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Analysis: Obama's Blend of Idealism and Realism

Barack Obama's speech today on patriotism, which was billed as a "major" address by his campaign, is sure to set off a debate over the next few weeks (and months) about the role this issue should play in the campaign.

Barack Obama
Democrat Barack Obama delivers a speech on patriotism June 30 in Independence, Mo. (AP Photo)

The very fact that Obama gave such a speech is a telling reminder that perception, more often than reality, guides the decisions voters make. And knowing that fact, Obama is working to nip speculation about his patriotism in the bud.

The speech as delivered, which you can and should read in full, seeks to define what patriotism means and, as importantly, what it doesn't, in a way that mixes Obama's now-trademark mix of idealism and pragmatism.

"I have found, for the first time, my patriotism challenged -- at times as a result of my own carelessness, more often as a result of the desire by some to score political points and raise fears about who I am and what I stand for," Obama said, a subtle recognition of the spurious rumors about his unwillingness to wear a flag pin on his lapel and other such information moving around on the Internet.

That statement begins an extended meditation on the proper role for patriotism in politics. Obama traces the roots of the current debate over the proper level of patriotism to the 1960s when "in the early years of the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War, defenders of the status quo often accused anybody who questioned the wisdom of government policies of being unpatriotic."

That lens is fundamentally outdated, according to Obama and needs to be changed in order for the country to move forward. "All too often our politics still seems trapped in these old, threadbare argument," he said, adding later: "Surely we can agree that no party or political philosophy has a monopoly on patriotism."

In that ideological section of the speech, then, Obama effectively fits questions about his patriotism into his preferred frame for the entire election -- the politics of the past versus the politics of the future.

During the primary season, Obama was able to parry every thrust by Hillary Rodham Clinton using this ingenious technique. If and when Clinton attacked his credentials or readiness to serve as president, Obama condemned such tactics as the old politics -- insisting that voters wanted something very different.

Obama is attempting to do much the same thing in the general election by arguing that questions of patriotism are all but off limits in the context of a political race. "I will never question the patriotism of others in this campaign," Obama said early in the speech. "And I will not stand idly by when I hear others questions mine."

While idealism may be Obama's natural stance, this campaign has taught him that idealism unleavened by pragmatism is pointless. (Witness his idealistic desire to publicly finance campaigns, a promise that ran directly into the pragmatic fact that he would enjoy a two or three or even four to one edge over McCain if he opted out of public financing. Pragmatism won out.)

The very fact that Obama chose to give a "major" speech on patriotism (as he did on race earlier this year) is a recognition by the candidate and his campaign that questions over his loyalty to America -- no matter how unfounded they may be -- have the potential to do his campaign real damage.

To counter that dangerous perception, the campaign is using its best asset -- Obama himself -- to speak at a deeply personal level about what patriotism means to him.

"For me as for most Americans, patriotism starts as a gut instinct, a loyalty and a love for country rooted in my earliest memories," said Obama.

Among the memories he cites are "my grandfather handing me his dog-tags from Patton's Army" and "listening to my mother reading me the first lines of the Declaration of Independence" while living in Indonesia as a young man.

In the most powerful paragraph of the speech, Obama offers a glimpse into his own struggles growing up and the way in which love of country helped him to find definition.

Here it is:

"For a young man of mixed race, without firm anchor in any particular community, without even a father's steadying hand, it is this essential American idea -- that we are not constrained by the accident of birth but can make of our lives what we will -- that has defined my life, just as it has defined the life of so many other Americans."

In this paragraph and in the entire "personal" section of the speech, Obama is making the case that while he may look different than some Americans and has a different background than others, he believes in many of the same things that every American does -- including, most importantly, a deep love of country.

Obama's campaign knows it can't change the color of his skin, the fact his name is Barack Hussein Obama or that he spent several years in his youth living in Indonesia. But what they can -- and are -- doing is work to narrow that symbolic gulf between Obama's experience and the life experience of the average voter.

This speech, along with Obama's newest ad, paint his story as a familiar one to many Americans -- someone who came from nothing and made something of himself. Obama as the embodiment of the American Dream is a powerful sentiment and one that his campaign is encouraging in presenting the candidate to general election voters over the last month or so.

The blend of the idealistic and the pragmatic in Obama's speech today serves as a microcosm for the entire strategy behind his campaign: Appeal to voters' idealism while recognizing that modern politics required massive amounts of pragmatism in order to win. The question is often not whether something is a legitimate topic of debate but rather figuring out how to make it work in the best way for your preferred candidate.

It's Realpolitik, American-style. If Obama truly is committed to changing the way political process works in this country, he has to figure out a way to win under the current rules of the game.

Watch the speech below:

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By Chris Cillizza  |  June 30, 2008; 3:15 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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Comments

I just want to say this...Even though the 'THE COMICAL FOLLIES' , of Bush McSame3 aka John McCain defending his 'august reputation' seemed to overshadow Obama's speech and his outlines, Obama won hands down. The Media, by DRUNKENLY, defending McCain and trying to DE-IFY McCain helped hand Bush McSame3 a HUGE defeat. ObaMA '08.

Posted by: need4trth | July 5, 2008 6:44 PM | Report abuse

I am an old lady also, and Obama has my vote, and my donations. As someone who is a life-long feminist and wants a better US for my grandchildren and to listen to our better angels, I say, TURN THE PAGE. Say no to divisive Republican Swiftboats, no to "C**T"-name-calling, no to the Keating Five now hiding as lobbyists-campaign-organizers for McSame, no to Bush's third term. Obama proves he is no Bambi, but a tough pragmatic AND ethical politician, raised by a wonderful (white) single mother. We feminists are proud to claim him as one of our own.

Posted by: shirl | July 3, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: dghdyhrtujdgrwet | July 3, 2008 8:03 AM | Report abuse

As a sign that Obama is serious about the 50-state campaign, he will spend Friday at Montana's greatest Forth of July Parade in Butte, America. Why Butte? Well it's a good way to play to the labor vote and establishment Democrats there, who went for Hillary Clinton in last month's primary. Enthusiastic union support means more foot soldiers for the campaign.

Of course he needs to visit more than Butte to take Montana. We expect to see him again.

Posted by: AlaninMissoula | July 2, 2008 2:58 PM | Report abuse

DexterManley and Ann, you folks should lay off the race card. It was used against the Clintons, but people are wiser now. So, do yourselves a favor and stop it before you come across as racists.

Why is it difficult for you to accept that everybody cannot support the same candidate/s, and that in a democracy they have that right, without people like you impugning racist motives for their doing so? Unless you want to tell us that the U.S. is not a multiparty democracy, meaning it's not Zimbabwe, Egypt, Cuba, North Korea or Saudi Arabia, you should respect and accept that supporting different candidates and parties is one of the bedrocks of democracy. That's why you find people of color critical of Obama, and not supporting him!

As a bonus, if you don't like your candidate being criticized, tell him to address the issues and, more importantly, stop changing positions at the rate of heartbeats. He cannot be everything to everybody, abandon his party's core values and beliefs and his base and not expect to be called out on it. If you guys don't want to, that's your choice and right, but don't call those who chose to racists or accuse them of racism. It cheapens the discourse, and would eventually hurt Obama in the long run.

A lot of people, both black and white, are still angry with the way the Obama campaign and surrogates used the race card in the primary, don't add more to that group!

Posted by: dennisdean | July 2, 2008 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Ann: I think American had moved on somewhat during the Clinton years, but can a "first-world" country with a death penalty and without single-payer health care really move on?

The regress that has happened to your country because of two virtually tied elections will take years to undo and it's not like you were in a progressive place at the end of the Clinton term although he did his best against strong odds.

Obama doesn't have to explain anything to us. We see him just as he is -- a bright and sophisticated guy with just the right temperament to lead the USA with a calm, rational approach after 8 years of madness. How sad that he's an American and Americans don't see him that way?

I don't hate America at all. I got a first-rate college and post-graduate education there. The country has a lot of talent. I'd like to see it deal with it's economic woes, end it's barbaric ways and join every other capitalist-democratic-republic in the world in working out that peace is good for business.

That won't happen because if the USA feels that it's no longer a super-power but rather another democracy in a new world of many, I feel a national psychopathology will take hold.

Posted by: DexterManley | July 2, 2008 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama's address on Patriotism and Service speaks to what so many of us believe, e.g., that patriotism should not be measured only by military service, symbols, and caricatures, but through ideals, active citizenship on the home front, commitment to change, social justice, etc. Very inspiring.

Posted by: Todd Bernstein | July 2, 2008 9:24 AM | Report abuse

It ticks me off that Obama has to explain why he loves his country, but no one has ever asked that of any other candidate for president, including John McCain. Why isn't Obama's civilian service to his country enough? He could have made a fortune as a private lawyer, but he didn't. He has dedicated his life to teaching and community service. That is all I need to know about his patriotism. 87% of the population has never served either in the military or civil service, but no one questions them.

I am so tired of having to explain to people that Senator Obama is a person, not just his name and racial makeup. Senator Clinton may have had to do everything the men did in high heels, but she has never had to explain why she is a patriot. Never, not once.

This is bias, pure and simple. Bias against anyone who doesn't have white skin and an anglo-saxon name. I hoped against hope that my country had moved on, but I know now that I was just a fool. Thanks American voters. I am NOT proud of this country. But you would never suspect it, because I live in a rural area, am white and have an anglo-saxon name. You just make assumptions, like you always have.

Posted by: ann | July 2, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

I've written over and over again that I don't blame you one bit for shilling for McCain. While things wouldn't be radically different under Obama, they'd be different enough. If big media can get this cripple, McCain, across the line ahead of Obama, they're good to go for a long, long time: an FCC which will allow free reign, an easy-to-understand paradigm for what makes a President (every subsequent president will be a veteran or an uber-chicken hawk), and they will have been proven right for once, having guessed wrong on everything else.

If Obama wins, the blogosphere wins. The world wins. War and crap-ola war stories lose.

In some ways I almost WANT McCain to win because there are so many means by which the rest of the world can really put McCain into a world of hurt if he does anything foolish. Obama would probably get one fiasco before we clean his clock.

Does anyone who's a regular here realize that at Purchasing Power Parity, the USA is per-capita far from the "richest country on Earth"? The average Spaniard or Italian is far richer than the average American.

Does anyone realize that if McCain were to aggress on Iran that Medvedev wouldn't need to nuke the USA. All he'd need to do would be to void the Russian central bank of USD government debt. Putin was not fooling around and neither is Medvedev. That kind of USD panic will burn the United States down to a cinder more effciently than any nuclear war head.

Obama, with Blinder, Mankiw, Soros, Voelcker and Buffett on board knows all of this already. Neither McCain nor his finance wizard Carly Fiorina have a clue.

