Monday, February 25, 2008

More On Those Tiny American Flags


In case you have missed it, which pretty much would entail your not paying attention to any political commentary, the "go after the Obamas' patriotism and harp on the flag pin" line of attack is not unique to Bill Kristol. It's a line being pushed by pretty much any within the obsequious political right, whose devotion to the Republican Party's cause overwhelms any reservation they might otherwise have against prevarication in public. Case in point, Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA).
But, the thing that [Michelle Obama] did not do, and still has not done now for three days, is to explain what she meant. And it would have been that simple, just to say, “You know what? This is a great country, and I’m just proud that people really are getting involved in this election.” That would have been the end of it.1 Instead, through Axelrod, the campaign manager going to let her be her spokesman, they’ve let this thing grow. When you combine that with the fact that the guy would not say the Pledge of Allegiance, and won’t put an American lapel pin on his coat — [audience boos] — that’s things voters are watching. And, it’s because this Democratic primary —

MAHER: [overlapping] Wait a second? He won’t say the Pledge of Allegiance?

KINGSTON: Well, the famous picture of him standing while Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton have their hand over their heart, saluting the flag during the Pledge, and Obama has his hands deliberately down, that is disturbing to Americans.
You can see the trademark pattern - start with an attack on Michelle Obama's patriotism and try to extend it to Barack Obama through a series of lies and misrepresentations.
  • Prevarication #1: "When you combine that with the fact that the guy would not say the Pledge of Allegiance....." - Video evidence to the contrary be damned, right?
  • Prevarication #2: "... and won’t put an American lapel pin on his coat ...." - Which, of course, isn't what Obama said.
  • Prevarication #3: "... Bill Richardson and Hillary Clinton have their hand over their heart, saluting the flag during the Pledge, and Obama has his hands deliberately down ..." - Except the picture was taken during the National Anthem - is Kingston so unpatriotic that he doesn't know the difference? And there are many pictures of Obama with his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance.
"Now wait a minute," you say, "Maybe Kingston isn't being deliberately dishonest. Maybe he is just an incredibly stupid man who makes rash accusations about national political figures in complete ignorance of the facts." While I might otherwise be tempted to acknowledge the possibility, applying the rule of "never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity," Kingston's other prevarications serve to "out" him.
We have not had a domestic attack since 9/11. Now — [audience reacts] — I know, because —

MAHER: [overlapping] But – and I wore the green socks again this week, and I still didn’t get cancer. [laughter] [applause]

KINGSTON: Well, Bill, I know, as a member of the Defense Committee, who sits in many, many hours of bipartisan hearings with lots of tough questions to lots of members of the military, prior to the counter-attack in Afghanistan in October, 2001, we were absolutely assured that when we took the war over to the Middle East, that we would be attacked again. That’s what all the – the consensus was from the intelligence agencies.
How could any Member of Congress who was serving in 2001, let alone one who is a member of the Defense Committee, have forgotten the Anthrax attacks?

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1. Kingston claimed, "And it would have been that simple, just to say, 'You know what? This is a great country, and I’m just proud that people really are getting involved in this election.' That would have been the end of it." Given that Michelle Obama has claimed, "What I was clearly talking about was that I’m proud in how Americans are engaging in the political process," I somehow doubt that we should take Kingston at his word.

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