue with his opponent’s official acts. And if those acts were motivated by something other than antipathy toward America–as any fair-minded observer must presume they were–they could have been defended on their merits. Instead, Democrats themselves raised the issue of patriotism by defensively denying that they lacked it. A cardinal rule of political communication is never to repeat an accusation in the course of denying it (“I am not a crook”). These candidates “repeated” a charge no one had even made.
You have to admit that it does make a pretty effective response to an issue you don’t want to address: simply claim that your patriotism is being questioned and demand an apology for the slight. The non-sequitur defense works when the person asking you questions has a limited amount of time.
The problem is that you can’t keep using it. It has a shelf life. And now that we’re living in the Information Age, where everything you’ve said in public is available for perusal somewhere on the internet, the non-sequitur defense is even less effective.
Ultimately, the question of whether somebody likes/loves/tolerates his country (i.e., patriotism) is about as useless as finding out how much somebody CARES about an issue. Care in one hand and piss in the other, and see which fills up faster. It’s not about patriotism, it’s not about how much someone CARES, but what that person plans to do (or has done). Enough with the non-sequiturs of patriotism, bullshit tales of Vietnam derring-do, and 527 attack ads. Let’s stick to the issues.
(Thanks to Power Line for the pointer.)