That in itself makes Obama the better foreign policy candidate.

I personally don't care because I'm not an American. But what would I know, I'm just an "HISPANIC"? Although being White and Jewish also, and speaking unaccented English, I don't guess I'm the kind of "HISPANIC" Lou Dobbs, Casey Wian, Jamie McIntyre or Kitty Pilgrim have in mind when they hurl their bigotry around.

I'm South American of European roots and quite happy being part of a world community which is dedicated to business and trade, cooperation, education and technology and not fighting irrelevant shooting wars. But if that's what everyone in America wants, we will see McCain in Colombia again, maybe when Gaviria is president and not Uribe and he can get a look at how little regard the rest of the world has for his "service."

We already have seen a bright and courageous man in Barack Obama who doesn't need to travel around in a popemobile yet whose life is at risk every day because of wretched race prejudice in the USA.

Posted by: DexterManley | July 2, 2008 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Chris, I've read and listened to the speech, and I'm wondering why you did not "analyze" the parts where he spoke about his grandfather giving him his WWII dogtags or as a child in Indonesia his mother reading to him by quoting from the Declaration of Independence! Don't you find these two episodes, specially his mom and quotes from the DoI in Indonesia, just too perfect to be true?

Knowing Obama's penchant for exaggeration and making up stories, I won't be surprised if none of these is true. And yet you in the media have ignored them in your so-called analyses of the speech, haven't you?

Posted by: dennisdean | July 2, 2008 5:45 AM | Report abuse

OMG, Obama engages in yet another reading from a teleprompter, and the fawning Cilliza is all over himself with praises called analysis!

Voters are not interested in speeches, but in what the candidates' stance are on issues that are important to their lives and being - health care, mortgages, high gas prices, jobs, etc. and what policies or plans they have to make their lives better. Instead of spending time reading from teleprompters to convince voters of his patriotism and faith, Obama should be there in town halls debating McCain on issues that are important to voters.

As great as his teleprompter-aided reading is, speeches on his patriotism or faith will not help them pay their mortgages, reduce gas prices, or create jobs. It's all about Obama, and not a care for the things that matters to voters! Why else would he be spending his time to make speeches about his patriottism and faith rather than addressing the issues that are important to voters?

Oh, I get it. With him taking positions that are clearly Republican, rightwing and Bush favored, there's no longer any policy differences between him and McCain or Bush. Obama is a republican with a capital "D". The superdelegates and the DNC who selected him are sure pulling their hair and gnashing their teeth at their folly!

Posted by: dennisdean | July 2, 2008 5:09 AM | Report abuse

That it was even necessary for Obama to give a speech defending his patriotism reveals the sad state of affairs this republic finds itself in now. Obama's patriotism should be a non-issue. There is no such thing as a patriotism-ometer, and I expect that Obama and McCain, US Senators both, really do love our country. What a bogus issue!

Find something real to argue about. I know, let's argue about whether or not we should change the direction our country's headed in? How about finding REAL solutions to the health care crisis? How about finding ways to undo the damage inflicted upon us by two terms of Republican greed and incompetence? How about asking ourselves (to paraphrase Reagan) if we're better off now than we were in 2000? in 2004?

Perhaps the slime machine operators don't want to debate those points, so they smear Obama for lack of patriotism. GAWD, people! . . . If you oppose Obama on real issues, so be it. But inventing crap ("BHO's a Muslim! BHO doesn't wear a flag lapel pin!" BHO doesn't say the Pledge of Allegiance!") is morally reprehensible, desperate, and stupid.

Posted by: old white male democrat in WV | July 2, 2008 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Reading that one paragraph in particular, that is highlighted in the post, it just strikes me how easy it is to take the amazing words that Obama sometimes says for granted. I myself have only been of voting age for 10 years and have truly been following politics for even fewer years, but I have no recollection of any major party Presidential candidate that states his case in such a way that really gets to the meaning of his points and that strikes so powerfully to the heart of the matter. It's just seems too honest to be calculating, it must be refreshing even to the most jaded of political observers. We are all witnessing a historical campaign being run by Obama, regardless what the end results may be and it should be appreciated.

Posted by: MJM-NJ | July 1, 2008 11:04 PM | Report abuse

THIS POST IS DISGUSTING!!

Yep, WAPO Obama Shill Chris must also belong to the "Chris Matthews School Of
Obama Weird Man Love Stuff" and I just
cannot help but wonder what runs down
this creepy Chris the Drizzle leg when he
sees a picture of his Messiah Creepy Lying
Cocaine Addict Covert Muslim Empty Suit
Barack Hussein Obama now? Chris it looks
like you need help with your OBAMA Issues!
No Way Obama in 2008! No to Obama! NOBAMA!

Posted by: Sherry Kay 2004 | July 1, 2008 10:25 AM

Posted by: pavementrat | July 1, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

mikeB - Here's an interesting question for you...


Do you know which special interest has given more money to the Obama and Clinton campaigns than any other?

If you guessed "trial lawyers" -- well, okay, that was too easy. But can you guess which special interest came in second?

Labor unions? Nope. The Green Lobby? Nope. AARP? Wrong, again. NEA? Nyet.

Give up? Okay, here's the answer: Wall Street.

That's right. According to CNNMoney.com, Wall Street securities and investment firms have given over $35 million to Democratic candidates this election cycle. And the amount they've given to the Clinton and Obama campaigns is nearly five times the amount they've given to McCain.

If you've been wondering why the financial industry has been in meltdown -- and taking your
401(k) or investment portfolio down with it -- now you know.

Let's face it: The former frat boys who populate Wall Street today understand economics about as well as the pinko professors whose courses they snored through.

That's why betting their entire industry on "subprime" loans to people with no jobs and no collateral made sense to them -- and why betting the entire U.S. economy on the likes of Hillary and Obama makes sense to them now.

These jokers don't even know what's in their own self-interest, much less yours. Trusting them with your money is like trusting Bill Clinton to babysit your underage niece.

So next time you wanna talk about Rs selling out, better look around a bit more.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | July 1, 2008 8:05 PM | Report abuse

I only wish all you sicko haters, who keep publishing the rubbish about Obama, would pledge to leave the Country when he becomes President. That alone will bring about IMMEDIATE REAL CHANGE and more certainly a breath of fresh air and an opportunity to move forward--not be lead backwards as we've been under Bush and your beloved sicko neo-CONS

Posted by: gcejr | July 1, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you're not convinced that he is as patriotic as he claims to be, but it's impossible not to feel his passion when he speaks. And the message is as inspiring as his oratory: Change. Unity. Coming together to overcome all odds. A country with a Future of which every true American can be proud. He embodies the American Dream, and America loves him. And a miracle! Those of my generation, perhaps the most skeptical of this "American Dream", rally to him. To the generation that barely remembers The Clinton Years, and came into political awareness during this current abusive Administration, Obama is a promise of hope that politics need not be so unpalatable. He is our Kennedy, our Marcus Aurelius, and our Philosopher King. He is the choice of today's Future Leaders.

more at:
http://mutaremundus.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Vivienne De La Croix | July 1, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"Barack Obama may, very well, be a patriot, but only he knows if he is. Giving a speech does not prove you're a patriot, nor does it make you a patriot. It just makes you a good politician. No one knows what's in his heart except him."

Editor of the Harvard Law Review. Most people in that position go off to make millions of dollars at a big time lawfirm. Obama goes off to Chicago and becomes a community organizer. No, he didn't go abroad to fight for our country, but his actions were that of a patriot as well. Working to improve the country, even just a little bit.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 1, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Everyone presumes that the Patriotism talk is contrived... but (from the view of small town America) it is something that is talked about in line at the store and in the parking lot at school. This week, especially, it is pertinent, especially the rural areas that have a high rate of enlistment and local guard troops currently overseas.

I would not expect Obama to do or say anything other than he has on this. Regardless of his participation in the 'shared American experience', he does not know the same sacrifice that our men and women in uniform do.

What I want him to do, though, is to tie the concept of patriotism *directly* to our stance in Iraq. How do we honor those who serve? By being honest about what got them there in the first place, by giving them a clear mission (which exists more in Afghanistan than Iraq right now) and by not treating them as the world's police force.

I respect the patriotism of both candidates at this point -- but as we go forward, in terms of *policy*, I have to say I favor Obama.

http://ilfamilypolitics.blogspot.com

.

Posted by: Midwest Mom | July 1, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Yep, WAPO Obama Shill Chris must also belong to the "Chris Matthews School Of
Obama Weird Man Love Stuff" and I just
cannot help but wonder what runs down
this creepy Chris the Drizzle leg when he
sees a picture of his Messiah Creepy Lying
Cocaine Addict Covert Muslim Empty Suit
Barack Hussein Obama now? Chris it looks
like you need help with your OBAMA Issues!
No Way Obama in 2008! No to Obama! NOBAMA!

Posted by: Sherry Kay 2004 | July 1, 2008 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Obama's speech on patriotism was made because of people like FRIEDA, WM TATE, ROB T, and WORDS OF WISDOM, who constantly spew out lies and innuendo about Obama being unpatriotic and Muslim.

Look at 2004, John Kerry's patriotism was assaulted by the Swift Boat Veterans in which the larger media joined in on.

Posted by: Obama-Junkie | July 1, 2008 10:11 AM | Report abuse

I hope he doesn't lose his speech writers; he'll be in a heck of a mess. His speeches always seem to be an effort to restore his standing after another of his many gaffes. As for Wesley Clark, he was generally disliked by others in the military and fired for gross incompetence. I hardly see how anything he says can be taken with more than a grain of salt....and a little disgust.

Posted by: Glennis | July 1, 2008 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Check out this non-biased 2008 Presidential Election Weekly Poll, it's run by a kid!

http://www.votenic.com

Posted by: Jim | July 1, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

OMG...i can 't believe it , he is doing another SPEECH.

I AM GETTING SICK OF HIS SPEECHES.

I want him to do more interviews and I want him debate McCain.

I want some journalist ask him about how he recited Quran for NYTimes reporter ...

Remember this article from New York Times, from last year (3/16/07)?

"In a free-ranging interview with the New York Times, Obama described the Muslim call to prayer as 'one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.' The Times's Nicholos Kristof wrote, Obama recited, 'with a first-class [Arabic] accent,' the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer. "

Posted by: frieda | July 1, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Your comment, "the politics of the past versus the politics of the future" is so biased as to be non-credible.

If sending surrogates (Wesley Clark, Samantha Power) out to disparage your opponent so that you can distance yourself from the attacks, backtracking on important campaign pledges (federal financing) when it's to your advantage, and taking massive amounts of campaign donations from big-money interests (Goldman Sachs, Service Employees International) that want you in their pocket, constitutes "the politics of the future", as Obama has done, then it looks a lot like "the politics of the past."

