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.