Does Obama ‘Love’ America? I Don’t

Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani has caused a controversy by saying that he doesn’t think President Obama “loves America.” He has refused to back off his remarks and other wingnuts are leaping to his defense. Darrell Issa, who never saw an issue he couldn’t be a demagogue about, had some bizarre remarks about it:

But Issa stood by his argument, telling her, “The reality is that I do believe that the president believes strongly in America, I just think he views America differently.”

His evidence, Issa explained, was that Obama “denounced the U.S. Supreme Court in the halls of Congress during the State of the Union for their decision” in the Citizens United case, and thus, “we have a president who doesn’t believe the Supreme Court is supreme.”

Jesus Christ on a popsicle stick, seriously? Criticizing the Supreme Court means you don’t think the Supreme Court is supreme? Then the entire Republican party must not think the Supreme Court is supreme, for crying out loud. In fact, Issa himself must believe that, since he has openly criticized the Supreme Court before. He actually made that argument. On television. With a straight face.

But back to the topic at hand. Does Obama “love America”? Who cares. Confession: I don’t love America. I don’t even know what the hell it could possibly mean to love America, or any other country. There are many things I like about this country. There are many things I dislike about this country. But the idea of loving America is a marketing slogan, not a serious position.

And politically, this is just another attempt to “otherize” Obama, to turn him into an enemy within. It’s basic tribalism — he isn’t like us, he’s one of them. He’s not part of our tribe, the tribe of people who go all weak-kneed when Lee Greenwood sings. This fits the psychology that makes people become conservatives perfectly. They show very strong tribal identification and tend to have over-the-top responses to any perceived threat and to outsiders. It’s shrewd politics for the right, but ethically it’s appalling.

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  • jws1

    “They show very strong tribal identification and tend to have over-the-top responses to perceived threats and outsiders.”

    Sounds way too much like my sister.

  • Dave Maier

    Wait, I go all weak-kneed when Lee Greenwood sings. Oh, you mean in admiration or something. Never mind.

  • John Pieret

    Then any day now Issa will be criticizing Roy Moore for saying he’d go on fighting gay marriage in Alabama even if the Supreme Court rules it is a constitutional mandate. No one could deny that the Supreme Court is supreme in any stronger terms than that!

  • dingojack

    It’s been said many times before:

    ‘The Right loves America like a four year old, ‘mommy can’t possibly do any wrong’; the Left loves America like an adult child, if their parent is wrong and they’ll try to correct that wrong, otherwise they’ll support the bits they get right’.

    Just another example of Right-wing infantilism.


  • abb3w

    As to Issa’s idiotic point, what he doesn’t grasp is that the Supreme Court is only “supreme” in controversies about what the law is. Denouncing what it has ruled is entirely appropriate to an address to a political assembly such as the federal legislature — where the nation hammers out what the law ought to be.

    @4, dingojack:

    ‘The Right loves America like a four year old, ‘mommy can’t possibly do any wrong’; the Left loves America like an adult child, if their parent is wrong and they’ll try to correct that wrong, otherwise they’ll support the bits they get right’.

    Bears repeating, if only to pass some credit to Al Franken and give an exact quote:

    We love America just as much as they do. But in a different way. You see, they love America like a 4-year-old loves his mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a 4-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad and helping your loved one grow. Love takes attention and work and is the best thing in the world.

    That’s why we liberals want America to do the right thing. We know America is the hope of the world, and we love it and want it to do well.

    I kind of like America. I’d even be willing to consider the possibility that the US is the greatest country on Earth. The catch is, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a hell of a lot of a room for more improvement.

  • LightningRose

    I have little doubt that Obama, like myself, has no love for the Amerika the Repuglicans are trying to force upon us.

  • StevoR

    The Supreme court is only supreme when .. it has the right pizza topping added to it.

    Plus a cheesy crust beneath! (None of this sial, sima nonsense, too hard on the teeth and hot in the mouth!)

  • StevoR

    You’ve gotta love a nation that also has superpowers! Oh wait, that’s also *is* a superpower.

    Seriously, there is a lot the United States of America has done for the world and humanity. It landed on the Moon in peace for humankind during the Cold war, it’s delivered a lot of aid and helped a lot of people and places that were suffering. I think it was the first nation in the world to create any National Parks at all. American culture has inspired and given a lot to us all for better or worse. It has given us the likes of John Steinbeck, George Franklin, Emily Dickinson, Isaac Asimov and so much more from the Simpsons and Star Wars to the spitting of the atom and the Space Shuttle.

    The American landscape has the wonders of Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Mt St Helens, the Everglades and so many more places.

    I’m Australian and I have enormous respect, liking and would even say there are things i love about America although I’ve only visited it once.

    Do all Americans or even any two Americans incl. Obama love their country in the exact same way? Of course not, each has their own perspectives and emotions and understandings and it really doesn’t matter except in how it shapes what they do and say and whether their actions and the consequences of their actions on others are good or ill, positive or harmful.

    I’m pretty sure Obama has written about his feelings for the United States America and his impressions, feelings for and understanding of that nation. If anyone wants to find out about Obama’s love or otherwise for his country, I’d start by reading his books and seeing what the man himself has said in his own words. If you are then going to call him a liar about that, well, I think you’ll need some pretty convincing reasons to do so.

  • StevoR

    D’oh! Make that Benjamin Franklin. There is a George Franklin too but he’s not the one I was thinking of. Its also given us Martin Luther King, Benjamin Banneker, Edward Emerson Barnard, Clyde Tombaugh, Muhammad Ali and so many others in so many different fields of human endeavour – scientific, artistic, cultural and sporting. Still not adopting their spellings tho’!

  • Hans-Richard Grümm

    Gustav Heinemann, the first Social Democrat president of post-war Germany, was asked whether he loved his country. His answer was “I love my wife”.

    (In Germany, the president is the – mostly titular – head of state, not the leader of the government).

  • dingojack

    Stevo – “I think it was the first nation in the world to create any National Parks at all.”

    1872 – Yellowstone National Park (Wyoming/Idaho/Montana)

    1875 – Mackinac National Park (Michigan) – reverted to a State Park 1895

    Any guesses about the third national park?


  • Dr X

    Conservatives love America the way wife-beaters love their wives.

  • dingojack

    or pedophiles love their victims…


  • zippythepinhead

    I like America, but I don’t like like America.

  • StevoR

    Belair National park Australia? Or another Aussie one?