-Wm Tate,
http://www.atimelikethis.us/

Posted by: Wm Tate | July 1, 2008 8:40 AM | Report abuse

I don't know what the big deal is about this patriotism speach by Obama. It doesn't matter really what he says since he'll chuck it all to the side when it's convienient. Remember the race speach the media hyped up earlier in the year? He said he could no more renounce the good Rev. Wright than he could his own racist grandmother. Well here we are with the good Rev. renounced and the grandmother embraced in the latested Obama political ads. Remember how he told all those folks in Ohio and Michigan that they were out of work because of NAFTA and he'd pull us the U.S out of NAFTA if elected President. Well now he says that was just campaign talk and he really supports NAFTA. Remember how he said he'd accept public financing of his presidential campaign if his Republican challenger did the same to remove the corrupting influences of special interest groups? Well now that he's discovered he can raise a pile of money from said interest groups he says he didn't really mean it or that he has to have hundreds of millions of dollars to combat all those Republican 527's. Of course that's not counting MoveOn's millions or George Soro's millions being spent to smear McCain. And on and on and on. Don't think this speach is about Obama's real core values because he doesn't have any.

Posted by: Rob T | July 1, 2008 8:10 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: news | July 1, 2008 7:27 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: news | July 1, 2008 7:25 AM | Report abuse

It really saddens me to see he level of hate that appears on this site against both of these candidates. Both McCain and Obama were hoping for a civil discussion of issues and it seems that the standard of civility will not be met. It would be nice if some of you could control your emotions and stop the vile ranting.

As far as patriotism (the subject of the editorial) is concerned, I would define a PATRIOT as someone who is prepared to lay down their life for the principles this country was founded upon. Most Americans would like to think of themselves as patriots. The fact is many of them are not. Wearing a lapel pin, flying the stars and strips, or puttging your hand over your heart during the Pledge of Allegiance does not make you a patriot. John McCain is certainly a patriot by virtue of the fact that he laid his life on the line for
this country. Barack Obama may, very well, be a patriot, but only he knows if he is. Giving a speech does not prove you're a patriot, nor does it make you a patriot. It just makes you a good politician. No one knows what's in his heart except him.

Posted by: Capt Howard | July 1, 2008 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Dawd's posting at 2:17am represents what is going on at the Obama campaign headquarters - the making of crazy statements on a regular basis - all by paid Obama staffers who do not identify their postings as coming from the Obama campaign staff. These paid Obama staffers have engaged in a campaign of harassing other posters. This shows a hostility toward Freedom of Speech on the part of the Obama campaign. That lack of tolerance proves to me that Obama is not patriotic. Freedom is what defines Americans - hostility toward Freedom defines our enemies.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 6:51 AM | Report abuse

Dawd would you please sign your posting at 2:17 as the official position of the Obama campaign? I have never seen a Presidential campaign make so many crazy statements in my life.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Dawd would you please sign your posting at 2:17 as the official position of the Obama campaign? I have never seen a Presidential campaign make so many crazy statements in my life.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 1, 2008 6:47 AM | Report abuse

"Any idiot who puts G. Ferraro in with D. Duke and Gov. Wallace has no idea of history and pays no attention to what is acutally said rather than the rhetoric sorrounding it."

Ferraro isn't a racist, just an idiot. Well, that statement was idiotic (as well as her followups)

It doesn't take a thorough reading of history to know that blacks aren't generally successful at getting elected. To say his skin color is an advantage is well...idiotic.

Posted by: DDAWD | July 1, 2008 2:17 AM | Report abuse

Had the MSM done it's job and reported everything they knew about Barack Obama's sordid history before the primaries, instead of censoring everything in order to get this phony con-artist elected president at all costs because he's black and is a good speaker, he would never have been the Dems front-runner now. He'll be toast though come the general.

Posted by: truthbetold | July 1, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

Obama was LISTED BY A CATHOLIC SCHOOL AS BEING A MUSLIM


Obama's half brother has publicly stated that Obama is a Muslim.


Obama's own campaign has stated that Obama attended a madrassa, however it was not a "radical madrassa" just a regular madrassa in which they taught the Koran and the kids learned other Muslim things like there are 57 states of Islam.


We simply post the facts.

The case is pretty much closed on Obama's Muslim heritage, which is correct, real and true. If the Obama campaign says anything different, they are either being deceptive or outright lying to you.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:35 AM | Report abuse

If a Presidential candidate for the office of President of the United States of America has to make a speech to say he is Patriotic, there is something wrong with the candidate, right?


Wow.


There should be ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION OF THE PATRIOTISM OF A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, RIGHT?


So why is Obama making a speech?

Sorry Obama, 1984 was 24 years ago.


.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

If a Presidential candidate for the office of President of the United States of America has to make a speech to say he is Patriotic, there is something wrong with the candidate, right?


Wow.


There should be ABSOLUTELY NO QUESTION OF THE PATRIOTISM OF A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, RIGHT?


So why is Obama making a speech?

Sorry Obama, 1984 was 24 years ago.


.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Leon is 100% correct - if the media had any integrity, the media would have demanded that Obama leave the race after the Gerry Ferraro incident.


Obama, who was supposed to be the post-racial candidate, ran a RACIAL attack against Gerry Ferraro.


Those actions of Obama's campaign were shameful and such a disgrace that no American should tolerate Obama's continued presence in the race as a candidate. Obama is a FRAUD, he has made a FRAUD of his own campaign theme, which is a feat.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

Leon is 100% correct - if the media had any integrity, the media would have demanded that Obama leave the race after the Gerry Ferraro incident.


Obama, who was supposed to be the post-racial candidate, ran a RACIAL attack against Gerry Ferraro.


Those actions of Obama's campaign were shameful and such a disgrace that no American should tolerate Obama's continued presence in the race as a candidate. Obama is a FRAUD, he has made a FRAUD of his own campaign theme, which is a feat.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:22 AM | Report abuse

If a Presidential candidate for the office of President of the United States of America has to make a speech to say he is Patriotic, there is something wrong with the candidate, right?

.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:17 AM | Report abuse

Except that one day before this speech which was supposed to say how patriotit Obama is, Obama sent out as his surrogate speaker Wesley Clark who on Obama's behalf said some extremely offensive things about the patriotism of John McCain.


Obams is kidding, right?


The kind of deception and hypocrisy displayed in this episode reveals a character flaw in Obama which disqualifies him from being able to properly make decisions for this nation.


Patriotism involves respect for the Freedoms which our Founding Fathers placed into the foundation of this government.


Chris, the actions of Obama and his staff on THE FIX over the past few weeks have shown such a disrepect and contempt for tolerance of Freedom of Speech that Obama again shows an anti-American character flaw. Anti-American meaning hostility toward tolerance for the Freedom of Speech of other posters on THE FIX. If only the contributors to Obama knew what Obama's staff has been doing on THE FIX, they would not only be horrified, but shocked that they also paid the salaries of the people who have shown such disrespect and contempt for other posters of THE FIX. This makes Obama Extremely Unpatriotic.


.

Posted by: Words of Wisdom | July 1, 2008 1:16 AM | Report abuse

There is a distinct lack of objectivity when I am reminded that I "should read this speech by Obama." Give me a good reason why I should read diatribe by someone who, compared to others who were running for this office, has accomplished so little in his life. More than likely this speech too will be a lot of nothing, just soaring rhetoric.

Posted by: Opa2 | July 1, 2008 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Doug in NYC I'd think Mcain not being racist against Americans is a good thing unlike Obama. I do think Chaos is right and Obama is not a patriot. Who could in good judgement aid discrimination in aby form? Barack Obama thats who.

Posted by: Amy | July 1, 2008 12:49 AM | Report abuse

"Senator McCain's and my patriotism is a gut reaction based on our history with our Country, our families' American values over the years and our basic belief in the goodness of the American people."
__________________________________________

Yep, and like John McCain, will you be dumping your wife for a young, wealthy heiress (one whose dad can quickly get you plugged into the Arizona political scene?)

Gotta love those 'Merican values!

Posted by: Doug in NYC | July 1, 2008 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Any idiot who puts G. Ferraro in with D. Duke and Gov. Wallace has no idea of history and pays no attention to what is acutally said rather than the rhetoric sorrounding it. Ferraro said that she thinks that Obama is being given a pass for his lack of experience and other problems because of being a black male in 2008--she also said that a black woman would not have been given the same pass. The truth is- for whatever reason, Obama was given a pass on lack of specifics in policy, changing positions, his campaign was alowwed to play dirty while claiming to be above it and accusing the Clintons, and there were other problems. Everyone who points out that the emporer has no clothes is not a racist- most of plan on voting for his naked highness.

Leon

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 11:51 PM | Report abuse

Why come to the Post to read something handed out by the Obama campaign? Way to go with the objectivity there WaPo. Going to put Obama's pic on the masthead soon?

Posted by: guido28 | June 30, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

If he cannot handle his job Jacob he does not deserve it. I just want to know if Obama is getting a free pass from Chris on this major of an issue

Posted by: Gregory | June 30, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

In Chris's defense Gregory he is not that good of a reporter. What I mean is most times he borrows from the articles of others, or has help writing any of "his" own stuff. Oh he, gives credit but what I'm saying is the story of Obama's possible racism against fellow Americans even if it were true. Would be a little to involved for him.

Posted by: Jacob | June 30, 2008 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Lh7, I couldn't agree with you more.

Sincerely,
Geraldine F.
D. Duke
G. Wallace
Sean H.

Posted by: Broadway Joe | June 30, 2008 10:42 PM | Report abuse

As an old lady, who all the Obamaites want dead (as per the comments after that dreadful article today about Flag City) Typical Johnny Cochran stuff. Remember, I will vote until I die, religiously, and Obama will never get mine. I have voted in every election, sometimes Democratic, mostly Republican, and a lot Independent (John Anderson, Ross (crazy] Perot.{ Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Rezko - no way, this old lady will vote for him. As a wife of a 2 Korean War Purple Heart veteran it is McCain for me.

Posted by: Lh7 | June 30, 2008 10:35 PM | Report abuse

Chris what would be the harm in checking this out? Chao45i seems on the level. I'm starting to worry about you. Are you really protecting Obama?

Posted by: Gregory | June 30, 2008 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Broadway joe you are so full of it. I Read the same letter and apparently Obama has known about Hispanics being treated unequally for years.

Posted by: Kelly | June 30, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

broadway joe is propably not hispanic. If he or she was and is not equal under the Senator eyes it would. I see what it has to do with Barack Obama... He is what we call a party to illegal discrimination if he continues to do nothing. It is Illinois right?

Posted by: Morton | June 30, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Chris please try and contain your unbridled lust for Obama. Its excruciating to read. Whatever happened to objective journalism?

Posted by: mountain man | June 30, 2008 10:12 PM | Report abuse

A suggestion to Barack and the Democrats:

Barack should give a speech on the United States Constiution, what it means to him and describe the ways the Bush-Cheney administration has trampled upon the Constitution, especially the powers of the executive branch and the Bill of Rights. He should say he wants to debate McCain solely on the issue of the Constitiution.

During this debate, Barack should ask McCain his positions on specific examples of Bush administration's violations of the Constitution and international law, asking him if he supports or opposes these abuses of power. Supporting the Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, and our democratic values reflects more strongly upon whether a person is truly patriotic and pro-American than about any other subject.

Posted by: Independent | June 30, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

Chaos45i, this is the 500th time you've posted your letter. Your real problem seems to be with Mr. Baca to whom you sent your complaint and who, I guess, doesn't plan on answering you...ever. If he hasn't answered by Wednesday, send it FEDex. Your issue has nothing to do with BO. This is... be calm now... your personal problem, not BO's. You have a bone to pick with Hormel and Target, and maybe Mr. Baca, but not with BO. What happened? -- did the flat screen TV you got from Target not work? Was the Hormel can of ham dented and past-dated? BO respects all people (regardless of race, national origin, etc.)-- even those who mass email or post the same personal letter (totally meaningless to the 300 million other Americans) to some guy named Baca, who apparently doesn't give a hoot. Chaos45i, have a coke and a smile and enjoy life...Peace.

Posted by: broadway joe | June 30, 2008 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I hope someone would tell us something about what Chaos45i has to say. We all know Chris is to invested in Obama to do anything harmful to his chances. VJ Machiavelli please or anyone with guts write something to tell us more!

Posted by: Selena | June 30, 2008 10:10 PM | Report abuse

PATRIOT GAMES AREN'T THE PROBLEM.
A LACK OF SPINE AND PRINCIPLE IS.

The people who question Obama's patriotism will never be convinced to vote for him, no matter how hard the candidate tries to assuage them.

Obama should worry more about preserving and growing his base constituency, which is becoming disillusioned with his recent showing of a weak spine and chronic vacillation on key issues such as warrantless wiretapping, telecom immunity, nuclear power and the death penalty.

When Obama acolyte Keith Olbermann starts taking swipes at the candidate's recent penchant for expediency over principle, you know Barack's got a problem with his base.

Remember, Barack, you're only the presumptive nominee. With friends like Wesley Clark, you may even face a revolt at the convention. Don't think for a minute that Hillary Clinton wouldn't be receptive to a draft movement... especially if growing doubts among your base mushroom into a full-blown case of buyer's remorse.

If Obama loses the unwavering support of his base, don't be surprised if fearful party strategists resurrect the "Draft Gore" talk.

A POSSIBLE REMEDY: STRONG POSITIONS AGAINST ORGANIZED VIGILANTISM AND UNVERIFIABLE ELECTRONIC VOTING

Here's a suggestion, Senator: Speak out against the growing menace of organized vigilantism across America, what's come to be known as "gang stalking" or "community stalking." A KKK-like citizen "stazi" is decimating the rule of law and the constitutional guarantee of due process, and threatens our basis freedoms. Victims are starting to come forward, and the often naive mainstream media is starting to wake up to the danger.

Perhaps Barack should consider a speech vowing to fight organized vigilantism, along with a pledge to back legislation requiring a "paper trail" in all federal elections.

Such bold declarations would go a long way toward restoring faith in your candidacy among the people who made you the presumptive nominee -- the committed core that you must preserve in order to have any chance of victory.

Posted by: scrivener | June 30, 2008 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Just in case you didn't notice-

Clark will not be the VP candidate.

Leon

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Neville Chamberlain was a patriot too. But he chose the wrong course of action. The course he chose lead to tens of millions dying.
Today we face a similar fate if we allow the terrorist to win.

I will leave you with this silly example.

Obama and his supporters want you to take off your shoes every time you get on a plane.

McCain and his supporters want you to put them back on, and keep them on.

VJ Machiavelli
http://www.vjmachiavelli.blogspot.com

Posted by: VJ Machiavelli | June 30, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Anyone who is racist in anyway to his fellow Americans can not be considered Patriotic. Obama also said he will not stand idley by as his patriotism is challenged. I truly hope so, "Patriot" is not a title that goes hand in hand with his racism against Hispanics in Illinios. Obama is not a patriot. I challenge his patriotism but he will remain idle in my case. Chris, you can mention this the next time your on MSNBC.


This is the basic text of a letter sent June 20, 2008.

ATTENTION TO : Congressman Joe Baca
Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus FAX 202-225 8671 & FAX 202-225-8671
& June 20, 2008
All Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

NOTICE & COMPLAINT OF RACISM
It was recently reported that in response to the suggestion by the press that he has a Hispanic/Latino problem with support among Latino/Hispanic Americans Democratic Presumptive nominee Barack Obama on June 17, 2008 lied to the press when he suggested he has no Hispanic/Latino problem when the truth and fact of the matter is in a deceptive manner Obama is showing his continued willingness to mislead the American public, the press, and those Hispanic/Latino voters he still needs by covering up the fact he continues to be unwilling to recognize & address the legitimate issue of clear racism against Hispanic complainants who report incidents of race discrimination at the Chicago,IL. offices of the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in his own home state of Illinois. I, an Illinois U.S. born Hispanic American citizen, in a timely manner reported 3 incidents of race discrimination involving Hormel Foods Corporation , UFCW, and Target Corporation to IDHR & EEOC. Not just a simple conflict of interest UFCW's endorsement and their powerful resources are no more than an illegal kick back for Obama in a racist manner knowingly obstructing an investigation of UFCW as it relates to my particular situation. It was also reported that on June 17, 2008 Obama met with the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus but I am certain Obama failed to mention this legitimate issue that concerns Hispanic/Latino Americans and it is fair and reasonable for one to conclude that in furtherance of a COVER UP Obama at this meeting was not honest and not forthcoming to the members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about the fact he is aware that my notices & complaints over a course of years now regarding the racism at IDHR & EEOC related to my 3 reported incidents of race discrimination being COVERED UP/Concealed and buried by the actions of Obama and IDHR & EEOC officials have, to this date, been repeatedly ignored, never addressed, never investigated, and no one has ever been held accountable for intentionally sabotaging and denying me , a Hispanic complainant, language that states on official "IDHR & EEOC" charges discrimination based on RACE against Hormel Foods Corporation, UFCW, and Target Corporation when nonHispanic complainants are not sabotaged or denied the same language of discrimination based on RACE on their official "IDHR & EEOC" charges of discrimination at IDHR & EEOC. Obama will have to accept responsibility for his racist actions and/or inactions as it will never be acceptable by me for Obama to blame others or for him to make any excuses for allowing this racism against Americans who happen to be Hispanic to go on as long as it has. I urge you not to support Obama and to join me bringing this racism to the attention of the Hispanic community until and unless Obama himself fully addresses this matter.


C: Democratic Presumptive Nominee Barack Obama
Mr. Arturo Vargas -National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

Posted by: Chaos45i | June 30, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

well after seen the best posts on an blog ever on the "playing into McCain's hands" on this site

we are back to the Childish barbs

and unsubstantiated rumors by Internet Punks like some of you hear.

No one's patriotism should be question unless
for good reason and proof.

where is your proof - there is none because
it doesn't exist against Obama because if
it had it would have been used by the Clinton's

we have had 8 years of the worst president in the History of the U.S. and because of that and Obama I as a black republican will
vote for 1 democrat this November.

I love McCain voted for him twice here in CA in 2000 and 2008 but he is not the same
guy he was in 2008 and while I have waited
10 years to vote for him for President I have waited 389 years to vote for Obama. The dems will have the house and the senate
so let them screw it up for a while the Republicans get their act together.

and btw there is no offense to say a POW hero, pilot, and senate liaison doesn't have.

It's not surprising a General would say a tactical officer doesn't have command experience

that's not offensive it's just a statement of fact.
the experience he doesn't have

as far as Patriotism where was Robert McNamara's patriotism not telling the President that we couldn't win Vietnam when he knew before McCain got shot down that we
couldn't win.

Where was the Patriotism of Generals who said nothing of the stupid decisions during
this war.

where was the Media

only THE USUAL SUSPECTS spoke out

anti war people who would have been against
WWII on December 8th, 1941

what does it say when Haliburton builds substandard showers made from Chinese parts
that get's a soldier killed not by a bullet or at least a roadside bomb but a short circuit.

what does it say about our patriotism to put "We will never forget 9-11" stickers on
gas guzzling SUV's while soldiers injured in battle are given substandard care, discharged, force to payback their signing bonus because the were injured, family losing their health care and in the case of
one single soldier fighting off the advances of another man in a half way house

because he lost his home to foreclosure

or those on the left who spat in the face of those returning from Vietnam

We are only patriotic when everything is fine or after a disaster happens like 9-11

but we do nothing to fundamentally change the conditions that led to that

whether it is to bomb everybody or use diplomacy.

wearing a flag pin is not an excuse to ignore the above.

if you don't do more than just wear a flag pin or accuse others with no proof then your no patriot and if I didn't say so neither am I.

people in the Midwest need help

returning veterans need help

If you can't serve over seas you can't help
those who do and those who serve us here.

speak truth to power

Posted by: Michael Templer | June 30, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I am still voting for Obama but
just to point out Chris,

saying something idealistic when it is convenient to win over the select people you need to take an early lead in the delegates and then create the impression that the person who had the other 50% of the vote is "hanging on" is not called pragmatism-

It is called opportunism. Also lying
about:
campaign finance
FISA
Death Penalty
NAFTA
Meeting with leaders of foreign nations
windfall profits tax
gun control

As a leftist- I had strong feelings about all of these issues- and there were proposals on the table from the other candidate- while suggesting that he supported the "liberal" positions on these issues- he mostly spoke in vague rhetoric,
allowing him to throw these issues, and many more to come, under the bus- which is a lot more serious than his disregard for people that get in his way.

Whatever- in this "democracy" he is the only choice. But this is my last vote for the 2 parties- I'm finding some obscure left party to vote my concience in 2012
Leon

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 9:12 PM | Report abuse

Unless your last name is Crockett or Bowie, or your first name is Audie, my guess is you don't have standing to challenge combat hero Gen. Wes. Gen. Wes is just passing along what the real military folks think of the media's war hero narrative created for Mac. Let's thank Gen. Wes for the knowledge, and BO for yet another incredible speech...Peace

Posted by: Broadway Joe | June 30, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

So as part of the "Re-Introduction of Loser
Barack Hussein Obama" include next Obama
magically appearing in a Napolean Bonaparte
Uniform and a chest full medals,borrowed
from Windsurfer John Kerry and Retired
General Wesley Clark? Oh,sorry I forgot
Obama threw General Clark under the bus
already! OMG it must be getting packed under Bus Driver Obama's Bus by the way old
Barack Hussein Obama is throwing his own
people under his bus these days. NOBAMA!

Posted by: Ralphinphnx | June 30, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Whether Barack is sufficiently patriotic should not be an issue among mature, grown-ups, who sincerely believe in democracy. Right wingers and most Republicans though seem to lack respect for democratic values and the Constitution by supporting the policies of the Budsh-Cheney administration.

As Al Gore carefully documents in "The Assault in Reason," the Bush-Cheney administration are the people who are unAmerican, in enacting policies violating the Constitution, international law, and our democratic values.

Republicans try to make patriotism an issue because they, as Bob Barr observed this weekend, are bankrupt in standing for new programs and policies. They have very little positive to offer the vast majority of Americans. So they resort to mud-slinging, as usual, to try to dupe as many voters as possible with their inane propaganda.

Posted by: Independent | June 30, 2008 8:27 PM | Report abuse

He has done it again and the media has fallen hook ,line,and sinker.He sends out a surrogate to stir the pot(Gen. Clarke'sremarks on Senator McCain)I am sorry I do not think he was just given talking points,he was given a specific job(probably David Axelrod).Suddenly he comes with oratory on patriotism and totally plays stupid on the general's remarks.There goes another person that has helped BO being thrown under the bus.Come one come all who would like to be the next BO surrogate to be sacrificed for the king.Someone needs to tell BO we do not have a monarchy

Posted by: NE Philly | June 30, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Why do I even try?

Posted by: trisha | June 30, 2008 8:19 PM | Report abuse

You all are all wet and so is that General Clark. Mac is great. He's a great hero. He's the best. I, er, don't know him, uh, personally but he'll make a great President because, as he says, he got shot down. BO didn't get shot down so, uh, he won't make a great President. Go Mac.
Sincerely,
Vicki I.

Posted by: Broadway Joe | June 30, 2008 8:14 PM | Report abuse

In response to Joe:

"In fact it is largely irrelevant to anything Presidential: management, policy making, judgment, etc."

Being commander of the largest navy squadron in the U.S. requires damn good judgment and management qualities in someone. Much more so than being a community organizer.

Posted by: trisha | June 30, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

The speech is now (finally!) available in full on Youtube and is well worth watching. The video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9n2-zEbHJo

I loved the standing ovations when Senator Obama referred to our veterans, including John McCain, and their service. In fact, I just enjoyed watching the faces and reactions of the audience to the different points that were made.

Of course, what REALLY blew the roof off was when Senator Obama quoted Mark Twain--clearly Twain has gone way beyond "favorite son" status in Missouri to something even more special! Take a look for yourself. The link is

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | June 30, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Really?

John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone to two U.S. citizens. At the time of his birth (ages and ages ago) it was a U.S. territory.

I'm not denying Obama's birth in Hawaii. I couldn't care less. The fact that doubts have been circulating adds to the suspicion of it being a falsified document. Like I said, I don't care, but it would, however, represent a calculated half-truth by the Obama campaign.

Also, I didn't criticize Clark's credentials -- I criticized his posturing against McCain's; inappropriate for a retired general, regardless of party affiliation.

Before you hit the 'submit' button, why don't you actually read what I write instead of resorting to petty criticisms about mine and others' posts. Or is that just another part of "new politics" that I'm ignorant about?

****

Everyone seems to have a lot to say about the "GOP smear tactics," but looks like the DNC and some Obama supporters have learned them well. (Let me state SOME again before anyone attacks that statement.)

Gross overstatements about the Republican party are getting ridiculous, painting every conservative as a Bush fan or calling McCain McBush or Bush Lite. McCain is as centrist as you get, and Obama merely poses as such.

McCain is a pragmatist, while Obama is an opportunist.

Oh no; did I just make a post without childish insults toward other posters? Seriously. Not only is that disrespectful to posters, but also to CC. Learn how to state your opinions without demeaning oppositional viewpoints.


Posted by: trisha | June 30, 2008 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Dear Chris--
Once again the media allows for inane argument over McCain's military record-- because we don't know the details of his record! Why isn't it common knowledge? Front page news? He wants to be President of the United States and yet the media sees him as too precious to have his record scrutinized? The media let rumor-mongers run the show as opposed to swiftly laying out facts. I am learning things about McCain's record in dribs and drabs that are really not so heroic. He was a lousy student-- sixth from the bottom in his class-- is that true? He crashed 5 planes and was known as a mean-spirited party boy--is that true? He was shot down in Vietnam and rebuked other POWs for being too malleable. He endured a lot but he also made a propaganda film for the Viet Cong-- is that true? He didn't have the reputation to rise in Naval ranks and therefore decided to become leave off pursuit of a career in the military and become a politician-- is that true? Finally, the fact I learned that disturbs me the most about Mr. McCain, is the one that does appear to be true-- He was a big womanizer after he got back from Vietnam and played the field even though he had a wife who stood by him and had been crippled in a terrible car accident. Instead of standing by her, McCain courted the young Cindy and left his wife for the younger, richer woman. Now, why have I had to hear these stories piece-meal instead of having an unbiased media root them out and present them to us all, good with the bad, to pass judgement.

Posted by: ignatious | June 30, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

All Gen. Wes (whose war hero cred cannot be challenged by anyone this side of Sgt. York) was saying was: getting your plane shot down over enemy lines is not a qualification for President. It just isn't -- you just got shot down. In fact it is largely irrelevant to anything Presidential: management, policy making, judgment, etc. Further, BO didn't say anything about this; Wes did, so talk to Wes about it, not BO. In fact, BO has called Mac a hero so lay off BO on this one and send all hate blasts, if you absolutely must, Wes's way. Peace.

Posted by: Broadway Joe | June 30, 2008 7:47 PM | Report abuse

" Before you go denigrating Wesley Clark you had better know a bit about the man. He graduated at the top of his class at West Point. He VOLUNTEERED to go to Vietnam and was made commander of the 16th Infantry of the 1st Infantry Division. He wasn't a staff officer, he was a front line officer and, after being shot four times by a Viet Cong sniper, led his troops to defeat a combined North Vietnamese and Viet Cong attack on his position! That is bravery and he deserves your repect as a genuine hero."


Yeah, that guy is one hell of a patriot. He's very intelligent too.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 30, 2008 7:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama won't question McCain's patriotism, but he doesn't mind if his lackeys do it for him.

For all the talk about Obama getting swiftboated, his campaign seems to be the one doing the swiftboating.

Posted by: info | June 30, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

trisha - Before you go denigrating Wesley Clark you had better know a bit about the man. He graduated at the top of his class at West Point. He VOLUNTEERED to go to Vietnam and was made commander of the 16th Infantry of the 1st Infantry Division. He wasn't a staff officer, he was a front line officer and, after being shot four times by a Viet Cong sniper, led his troops to defeat a combined North Vietnamese and Viet Cong attack on his position! That is bravery and he deserves your repect as a genuine hero. What have you ever done for your country? Nothing, I'd say, based on your worthless posts.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

I just read the speech and all I can say is: Wow. Whether he wins the election or not, I believe Obama's lasting impact on the nation is to re-introduce the value of rethoric and the ability to phrase your ideas in a sound, logical manner and deliver them with ability and presence.

I think this speech will not quiet the whispering, but it is something that Obama believers can point towards and say he is raising the level of debate.

Posted by: agitpropigation | June 30, 2008 6:48 PM | Report abuse

"May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains, under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings & security of self-government."

Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence


Now, I wonder what kind of beer he liked?

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 30, 2008 6:47 PM | Report abuse

trisha - Again, the original bith certificate has been examined by all three networks and by many other people. The photo, per their reports, is not "Photo Shopped" and that fact has been attested to by many many disinterested and rational parties. Beyond this, the fact that Obam's mother was a U.S. citizen is undeniable and that automatically would make him a U.S. citizen wherever he was born under federal law! So, the question is, why are you spending so much time spreading this sort of utter nonsense?

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 6:46 PM | Report abuse

trisha - Again, please provide some sort of rational explanation, then, for Obama's birth certificate showing him being born to a mother with U.S. citizenship in Hawaii...something that has been investigated and reported repeatedly in light of the smear campaign being run by you paranoid creeps. You should, instead, be questioning John McCain's citizenship. He was born in Panama and his birth certificate wasn't even issued until years after HIS BIRTH.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

mibrooks#:

I think you should use your integrity and look at analysts' opinions on the certificate being photoshopped and stop calling people ignorant on the internet.

Posted by: trisha | June 30, 2008 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama is certainly a citizen of the United States. There are numerous ways that this has been proven, and I encourage people to stop spreading falsehoods about the good Senator Obama. These false rumors are ridiculous. Don't let the GOP mislead you. I urge people to visit Obama's new site - http://www.FightTheSmears.com - because it debunks the falsehoods being said about the senator. On this site, you can see Obama's birth certificate and a video of the senator leading the Pledge of Allegiance. It's a great site. Check it out before you pass on some bizarre rumor about the good Senator Obama. GObama 08!

Posted by: Allen | June 30, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

This is getting old: race, patriotism -- more teleprompter tactics by Obama. And now the fightthesmears.com crap. It just proves how little Americans know about this man. Same old Chicago politics to me. His wife even worked for Mayor Daley. Can I get a C-O-R-R-U-P-T? How else could Obama get elected in Illinois (I mean besides moneybags Rezko).

I find Wesley Clark's comments about McCain's service inappropriate and desperate, especially because Clark is a retired general. Being a POW doesn't qualify you to be president, but everyone seems to forget that afterward he commanded the largest navy squadron in the US. I forget how many years Obama served for this country. Oh, that's right, zero.

Then there was Kerry's shaky and shady military record, Al Gore's absent record as a field reporter thanks to his father's senatorial position, and so forth.

McCain does not NEED to give a speech about patriotism. It's inherent to his disposition due to his life experiences in the military and in the Senate.

Obama has a website and a doctored birth certificate.

Posted by: trisha | June 30, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

marcus - you are so ignorant it is beyond belief. Obama was born in Hawaii! Under both state and federal law, he is a U.S. citizen. Under the 14th Amendment, even if both of his parents were immigrants and non-citizens, he would be a citizen. In fact, however, his mother was a U.S. citizen and he could have been born ANYWHERE and would be a U.S. citizen under federal law. Obama has posted his birth certificate on the web. If you had an ounce of integrity, you wouldn't be posting such nonsense.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 6:24 PM | Report abuse

scrapster - Don't count on it! John Kerry was clearly better Presidential material than George Bush and he was downed by the Swift Boat campaign. I sill cannot believe the number of people whp voted AGAINST Kerry, solely based on the negative campaign. We still hear from people, even on this foum, who ended up voting for Bush and kick themselves for believing that garbage tossed out by the Swift Boaters. Well, history is repeating itself. The same people are running the anti-Obama campaigns. I say campaigns becasue there are several of them. The outright lies being trotted out on the internet, in forums like this one and emails. A significant number of voters are so ignorant, so stupid and gullible, that they will commit economic and national suicide, vote against their own self interest and the interests of this nation, based on the sort of crap being tossed out there right now.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 6:19 PM | Report abuse

Very nice summary and reflection, Chris!

Posted by: Beth in VA | June 30, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Senator Obama did a good thing with this speech. He showed how much he loves America, and he gave a great response to McCain's cronies who have been attacking. This speech will be widely read, and people will see that Senator Obama loves the good USA. In contrast, when people look at McCain, they'll see a paranoid, xenophobic, old fuddy-duddy. People will see that McCain is just trying to get attention because he can't muster the enthusiasm like Obama, and people will wonder if McCain is enthusiastic about his own campaign. McCain just looks soooo bored when he's on-stage - it makes me wonder if he's really interested.

Posted by: Allen | June 30, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

While it would be incredibly stupid to vote for a Presidential candidate because you think one of them is somehow more patriotic than the other, I understand why Obama gave this speech. However, the most dangerous (as I have been repeating ad nauseum) issue to his campaign is the economy and specifically gas prices.

I keep reading in newspaper after newspaper about this latest poll that says 9 in 10 Americans are modifying their lives to try and cope with the price of gas. It is now the most important issue to Americans. While Obama holds a slight lead on this issue, it is possibly the least well defined issue of the campaign and the one neither Obama nor McCain has staked out as theirs. I've said McCain cannot win this race but Obama could lose it and this would be the issue. He better start transcending traditional Democrat (clean energy utopia is around the corner) - Republican (drill & mine) energy policy if he wants to guarantee a win in Nov.

When 90% of the electorate are actually changing their daily lives (in a bad way) over one issue and over half say it is 'the issue', you better abandon what hasn't been working and find something new. McCain has already blended offshore drilling with renewable electric power. Obama needs to find a traditional extraction technology to back and combine it with his own renewable energy industry(ies). Pretty much everyone knows there is nothing that can be done short-term, but if you cannot spell out your medium and long-term plan then you will be toast. And by spell out, I mean a plan where everyone can see how you can get from A to B to C without magic or wishful thinking.

Because there is no magic bullet, the electorate will not listen to ridicule of your opponents plan if you yourself are offering no action. Obama can cite all sorts of negatives about offshore drilling, but it is 1) action and 2) adds more oil. McCain is trying to define the only open issue and this year it is also the most important issue. People aren't going to care how long or how little it takes and produces if Obama is offering nothing concrete. Obama already has an effete image problem. If McCain can characterize him as an ivory tower intellectual thinking about energy when McCain is out getting his hands dirty finding energy, it will be Obama's swift boat.

Posted by: muD | June 30, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

the problem with his birth was that his father was a foreigner and therefore by state law obama was not a US citizen. obama may not be eligible to run

Posted by: marcus | June 30, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Proud:

Good barbecue there, but don't drink the watered down substance they call beer. We've got good beer here in PA, but crappy BBQ.
I do like arugula though -- we grow our own.

Speaking of July 4th, did you read Kristol's column in the NYT today? Sounds like a good tradition to start. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/30/opinion/30kristol.html?th&emc=th

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

God, I love these comments. To keep hearing the dead horses of Obama's citizenship, religious affiliation and patriotism beaten over and over again, one begins to realize how desperate the repubs really are right now :) The have a dull, old and uninspiring candidate who can't fight Obama on the merits.

So, I'd like to rub a little more salt in their wounds: You're going to lose!!!! (and you know it:) Obama victory party at my house on Novemeber 3rd!

Posted by: scrapster | June 30, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

While I generally loath the GOP, and I seriously question elected GOP officials adherence to their oath of office, I believe them to be patriotic.

That is the difference between liberals and conservatives, liberals believe that conservatives are much like themselves only with a different mindset. Conservatives, on the other hand, believe that other side is a vile, godless hoard intent on rape and pillage. How can we talk to these people?

Posted by: Roofelstoon | June 30, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"I was in the military.

I flew a plane.

I was shot down.

I was a prisoner.

I am now qualified to be President.

Okay?

Could someone tell me what was so wrong with Clark's statement?"

What Clark says is true, but I am unaware of McCain ever saying that he is qualified to be president based on being a POW. He usually brings up his work in the Senate as justification.

I may be wrong, but to me, it seems like Clark is using a straw-man. No reasonable person believes that being shot down is an important pre-req to being president.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 30, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

The rhetoric needs to be toned down. Can't give McCain and the GOP free ammo.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: matt | June 30, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Per your suggestion, Mr. Cillizza, I read the whole speech. When I have a moment to stream it, I will listen to it as well. I can well imagine it sounds even better than it reads.

Not only is it a wonderful speech showing Obama at his very best, it is absolutely correct in every essential point. Patriotism DOES take many forms, not all of them comfortable to many Americans. The current occupant of the White House and the evil little trolls that comprise his Administration HAVE been using patriotism as a cudgel on anyone who disagrees with them, even (especially) when they're right.

While it is certainly true that Obama has short-term political motives for making this particular speech at this particular time, the CONTENT of his speech is of more benefit to Americans from having heard it than what it may or may not get him in additional votes.

It was the same with Obama's speech on race. While he certainly had short-term goals in making it, what he said has needed to be said for many, many years. God bless him for saying it.

I realize that you run a political blog and are therefore focused on things political. You've also not hidden very well your political preferences (as is your right). But surely you're capable of getting outside you box a little bit and recognizing (AND ACKNOWLEDGING) truth when you hear it.

Aren't you?

Posted by: willythekorn | June 30, 2008 5:44 PM | Report abuse

One thing I noticed about this debate over the twisted and oft time invented smearing of Obama is how it relates to the Second Amendment decision by the Supreme Court last week. The very same people who are so rightly defending Obama right now were out there publishing the most distorted nonsense and outright lies imaginable about firearms and firearm related crime. At the same time, the defenders of the Second Amendment were pretty universally decrying the anti-gun campaign based on those deceptions and lies and were busily posting references to facts (which were disregarded or, more usually, ignored). The fact is, a lie is a lie is a lie! If we value civil discourse, much less our rights as citizens, we had better start conducting ourselves a bit better.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Hey, Marcus, I'd be careful about those claims of place of birth interfering with a candidate's eligibility to run for office -- your boy Johnny wasn't born in the US -- Panama Canal Zone, dude. Everybody's hushing that one up but there's no clear cut answer. You CLAIM Sen. Obama wasn't born in the US -- WE KNOW McCain wasn't, lol.

Posted by: omyobama | June 30, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Having to give a speech about his patriotism indicates that Senator Obama's patriotism is intellectually based. Senator McCain's and my patriotism is a gut reaction based on our history with our Country, our families' American values over the years and our basic belief in the goodness of the American people. Quite different. I don't know if Senator Obama is an American patriot or if I can trust him. Most everything that indicates the "real Obama" says no.

Posted by: J. Lowry | June 30, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Strategically, I'm wondering why the Obama campaign sends him out on his own for things like this. Just before the West Virginia primary, Senator Obama gave a great speech (in West Virginia) on honoring our veterans and the GI Bill of Rights with a bunch of heavily decorated retired general officers on stage with him.

They're all still supporting him, so why not have some -- perhaps with Missouri roots -- come along for the speech? Or, for that matter, why not go on a campaign swing with a better known political figure like Jim Webb?

There are plenty of surrogates and very prominent supporters who I think would be happy to travel with the nominee. I wonder if it would be better to bring them along, or if the idea is that he appears stronger when speaking on his own, since he's perfectly capable of handling the speech himself, to say the least. That way the surrogates (but hopefully NOT Wesley Clark!) could talk to reporters as well instead of creating a one-person event.

Posted by: Fairfax Voter | June 30, 2008 5:35 PM | Report abuse

radical_moderate, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Both candidates love this country. McCain physically defended this country as shown by his military service. The way Obama's life has worked out, there's no question that he loves the country for the amazing opportunities it offers its citizens. Why are we wasting time questioning patriotism when we should be questioning whether their plans and policies will work for the American people?

Neither of the two senators have any real executive experience as a governor would so all we have to go off of really are their policy platforms. But I guess if some have no real solutions, the would rather focus on questioning someone's character, patriotism, etc. rather than face the problems.

Posted by: FloridaForObama | June 30, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I wrote a very long post (that got quarantined) in response to dashriprock, who challenged us to name ANY other public figure with similar ties to unrepentant radicals. And I pointed to John McCain -- who has every bit as close ties with G. Gordon Liddy, the unrepentant Watergate black bagger who broke into the DNC (wow, that's patriotic) and planned even more heinous terrorist acts against Democrats and activists of the same era as Ayers. Liddy has had McCain on his radio show, hosted a 1998 fundraiser for McCain in his home and has contributed $5,000 to him over the years, $1,000.00 this year. When McCain was whipping up the frenzy over the tenuous connections between Obama and Ayers, he had this to say: "I think not only a repudiation but an apology for ever having anything to do with an unrepentant terrorist is due the American people."

After you, Senator.

Anybody wanting to read the great Chicago Tribune column detailing their ties AND Liddy's insane anti-American terror record should go here:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/chi-oped0504chapmanmay04,0,6061828.column

Posted by: straight talk my a** | June 30, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

In reading some of the rather inane comments from the Obama bashers- it comes to mind that it would not surprise me at all if the GOP did not have their own persons posting some of this drivel just to undermine Senator Obama's campaign. It is discourging to see the school yard level of uneducated rhetoric that is being presented by these so-called Patriotic Americans in regards to their perception of Barak Obama. You have to wonder- where do these people come from- and then it comes to you- hey they all voted for George W. Bush. Let's give them a big thank you for that and our trillion dollar loss and thousands of American soldiers killed or maimed. They are obviously better suited to make a decision about who is going to be our next President.

Posted by: Howard Haney | June 30, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

proudtobeGOP - As you full well know, Obama removed that flag pin because various candidates put them on to tout/prove their patriotism (and, at the same time, lobby for Boeing's selling cruise missile guidance systems to China!)and he, when he took it off, said, you don't have to have some silly pin to PROVE your genuine patriotism. He put a particular one back on only becasue he was given it by a wounded Iraq vet. Likewise, that pohto being curcuilated around the web of Obama apparently not placing his hand over his heart for the Pledge was DOCTORED! How on earth can you tolerate this sort of rubbish? Are Republican's so desparate that they will side with the NeoCon and Swift Boater liars and their scorched earth campaigns to wreck this country? These are the greediest, most loathsome, most desparate collection of liars and cheats I have ever seen. Every one of them, once you scratch the surface, is a traitor to this country - they've either sold a weapons system to some enemy state or otherwise traded with them, they have engaged in some bold outright lie or another, they have shipped jobs and technology and production capacity to China or India or Vietnam or some other enemy state, or they have engaged in some swindle like the current Enron like scam where they have run up the price of oil. They are, in a word, the grandest collection of treasonous scum ever seen by any society. How on earth can you tolerate them? They certainly aren't conservatives. They more closely resemble the industrialists that foisted Hitler off on the world.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

And I take it that Marcus actually does have a brain - he just doesn't show it.

Get a life, robot.

Posted by: TheJerseyGiant | June 30, 2008 5:25 PM | Report abuse

mnteng - That stuff is all the rage here, a virtual requirement for living.. The rest of the country seems to be quite unaware of it's necessity. I'm just glad to be back to a place where they know what good barbeque is. And just in time for the 4th of July, too... Now, THAT'S patriotism!

(On second thought, perhaps we should all forego our traditional Independence Day fare this year now that Obama has redefined patriotism for us, and switch to tofu-dogs topped with arugula.)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 30, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The big story in the blogosphere is not this useless obama speech stuff, but the fact that the new obama website fightthe smears and dailykos have actually posted obama's birth certificate from Hawaii and many experts now concur that it is a fake. the speculation is that obama is not even a US citizen and therefore ineligible to run for President!

Posted by: marcus | June 30, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

It does rather seem as if the politics of the future have no place for any criticism of Barack Obama.

You can't call him too liberal, or too inexperienced; it's way out of bounds to suggest he hasn't accomplished very much as a legislator or that he has spent most of his time since winning his last election campaigning for his next one. And is he a novice in foreign and national security policy? That's just the politics of the past talking.

Incidentally, for those who might be wondering, Obama's decision to trash the public financing system had nothing -- nothing -- to do with his campaign consultants wanting to make a lot more money taking more cuts from more television ads. We do not ask whether campaign consultants have that kind of influence over the candidate in the politics of the future. We refer in admiring tones to the candidate's "pragmatism" and leave it at that.

Posted by: Zathras | June 30, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

So once again it seems people will see what they want to see, in anything they look at, despite all else. No surprise there.

So, we can't simply 'be' patriotic. We now must, what, bleed patriotic? Exude patriotic? Smell patriotic? Have DNA sampled for patriotism? Just what the hell is wrong with this ignorant country?

How many tri-fold flags do I have to display before I'm allowed to be? How many dead men and women must I count on my fingers and toes before I'm ok with those who are the keepers of the great state secret reposititory of patriotism?

There were anti-war citizenry throughout the history of this country - were they un-patriotic? Did those who were disgusted by slavery display un-patriotic behavior?

Who gets to decide who is a patriot, and who decides what patriotism is? Do we need and additional seven dirty words to describe those particular behaviors that would make someone un-patriotic?

Classifying someone as something requires a level of smarts that few in government appear to possess, whether they be in the executive, legislative or judicial branch.

"They" just want to tell you how you should live and breathe - that's all. They are the ones who decide who is and who is not a "this" or a "that", whatever it may be. I'm a citizen. Do I get any rights as a citizen? Can you junk habeas corpus and toss me in jail on a whim?

What's that you say, government can do anything it wants to? Hey folks, that' the life we're facing right now, today, this very moment. That' why there was a revolution in the first place. Or don't you read any history?

Just what is torture? I have a good means of detecting it - just apply to the questioner, and see how they feel.

Yes, you can tell I've been watching too many hearings on this little teeny-tiny thing called freedom. It goes right along with the branding of people into groups and categories and classes. You are all just "somethings" to be told what you are, and how we are to deal with you.

Who broke the law today? What law? What did it say, and, more importantly, what did it mean?

Patriotism? What's that? What does it mean, and who says so? And who died and made them god?

Nobody gives anybody the right to say who is and who is not patriotic, unless you are willing to have it turned around on you. Nobody.

Posted by: TheJerseyGiant | June 30, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

The big story in the blogosphere is not this useless speech stuff, but the fact that the new obama website fightthe smears and dailykos have actually posted obama's birth certificate from Hawaii and many experts now concur that it is a fake. the speculation is that obama is not even a US citizen and therefore ineligible to run for President!

Posted by: marcus | June 30, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

The big story in the blogosphere is not this useless speech stuff, but the fact that the new obama website fightthe smears and dailykos have actually posted obama's birth certificate from Hawaii and many experts now concur that it is a fake. the speculation is that obama is not even a US citizen and therefore ineligible to run for President!

Posted by: marcus | June 30, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Bob Fanning:
McCain's North Vietnamese torturer says if he was an American, he'd vote for McCain. Given that this man is likely a Communist, how is this not much, much worse than the fact that Obama's grandfather hung out with a Communist WHEN OBAMA WAS NINE FREAKING YEARS OLD!?

Posted by: Tom | June 30, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Idiot post abound. Some nut always trying to associate Senator Obama with Farrakhan and Ayers. He has never associated with Farrakhan, his former Pastor gave Farrakhan an award for his work in the community. And trying to associate him with Ayers is a joke. Get your facts straight and stop being like the GOP, spreading lies and false rumors.

The republicans campaign, not on issues but tarnishing the opponent with lies on inuendos on their character. I reall hope Americans can see through the fog this time and realize all the republicans and John McCain have is this. They cannot discuss the issues facing YOU because they have no REAL answers.

Posted by: CitizenAJ | June 30, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, Barack, but a devotion to your country will never become "outdated."

You look at McCain and you see someone who puts their country first.

You look at Obama and you see someone who puts Obama first.

So how does someone unpatriotic avoid being labeled as such?

Simple:

Declare the conversation "off limits"

Posted by: snapper | June 30, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

We Americans have a stark choice this year; keep the Country on the same course as it is now (I find no substantially different ideas to counter-act the economy chilling Bush policies coming out of McCain's campaign) or try a different tact. For my money, shifting the theory about how the economic well being of the country emanates from the center rather than the top, is the most prudent ideology since 95% of us fall into that demographic. Further, Senator Obama doesn't have to "prove" his patriotic bona fides to me; I think that anyone who wants the thankless job of embattled POTUS is a Patriot from the get-go.

BTW, it was nice and respectful of Obama to rebuke Wesley Clark's brutally honest comments regarding McCain's military service, but the truth is that Clark is right, McCain, like Obama, has no executive Political experience, and I also don't count being a POW as relevant experience to be POTUS. Rather the deciding factor in the race will be judgement, and the Candidate's plans on how to fix the failing economy.

Posted by: radical_moderate | June 30, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Proud:

I'm glad to hear you're settled, though you must know your vote will now be a really small R voice in a sea of D. If you are where I think you are, next time you go into the big city, don't forget to visit Ted Drewes' for some frozen custard.

Posted by: mnteng | June 30, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Where can we sign up to receieve all of Obamas "inspirational" speaches up front?

I swear the guy, if elected, or if not elected, will make it big as the next Tony Robbins.

Race, Race pt 2, Patriotism, Religion, on what other subject can the messaih read a telepromter on?

Posted by: 761-091 | June 30, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

This speech was a good move and timely, since all the right wings are all upset about Clark's valid statement about McCain. These are the same fools who attacked John Kerry in 2004 and McCain in 2000 over their service.

I was in the military.

I flew a plane.

I was shot down.

I was a prisoner.

I am now qualified to be President.

Okay?

Could someone tell me what was so wrong with Clark's statement?

Posted by: Billy Pilgrim | June 30, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

That's rich, Barack Obama giving a speech on patriotism. Jewish-Americans have a word for that, CHUTZPAH. Barack Obama has proved his total LACK of any patriotism for America when he alligned himself and supported the racist white and America--hating Trinity church for more than 20 years. I bet his racist black and useful white idiots who are all now trying to pooh-pooh Obama's racist and America-hating past and associarion with the rediculous guilt by association excuse, wouldn't be so understanding and tolerant had John McCain been a 20 year member of the KKK or Nazi Party. Obama's Trinity church was, and probably still is, nothing more than the black version of these type of hate groups. The racist chickens are comming home to Obama's barn to roost.

Posted by: madhatter | June 30, 2008 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Good news, Senator: being patriotic is actually seen as a liability in today's Democrat party.

Posted by: Danny | June 30, 2008 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Re:Why bother with this speech Obama. Republicans simply will never admit that a person of color can also be an American patriot.
Even a minimal slight on McCain's military record is now a big big deal. Yet there was no such outrage by these same Republicans when George W. Bush freely slandered McCain's military record during the 2000 election and then slandered John Kerry in 2004.

This speech, as well as the others, are for the press. They determine perception via the way they report. Few citizens will have heard that speech, so the press will nip it up and present it, based on their perception, to the public. It the system we have chosen, not the press. Evidence? I submit to you one Wesley Clark. There have been whispers about McCain's military service, that he was a screw up, whose chief concern was his own personal amusement, and when his screw up landed him a hotel room courtesy of the viet-cong, his number one principle was the personal protection of his own rear end. I suspect you'll start seeing more of this stuff as press begins to smell blood on this story. It is true? Hell if I know, but if it's perceived to be true, the election is already lost for McCain, perception being far more important in elections(Thanx and a tip of the hat to swift boaters everywhere...)than truth.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

If Obama is as patriot as he claims, then why did he associate with the likes of Bill Ayers, Wright, Farrakhan ?

Now he takes exception, to being questioned about it, why because its uncomfortable query ? or because Obama said so.
Moreover Obama refers to Patriotism as an "Old Threadbare Argument" this statement shows just how arrogant and cavalier, Obama really is.

If Obama thinks patriotism is an unimportant question to ask any presidential candidate, then he is in for a rude awakening, its the first question that should be asked and answered, by any canadate without a proven track record.

In closing, name one federal government elected official past or present, other than Obama that has associated , with anti American persons to the liking of Ayers, Wright, Farrakhan, on a scocial and or a business level ?
And I will show you some whose, unemployed or in jail.

As for me, the question of Obamas patriotism not only remains open, it has now grown.

Posted by: dashriprock | June 30, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Obama (as professional politician) is taking huge risks. In out era of micro-short attention spans - he thinks that people might actually ponder their vote. Or worse - think.

It's a little concerning having a potential president that believes the Little People might be responsible for something other than blind agreement. He might actually expect us to do something for ourselves. Uh oh. We might be expected to do something, more than arm-chair agreement.

To reduce the risk that we Little People may be expected to expend some effort on our own behalf - how about we simply elect a d*mb*ss that trust him to take care of us?

Posted by: NoOneImportant | June 30, 2008 4:38 PM | Report abuse

hey mnteng - After an extensive trip through the lower 48, we have been firmly relocated in the newest undisclosed military facility. Suffice it to say that I am now actively working to keep Barack Obama as my state Senator. As bad as he is at that, I don't want him moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave anytime soon.


mikeb, it is not a lie to remind folks that it was Obama himself who first removed the flag pin from his own lapel and declared that by doing so he was the more patriotic one. He made it an issue, and it is reasonable to question his judgment based on the fact that he called into question every flag-pin-wearing and bumper-sticker-sporting American's value system at the same time as he was removing the flag from his lapel in aome sort of conscientious objector statement. (Why he would chose this issue to champion is beyond me, but he made it an issue and it is not lying to point out those facts.)

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 30, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Good speech.
-------------

Leichtman, are you testifying? TX Ds
received this email today -

Dear fellow Democrats,

I am pleased to inform you the first meeting of the Advisory Committee on the Texas Democratic Party Convention/Caucus System has been scheduled...at the Austin Community College Health Science Building, Building 9000 in the Multi Purpose Hall room 8500 in Austin, Texas on July 7, 2008 at 10:00am. The campus is located at 3401 Webberville Rd, Austin, Texas 78702.

This Committee ...has been charged with studying the current convention/caucus system. Furthermore, based on the testimony taken at these meetings, the committee will then consider this feedback and possibly make recommendations for changes.

While all meetings will be open to the public, the first committee meeting will be limited to invited testimony only.
...
Those wishing to participate at this meeting are encouraged to submit written testimony to the Committee, or complete an online survey, available on the Texas Democratic Party website.

...

Your friend and fellow Democrat,
Boyd

Posted by: MarkInAustin | June 30, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

The WaPo has reporters spread all over the country finding who will not vote for Obama, and demanding to know why.

Posted by: Karen M. | June 30, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I have been reading posts all over the web today and the Swift Boaters are out in force. This has to be a concerted and directed effort, repleat with flat out lies about Obama's patiotism, about him being a secret or by birth Muslim, even calling into question his patriotism. If McCain is somehow elected President on the back of this sort of vile campaign, then his Presidency and this country will fail. I cannot see how these vile monsters csannot see the damage they are doing and I cannot see how so many people are deluded by campaigns run on falsehoods rather than the issues. amberglow, proudtobeGOP, Bob Fanning, and the thousands of others like you, posting what you know to be lies, are going to pay dearly for this folly. This country cannot survive another "victory" like that won by the Swift Boat campaign.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | June 30, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The press had done a disservice in portraying Obama as a new type of politician. In other words, they lied. Now, as he is using BS in every speech, they say he was forced. They forget the many rumors on left-wing websites (and on the front page of WaPo and NY TImes) against McCain. THis is Obama, all the time, love only.

Sickening. Obama is a politician. He has fooled alot of people. His surrogates have defamed and lied about McCain. Obama has misquoted Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and John McCain. He is never held accountable for his dirty politics.

His religion, his race, etc. do not matter. But he conveniently blames any dissent from his edicts as being due to racism and rumors.

And the press tells us he is so wonderful.

Posted by: Karen | June 30, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Why bother with this speech Obama. Republicans simply will never admit that a person of color can also be an American patriot.
Even a minimal slight on McCain's military record is now a big big deal. Yet there was no such outrage by these same Republicans when George W. Bush freely slandered McCain's military record during the 2000 election and then slandered John Kerry in 2004.

Posted by: hayden | June 30, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

I am sorry, but Chris is absolutely creepy in his ObamaLove. He explains every lie as "pragmatism". He portrays Obama as a new type of politician, when he is so typical of the Chicago style corruption and cronyism. The whole "he loves his country as much as anyone else" is outright weird. Is this a Chris Matthews support group for tingling legs? Does Chris know that Obama is mortal? I read the whole article, and I think it was written by an Obama stalker. It is outright ridiculous how the press has held none of Obama's past comments (he denounces those who wore flag pins), his ties to anti-American groups (hell William Ayers)and his history of political dirty deeds. If this is what press coverage will be for the next 4 months, one can only wonder if we will have Mugabe-like media types driving us to the polls and telling us who to vote for

Posted by: KAM | June 30, 2008 4:10 PM | Report abuse

DDAWD - the point I'm trying to make here is that I disagree with Obama on a lot of the issues but all this nonsense about him not being a proud American is pure absurdity and fearmongering.

A debate on the issues is something this country needs. I'm disheartened that a lot of other Republicans gleefully jump on this Obama smear bandwagon. Like I said, I'm glad Obama is willing to take it all head on.

Posted by: Jonathan | June 30, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

As Gore and Kerry found out, if you say something enough times, then its assumed to be true. Good for Obama for debunking all this nonsense out there.

And besides, if he's a muslim, so what? The insinuation there is that he does Terrorist Fist Jabs with Osama bin Ladin in his free time.

The same idiotic logic would point to McCain being in cahoots with the IRA simply because he's Irish. Gasp!

I'm voting for McCain but please, people, just stop the bull and decide about this stuff based on the issues. Obama's position on health care alone is enough to make me cringe but the man's a good American. This is absurd.

Posted by: Jonathan | June 30, 2008 3:43 PM

I applaud Jonathan for his post. I wish both sides could find ways to debate about their candidate of choice on the issues instead of taking personal shots at the candidates and each other.

Obama 08 "Change We Can Believe In"

Posted by: jansjay | June 30, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Jonathan:
Well said.

proud:
Have you settled into your new undisclosed location?

Posted by: mnteng | June 30, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

This 'I'm more patriotic than you' crap is getting old fast. And it's only June.

Dateline: McCain's been on more trips to Iraq - you think he talked to more Shi'ites than Sunnis? Who knows? He certainly doesn't.

Dateline: Obama has a weird name. That must mean he knows more people with weird names than we do.

WAKE ME UP when September comes' and we're having a real discussion.

Posted by: Captain John | June 30, 2008 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I losing count of all his inspirationa speeches. Let see, we have the "race" speech, his second "race" speech, now a "patriotism" speech, which is reminiscent of his "purple states/2004 convention speech". The press keeps reminding me how lucky I am to be on the earth with such a great speaker. Obama keeps taking stuff off the table, while he slimey surrogates go arounds smearing McCain. I think we will have 7 words that are allowed to be spoken about Obama, and all will be positive. Any deviation will result in charges of racism, ignorance, rumormongering,or not loving speeches. How does Obama keep us with all the stuff he is a victim of? It must be so confusing. I suggest he give a all encompassing VICTIM speech, which will state he has suffered more than any human mortal and is beyond all criticism.

Wow, this earth is so cool because of Obama. Hope. Change. Wow. I could just pinch myself.

Posted by: Karen | June 30, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

"Obama's position on health care alone is enough to make me cringe but the man's a good American."

What specifically makes you cringe?

Posted by: DDAWD | June 30, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

"Excuse me while I go puke at the thought of the media love-fest over this newest manufactured pontification from Barama."

You're excused. Get lost.

And it's "Obama." Remember that, because he'll be your president soon.

Posted by: bondjedi | June 30, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I find the coverage of Obama's 'biography' tour so amazingly different than the similar, largely ignored one McCain took earlier in the year.

The fact is, we're all watching, aren't we?

There is no better way for the candidate to introduce himself than to speak on issues concerning to those who don't feel they know him. On MTP this Sunday, the governors of WY and CO spoke on this very issue, that they are finding voters 'curious' and 'wanting to find out about' Obama... And here he is, saying "This is who I am."

It's great politics, but make no mistake... he's talking to those red and purple states, and especially The West.

http://ilfamilypolitics.blogspot.com

Posted by: Julia Kelly | June 30, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Dear Sen.Obama,

Thank you for your patriotism.

Please tell us all about Frank Marshall Davis.

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=65066

Posted by: Bob Fanning | June 30, 2008 3:49 PM | Report abuse

As Gore and Kerry found out, if you say something enough times, then its assumed to be true. Good for Obama for debunking all this nonsense out there.

And besides, if he's a muslim, so what? The insinuation there is that he does Terrorist Fist Jabs with Osama bin Ladin in his free time.

The same idiotic logic would point to McCain being in cahoots with the IRA simply because he's Irish. Gasp!

I'm voting for McCain but please, people, just stop the bull and decide about this stuff based on the issues. Obama's position on health care alone is enough to make me cringe but the man's a good American. This is absurd.

Posted by: Jonathan | June 30, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

to AmberGlow:

I read your post and this caught my eye, "his life is not like most of ours..." You meant, his life is not like yours, right?

Please don't generalize someone else's experience. Your experience is probably as different and unique as anyone who visits/reads this forum. However, we're all binded together by love of country no matter what your background is.

Posted by: Eros Wong | June 30, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Obama is so kind to now bless us stupid, bitter, clinging AmeriKKKans with his latest "extended meditation" on the proper role for patriotism in politics. gak.

Excuse me while I go puke at the thought of the media love-fest over this newest manufactured pontification from Barama. Is this gonna be like Philadelphia, where Matthews gets another tingle up his leg and all the lefty poobahs declare it mandatory reading for Politics 101?

If so, I certainly hope you all remember the speed at which Obama's Philly speech was rendered inoperative by events, namely Jeramiah Wright opening up his mouth and telling the truth that Obama is just doing what a politician does.

This time at least Granny's not getting thrown overboard along with the Reverend.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 30, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

McCain's campaign knows it can't change the age of its candidate, the fact that he was an indifferent student and a lackluster senator, or that he owns seven houses and is beholden to Wall Street interests.

Obama's speech was moving, accurate, and a sign of changing times. Your attempt to trivialize the important points that he made about the misuses of patriotism for right-wing political gain is beneath you and your newspaper.

Posted by: deedee | June 30, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

it is "an accident of birth"--that's the whole point--it's what makes someone an American...

this is just sad...his life is not like most of ours, and he's always been an outsider trying to wiggle and shift his way in--he has no core at all--wrapping himself in flags like he does nowadays doesn't help at all.

Posted by: amberglow | June 30, 2008 3:34 PM | Report abuse

If you are worried about Presidential Nominee Barack Obama go look at the facts and ease your mind about the next president of the United States:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/content/fightthesmearshome/

Then go tell your worried friends and family.

Vote Obama for President!

Posted by: JBE | June 30, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

'Obama's campaign knows it can't change the color of his skin,'

not that there's anything wrong with it, eh Chris?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 30, 2008 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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